A major new endurance running event, the Big Red Run, will be in held in Australia’s Simpson Desert in July 2013 to raise funds for type 1 diabetes research.
Based out of Birdsville from 8-13 July, the Big Red Run will take runners across the iconic red sands of one of the world’s most remote deserts, including the world’s longest parallel sand dunes and the famous 40-metre high ‘Big Red’.
Launched this week, the week-long running event has the support of some of the biggest names in Australian running and entertainment, with ultra-marathon champion Pat Farmer announced as event ambassador and country music legend John Williamson set to perform a free concert atop ‘Big Red’ on 8 July.
The Big Red Run will become the major annual fundraiser of the Born To Run Foundation, a new charity founded by amateur runner Greg Donovan, whose son Stephen was diagnosed with the potentially fatal type 1 juvenile diabetes at age 14.
Donovan launched both the foundation and the Big Red Run in September, kick starting a mission to raise $5 million to fund research into a cure for type 1 diabetes.
“More than 130,000 Australians are living with type 1 diabetes, with six new cases diagnosed every day and around a quarter of Australians affected directly or through family and friends,” said Donovan.
“I know this first hand due to my son Stephen being diagnosed with the disease and I know the best thing I can do to help him is support clinical trials and improved lifestyles and awareness around type 1 diabetes through the Born to Run Foundation and the Big Red Run.”
Coinciding with National Diabetes Week, the Big Red Run will give runners the option of participating in the Big Red Run, a 250km six-day stage race, the Born to Run 100km or the Big Red Dash 42km.
Among the world’s largest and most remote deserts, the Simpson Desert is six times the size of Belgium, stretching across 176,500 sq km in central Australia crossing the borders of South Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. It is also Australia’s driest desert.
An Australian owned and organised event, the Big Red Run will be underpinned by a comprehensive safety plan, with endurance event specialists Adrian Bailey and Lucas Trihey managing the event, safety and logistics.
Event ambassador Pat Farmer – twice world record holder for crossing the Simpson Desert – said the Big Red Run would attract endurance runners from across Australia and internationally.
“The Big Red Run will give runners a truly unique opportunity to tackle some of the most beautiful and forbidding landscapes in Australia and join an even bigger race – the race for a cure for type 1 diabetes,” said Farmer.
The journey of the Born to Run Foundation began earlier this year with a team of five ordinary Australians attempting the extraordinary: to race across five deserts on five continents to raise money for type 1 diabetes research.
The Born To Run team, which includes Donovan, his other son Matthew Donovan, Ron Schwebel, Jess Baker and type 1 diabetic and regular Trail Run Magazine contributor, Roger Hanney, is aiming to become the first team to complete the 4 Deserts, the world’s leading endurance footrace series.
The team have already successfully completed the first two deserts, the Atacama in Chile and the Gobi in China, and will embark on the two remaining weeklong, 250 kilometre races in the Sahara Desert and Antarctica in October and November.
The Big Red Run will mark the final leg of the Born To Run team’s five-desert journey, with all money raised going to type 1 diabetes research projects. The Born To Run Foundation will work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a charitable organisation dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, to identify promising research projects for funding.
“It’s going to be a physically gruelling journey but in every step we live our foundation motto of “fitness for fighting diabetes”,” said Donovan.
To make a donation to the Born To Run Foundation, register to compete in the Big Red Run or for more information visit: www.borntorun.com.au