This year saw 11 part time and 17 full time runners join together in the Trail to Triumph Ultra Marathon to raise awareness and funds for Mesothelioma and other dust diseases.
Set over two and half days and traversing 250 kms from Moranbah to Mackay, the Trail to Triumph is in its ninth year and is fondly known as “Tony’s Journey”. Tony’s son Mat Britton founded the marathon in memory of his father Tony Britton who lost his battle with Mesothelioma in 2014.
“It started as something to honour Dad, but it’s become a lot more, where we try and remember everyone who’s lost someone from Mesothelioma, dust disease and lung cancers. Mesothelioma is still a fairly rare and incurable disease, but the more you talk about it, the more you meet people who know people who have passed away from it or is suffering from it,” said Mat.
“Dad got me into running but he was big into soccer and coached for 40 years. A couple of his players were playing for the Roar when he died. He was actually the first person that the Brisbane Roar wore black armbands for as a squad and as a club.
“But the reason that I did the run was, growing up we would drive from Moranbah to Mackay two or three times a week for soccer and the other days we would go out running in the bush out the back of where the Moranbah BMX track is. I just felt like this was the right path to honour him.”
Each year the Trail to Triumph starts at Moranbah Hawks Soccer Fields and then out towards Goonyella Riverside mine before turning towards Broadmeadows mine. Then they head along the water pipeline road to the back part of Eungella, through the rainforest and are escorted by Finch Hatton Police down Eungella range into the valley, past Dumbleton Weir before finishing at the Mackay Base Hospital
“It is a long way, running in those conditions and that far, but we feel like that way, we are earning people’s donation money,” said Mat.
“We had three finishers this year, Tony Gordon who’s a trail runner. Richard Apps, he’s finished it a few times and is tough as nails. And this year we had Tye Mcleod for the first time who came in with no training or nutrition plan. He said to me, towards the end of the first day after 114kms, ‘Mat, my thinking was that the furthest I’ve run is 40 kms straight, so if I can run 40 kms, I can walk/run 80 kms, I can use heart for 20 kms and I’m a little bit loose in the head and that will get me through the rest!’
“You don’t have to be a professional athlete. You can have a go at the whole thing, or you can just be part time runner. I really like the start of day 2, I think it is the hardest part. You have just done 114 kms the night before, you’ve got 2 hours sleep and then you get up and you’re just running and walking through these brutal rolling hills and it hurts the most, but the scenery out there is just breathtaking. It’s just really peaceful and it gives you time to think and have a good chat to the person running next to you.”
This year donations reached over $70 thousand with all funds raised going to the Lung Foundation of Australia. This goes into a research program that focuses on finding a cure for dust related diseases such as Mesothelioma. Trail to Triumph also donated $50 thousand to Heart of Australian in 2021.
“One of our bike riders was from Heart of Australia this year. So, when you see the Heart of Australia truck in Moranbah that does the specialist testing and treatment it will be one of the HEART 1 to 5 trucks. HEART 5 is a lung screening truck, they do a lot of the retired miners, and they have one of the world’s first mobile battery powered CT scanner. We put some money into that and to help with the funding for treatment of patients and you can read Tony’s Journey in the reception.”
Next year will be 10 years and we would love to see Moranbah and the other mining communities get involved!