Story by Sarina Talip
After a four month marathon journey, Brad Carron-Arthur has fulfilled his goal of running from Canberra to Cape York to raise money for mental health research.
Brad, who recently graduated from The Australian National University with a Bachelor of Psychology, ran nearly 5,000km. In doing so, he raised more than $20,000 for the Australian Foundation for Mental Health Research (AFFIRM) at ANU.
The 22-year-old set off on New Year’s Day, 2012 and ran up to 60km a day, five days a week. Brad ran alone, carrying everything in a backpack. Along the way he visited schools and talked to students about mental health issues and how exercise can improve health and happiness.
“There have certainly been moments when I’ve been dehydrated, and it might be a few kilometres between a break and somewhere where I can fill up my water bottle at a creek. That’s been really challenging, but I’ve discovered potential I never knew I had,” he said.
Brad said a highlight from the last part of the journey was running 180km from Bramwell Junction Roadhouse to Bamaga via the Old Telegraph Track.
“I carried my own tent and all my own food for three days and camped near waterfalls and rivers. It was so inspiring to be in nature and to feel part of it,” he said.
For the most part though, Brad stayed indoors, thanks to the generosity of people offering him a warm bed and a meal.
“It’s been incredible to see how giving people have been. Their generosity has been so inspiring to me and helping others is definitely something I want to keep on doing.”
Brad said mental illness was a personal issue and close to home for him.
“One in five Australians will experience a mental illness such as depression or an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. This is an alarmingly high figure, especially given that only around three per cent of the total research and development in health in Australia is dedicated to mental health,” he said.
“My own dad had depression for 15 years. I saw how hard he worked and struggled, and since he’s recovered, he lives for the enjoyment of living. That turned my perspective around. Now I do the same.”