Nurse’s multiple marathon effort was promise to dad
SPURRED on by a promise she made to her late dad, an Ipswich runner battled sweltering conditions in her 100km, 14-hour double marathon effort.
Sun safety was Jennifer Lewis's top priority at the weekend as she ran a 100-mile (96.5km) course between Redbank Plains and Ipswich.
The gruelling test was all about raising awareness of skin cancer and topping up funds for melanoma research, after skin cancer killed her dad.
In the final days of Vince Elmore's battle with melanoma in 2018, he made his daughter promise to fight against melanoma.
"Up until the day he passed away, he was always putting his family first," Ms Lewis said.
"He was a selfless man, very kind and gentle."
He was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2005 but was clear for 10 years before it returned.
"I promised to do anything and everything I could to protect his grandchildren suffering in any way from what he had," Lewis said.
"So I needed something that would challenge me and get the message out there about how importance it is to take care of your skin and get early skin checks."
At more than double the length of a marathon, a 96.5km trek is ambitious, even for a seasoned runner.
"I normally stick to the half-marathon distance (21.1km) but I've done a couple of full marathons (42.2km)," Lewis said.
"The furthest I'd ever run previously was about 50km."
If it wasn't for her support crew, Lewis said she wouldn't have made it.
"By the end, I was mentally and physically exhausted and, if it wasn't for my supporters at some points literally pushing me up the hill, there is no way I would have got to the end," she said.
"At about 50km, I was running down Eden Station Drive and it was the hottest point in the day. I got to the bottom of the hill and was dizzy, nauseous and I just had to sit down for 10 minutes."
Every hour, Lewis and her support crew reapplied sunscreen.
"In the heat, we were just sweating it off. Everyone had hats and the shirts we had were at a minimum of UPF 50 and in the heat of the day, everyone had sun arms on," she said.
"The number one rule was, if you come out to run with me, you're covered head to toe in as much sun protection as you can."
Lewis hit the pavement at 2am on Saturday morning.
"We started at the street named after my dad, Vince Elmore Way, Redbank Plains," she said.
"It was just on 6pm when we passed the Mater Private Hospital at Springfield and I had a group of very supportive colleagues and friends meet me at the front
Lewis raised nearly $8000, knocking her initial goal of $1000 out of the park.
"I was happy for any donations but my main goal was the awareness," she said.
The money Lewis raised will be donated to Mater Foundation's Smiling for Smiddy and Melanoma Institute Australia.
Read more news by Ebony Graveur.