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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Benn sets sights on Great North Walk record

A Newcastle-based elite runner will attempt to set a record and raise money for charity next month.

Merewether’s Benn Coubrough has set his sights on completing the 276-kilometre Great North Walk and beating the current mark of 39 hours and 50 minutes.

The 37-year-old, who will start the mammoth journey at 4am on Friday 6 November, says it has always been alluring to him.

“Basically [it’s] just a big challenge, something to scare me and to push me,” he says.

“Many of the events this year have been cancelled, so it’s something to motivate myself and, as a coach, to help inspire those I coach and train with among the running community.”

Coubrough is running the trail to raise funds in aid of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI)’s Sport Concussion clinic.

“One of the guys leading the HMRI clinic, Andrew Gardner, trains with us,” he says.

The Sport Concussion clinic is supported by the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury, which worked with Mr Coubrough’s father when he suffered a stroke eight years ago.

“One of the doctors did a trial a few years ago with people who suffer from strokes, and my dad participated” Coubrough adds.

“HMRI also does leading research into stroke, so that is the other connection for me.”

The clinic provides local sportspeople suffering concussive injuries with free access to medical evaluation and recommendations.

Concussion is the most prevalent type of sports injury. The side effects are numerous, ranging from headaches, dizziness, memory loss and blurred vision, to disorientation, increased sensitivity to stimuli, psychological problems, and brain swelling.

The Great North Walk sets out from Queens Wharf in Newcastle and passes through Warners Bay, Watagan State Forest, and Brooklyn on the way to Macquarie Park in Sydney.

Coubrough has been preparing by doing “running, lots of running”.

Visit Benn’s My Cause page to support him or for more information.