Kelly running to raise awareness of powerline impact

Kelly Conroy with her father and run supporter Archie Conroy. (Supplied)

Benjamin Millar

Kelly Conroy is on a mission.

Growing up on her family’s property in Bunding, near Ballan, she grew to appreciate the wide open skies above the rolling landscape.

But she now fears that will be shattered by the erection of 85-metre towers and high-voltage lines cutting near the family home.

To raise awareness of the project she hatched a plan – a 160-km run to highlight just how far the wires will travel and how much of the landscape will be impacted.

“The 160 kilometres will be a distance I’ve never done before,” she said.

“Last year I ran two 100-kilometre events, I just do it as a hobby not to compete in any way – running makes me really value where I live and the outdoors and my community.”

Ms Conroy said a continuous 160-kilometre run will certainly be a physical and mental challenge, but she has been inspired by the work of her community to fight for the transmission lines to be buried underground.

“I know so many people in it are working tirelessly while also working and raising families, they are putting so much time and dedication and energy into the campaign opposing it happening and for it to go underground,” she said.

“It just shows how strongly communities will band together, I wanted to another way we can raise awareness of this and that’s why I’m doing the run.”

The original plan had been to carry out the run as part of the Hardcore 100 mile event at the You Yangs earlier this month, but the snap COVID-19 lockdown threw a spanner in the works.

Plan B was to devise a 160km course around regional Victoria close to the family farm, but given the entire state was thrown into lockdown the two-hour limit on exercise put the brakes on that plan too.

She is now aiming to complete the run as a continuous run starting this Friday morning and finishing Saturday, July 31.

“Since we put that idea out there, it’s kind of brought up the morale out there and been a positive thing for the community,” she said.

“The 160 kilometres is a very, very, very long distance and we need to respect it, but it’s about trusting your training and yourself.”

The run has already helped raise more than $5000 towards the Stop AusNet’s Towers – Fighting Fund.

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