Helping off a long run

Joe Lewis and David Overend

Fitness enthusiasts are up for a ‘Berry Long Run’ through Blackwood next month to raise money for charity Berry Street.

More than 30 runners have already registered for the August 15 Berry Long Run ultra-marathon, a passion project for race director Joe Lewis who, along with some mates, formed the Wolfrunners Club in 2013 to share their love of bushwalking.

“We had done a lot of ultra-marathons around Victoria and it was about this time last year that three of us decided to do a charity run for Berry Street at the Lerderderg [State Park] trails,” Mr Lewis said.

“Later we found out that government funding for Berry Street has been massively decreased for this financial year, and we wanted to do something to help.”

Participants need to be made of pretty tough stuff to complete the 70-kilometre, 12-hour event through the hills of Lerderderg State Park, including a 2000-metre vertical climb through tricky terrain.

The race starts and finishes at Blackwood, opposite the Blackwood Hotel. Each runner is sponsored, with proceeds going to Berry Street’s foster care camps, which help youngsters bond with new families.

“I learned about Berry Street through work [at ANZ] in about 2003, and the work they do really resonates with me,” Mr Lewis said.

“Another member of the Wolfrunners Club is also a foster carer so this charity’s work means a lot to us.”

The longest event Mr Lewis has tackled so far is a gruelling, 24-hour ultra-marathon over 180 kilometres. He aims to raise $10,000 this time.

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