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RUNNING 42.2 kilometres every day for seven days, in seven different states became a mental game for Jane Hiatt, 51, who knew her body could finish it, even though her feet were covered in blisters.
Jane was attracted to the challenge of the Bravehearts 777 Marathon before she became attached to the cause, which raises awareness and funds to protect children against child sexual assault and support survivors and victims of this crime.
Jane recently completed the marathon for the second time and says she didn’t understand the enormity of it during her first marathon in 2013.
This year was different. She went into it more fit and mentally prepared than the last.
“I only started running seven years ago to connect with my husband,” she says.
“The kids were growing up fast. I could see there would a day when they’d leave and we’d go ‘what now?’”
Jane met her husband, Dave, marathon kayaking in the ‘80s while doing the Murray River Marathon so they were naturally drawn to challenges.
Decades later, after having four children together and settling down in Calwell, they became inspired by a friend who completed ultra marathons and decided to enter a 100km marathon.
Two years in a row Jane made it to the 54-kilometre mark and then had the thought: “If I can’t do 100 kilometres in a day, I’ll do 297 kilometres over seven”.
But nothing prepared Jane for the agony of hopping on a plane and dealing with that pressure on her feet each night after finishing the daily 42.2 kilometres in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Kingscliff and the Gold Coast.
During the Bravehearts 777 Marathon, recovery time was fundamental for Jane, who even started running before the official start time so she would have time to wind down with a massage after each day.
Her quickest day was around five and a half hours and her longest was close to eight hours, which meant that she had to go straight to the airport without having a shower or getting changed.
The Bravehearts team of 26 raised around $260,000 between them, of which Jane contributed around $11,000.
“The main focus is raising awareness and the idea of putting yourself through a journey or a challenge helps people to relate,” Jane says.
During Jane’s first Bravehearts marathon she met the wife of one of the runners who had come to support her husband.
“She was raped as a 13-year-old by her uncle and in between the marathon in 2013 and now he got out [of prison],” Jane says.
“So she went on to do the next marathon and it healed her.”
Another man was sexually abused by a family friend and another runner’s daughter committed suicide after she, too, was abused.
“There’s nothing you can do to change the past or undo the memories,” Jane says.
“Running the marathon is a way for me to say: ‘I love you and I’m here to care for you’.”
Bravehearts.org.au or call 1800 272831.