SWAPPING footy boots for runners, life after league for Queensland great Ashley Harrison revolves around raising his two young boys and in just over two weeks’ time he’ll join more than 50 other ‘children’s champions’ in a charity run to help educate and protect kids.
Ashley will run the 42-kilometre Kingscliff leg of the Bravehearts 777 – 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days – on Saturday (July 4).
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Despite a decorated footy career including 276 games and 15 State of Origin appearances, Ashley, who retired from the Gold Coast Titans last season, said it would be one of his toughest challenges yet.
“Since retiring from footy I’ve been training to keep fit and I’ve been slowly working up to long-distance runs,” he said.
“I did a triathlon earlier this year and I’m running half-marathon distances, but this will be a big step up and a huge challenge for me personally.”
As the father of a one and three year old, the 34-year-old said he was also proud to help drive awareness around child protection through his involvement in the event.
“I’ve got two kids myself and it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure we are creating a safe environment for our children to grow up in,” he said.
Bravehearts Founder and CEO Hetty Johnston AM says the Bravehearts 777 brings together people who are passionate about making a real difference in the community.
“Child protection is everybody’s business and it’s great to see mums, dads, brothers and high profile sportspeople getting involved to protect kids,” she said.
“Child sexual assault is, for the most part, preventable and this event raises money for the vulnerable kids out there who are enduring their own personal marathons.
“We want to reach as many of them as we can with our personal safety program ‘Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure’ and our specialist counselling services.”
The heart-pounding, exhilarating Bravehearts 777 will run over a week (June 29 – July 5) with marathons in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Kingscliff and the Gold Coast.
Research shows that 1 in 5 children in Australia will be sexually assaulted in some way before their 18th birthday. Bravehearts aims to halve by 2020 with its child protection blueprint The Three Piers to Prevention – Educate, Empower, Protect.
Donate to competitors at www.braveheartsadventures.org.au.
Need to talk to someone? Bravehearts is here to help: 1800 272 831.