The Fernleigh 15 is underway again this year, supporting local mental health initiatives while encouraging exercise in the great outdoors.
However, due to COVID-19, the month-long event has taken on a different format.
Rather than tackling the 15 kilometre course at once, participants have the whole of November to progress through it.
This year, the event has also linked with Lifeline Hunter as its charity partner.
Major sponsor, Greater Bank, has already donated $5,000 to the organisation, and has encouraged participants to raise funds for the charity too.
What is donated will help Lifeline continue to operate its free, 24-hour telephone crisis support line (13 11 14).
The mental health charity will also use donations to offer locals a no cost, no referral, counselling service, with both face-to-face and video meeting options.
Lifeline’s Regional General Manager Hunter, New England & Central Coast, Julie Wicks, joined colleagues on the track last week and encouraged locals to get involved.
“We know that exercise is a known coping mechanism linked to supporting improved mental health, so this event has a wonderful synergy,” she said.
“And in this region, there is no better backdrop to get out for a walk or run than the Fernleigh track.”
Julie added that now, more than ever, mental health services were essential.
In a year that has seen Lifeline Hunter’s workload increase dramatically, operational costs have also risen.
“It costs around $39 for each call to our crisis support line, and approximately $70 to conduct a face-to-face counselling session,” she said.
“Every dollar raised through this event will go directly to supporting these vital services that make a such a positive impact on the life of someone in crisis.
“If you can, please take on the challenge of this event and help Lifeline help the people of the Hunter who are doing it tough.”
All runners located within 100 kilometres of Newcastle are being urged to join the fundraiser.
Participants who complete the event can upload proof of their time in order to receive a finisher’s medal. These people will also go into a draw to win one of six $100 Greater Bank accounts.
Click here for more information or to register for the Fernleigh15 and fundraise for Lifeline Hunter.