A MENTAL health crisis across Australia has inspired Jamie Candler to run 1000km in just 24 days from Port Douglas to Pajinka at the northernmost tip of Australia in June.
The idea to run the Cape first struck Candler while studying a Master of Project Management and later an MBA at Bond University.
Now the 32-year-old has linked with Movember to raise awareness and money for remote communities in North Queensland.
“I did a project proposal when I was here at Bond, we were going to run from Bamaga to Bond. I have always wanted to run the Cape,” Candler said.
“At work, mental health is a big topic for us. We focus a lot on our young people’s social and mental wellbeing, and we can see there is a mental health crisis in Australia that has been amplified by COVID-times.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring a spotlight to a really important issue and obviously also embrace a big personal challenge.
“We will do a minimum of an Olympic-distance marathon each day and other days we’ll go a bit further and break the 50km mark.”
Candler works in AFL Cape York House, a boarding house for students from remote Queensland and the Northern Territory while they access mainstream education in Cairns.
His strong connection with the community is undoubtedly a driving force behind the endurance run.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with young Indigenous people for a long time,” he said.
“We have some community engagement events organised during the run, because we are running through some beautiful communities up the Cape.
“We’ll be running workshops and focusing on the younger demographic and trying to engage with kids, and focusing on the positive message of good life choices.
“We are just two average blokes trying to do something that I suppose isn’t average.
“We are trying to create something that is a bit more sustainable than just one day in the community, linking heavily with PCYC and schools.
“We do have a footprint in some of the places we are visiting with our work in the community.”
Candler will run with childhood mate and local police officer Ash Currie, with two safety vehicles that will double as their camp cooks and attendants.
The former Bull Sharks AFL captain has fond memories of his time Bond, including being involved in premierships in 2014 and 2015.
“I loved my time at Bond and was heavily involved in sport,” he said.
“Unfortunately I did my shoulder both years and missed the grand final.
“I was captain and it was sad to miss the final, but it helped bring other aspects – I helped Sam Wish-Wilson and was an assistant coach.
“It so cool to go the changerooms now and see what it has grown into.
“I’m more proud of how amazing the women’s program is, and to see how many are getting drafted to the AFLW, it’s phenomenal. I feel a part of their story.”
For more information visit: https://porttopajinka.wixsite.com/porttopajinka
To donate: https://movember.com/t/port-2-pajinka