Competitors head off on the inaugural walkathon in Airlie Beach, organised by Whitsunday Triathlon Club to raise funds for Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network.
Competitors head off on the inaugural walkathon in Airlie Beach, organised by Whitsunday Triathlon Club to raise funds for Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network.

Colourfully-clad athletes walk for a good cause

A SEA of colour transformed Coral Sea Marina at the weekend to raise money for Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network.

The Whitsunday Triathlon Club held its inaugural walkathon on Sunday where participants made their way around a track to clock up kilometres and cash.

Members also donned colourful costumes for the walk, with everything from a giant walking eggplant to a mankini on show.

Walkers completed their 10km targets and raised more than $10,000 in the process with pledges still rolling in.

Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network chairman Ron Petterson (centre) with walkers who took part in the inaugural walkathon, organised by the Whitsunday Triathlon Club to raise funds for the network.
Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network chairman Ron Petterson (centre) with walkers who took part in the inaugural walkathon, organised by the Whitsunday Triathlon Club to raise funds for the network.

Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network chairman Ron Petterson said the event gave the organisation the ability to keep supporting residents.

"It's really good to see the community coming out and doing those things to help us do what we're trying to do," he said.

"It's not just about the money they've raised - they have raised the awareness as well.

"So many people are going to hear about it and the important thing is, the more we talk about suicide, the more we remove the stigma around it and the more we talk about mental health, the more we remove the stigma around it.

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"As we remove stigma, people are more open to talking about it when they're in trouble, so it's really important."

There was also a guest appearance from the newly-crowned Australian ultra-marathon runner Chris Murphy who recently took out 17th place in the world in a "last man standing" race.

Mr Murphy praised the phenomenal effort put in by the WTC for organising the event.

WTC president Gary Tebbatt also acknowledged the great effort undertaken by walkers on the day, especially in the confines of their costumes.

He was delighted by the great success of the first walkathon.

The club is still receiving donations for the cause, to contribute email whitsundaytriclub@gmail.com or send a message through the club's Facebook page.

The Whitsunday Triathlon Club already has its sights set on a 2021 walkathon set to be bigger and better than the weekend's event.


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