Broken Hill fitness fanatics take on 48-hour ultramarathon challenge for domestic violence services

These fit and driven women from the outback of New South Wales are doing what many deem impossible.

Brydie Mannion and fellow fitness fanatic Megan Cumming run 4 miles every four hours for 48 hours.

And all to help give victims of domestic violence a better life.

The duo have taken up the extraordinary challenge set by the famous American ultramarathon runner, David Goggins, and will complete laps in the northeast suburb of Broken Hill on March 4.

“We basically started out as a challenge, and then we thought we were going to put something behind it and work for a goal as well,” Ms. Mannion said.


Remote NSW DV rates a ‘revelation’

The couple reached out to their local community in Broken Hill for help deciding which cause to raise money for.

They were shocked to discover the overwhelming response from the community calling for more support for local domestic violence services.

“It was an eye opener for me,” Ms Cumming said.

Domestic violence continues to tear families apart across Australia, but an incredibly high rate of incidents is occurring in regional areas.

NSW chief executive Elise Phillips said domestic violence rates in the western and far western regions of the state were of growing concern.

“People living in regional, rural and remote communities are 24 times more likely to be hospitalized due to family and domestic violence than people living in large cities, she said.

The importance of staying at home

Following the response from the community, Ms Mannion and Ms Cumming decided to use their massive marathon effort to raise money for the nonprofit Staying Home Leaving Violence.

The couple say they have received tremendous support from the community.(ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson)

The program works with NSW Police to help keep victims of domestic violence safe in their homes by removing the perpetrators.

“Women and children who are victims of domestic violence often have to leave the family home and move away from a crucial network of family and friends,” said Fiona Camilleri, coordinator of Staying Home Leaving Violence Broken Hill.

The organization has been operating in Broken Hill for three years and has helped over 200 families stay safe in their homes.

More than practical toolboxes

The organization also helps install security measures in a victim’s home and provides social workers to help with financial, legal and personal issues.

This year, the organization is providing toolkits to survivors as part of a campaign to empower women to take back control of their own lives.

A 40-piece pink tool kit with screwdrivers, hammers, etc.
The money raised will be used to provide DV survivors with a 40-piece toolbox.(Provided: Stay Home Quit Violence)

“Many women who have left a domestic violence relationship don’t have access to simple things like a screwdriver or a hammer,” Ms Camilleri said.

“Simple things like changing the batteries in children’s toys or hanging up a picture to have a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

Preparing for an ultramarathon

A woman in the middle of a running stride on a backcountry road.
Ms Cumming says the challenge is going to be tough.(Provided: Megan Cumming)

Ms Cumming said she prepared for the March 4 race to be a challenge for the mind as well as the body.

“We’ve been training for the last two weeks and found out it’s going to be a lot harder than we thought because the fatigue is going to set in and it’s going to be mentally exhausting,” she said.

The community rallied behind the cause, with over $2,500 for Staying Home Leaving Violence raised through the duo’s Facebook page.

But, despite the grueling physical and mental challenge ahead, vigorous exercise and a community cause is something the fitness duo look forward to.

“I like a good challenge and finding myself in uncomfortable situations,” Ms. Mannion said.

“So many people have reached out in so many different ways.

“This community is so invested in each other, so it’s great to raise awareness for such an important cause.”

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