Willetton fitness trainer pushes couple to run record City to Surf – literally


Gideon Lemmer with Alison and Bob Johnstone after the race.
Gideon Lemmer with Alison and Bob Johnstone after the race.

WHEN the team from Step in to Life Willetton crossed the line at the City to Surf, it was a feat of strength and show of support for friends with a legacy.

Bob and Alison Johnstone have been members at the Willetton gym for five years, but avid runners for decades.

Mr Johnstone is a foundation runner in the City to Surf, having run 12km every year since the race began in 1975 and Mrs Johnstone has run the same event for 40 years.

However, their 42nd and 40th race respectively almost did not happen when Mrs Johnstone tripped when walking her dog and broke her ankle, rendering her to crutches and a wheelchair.

Step in to Life trainer Gideon Lemmer said he was too inspired by the pair’s love of running to let the Johnstone’s record topple and offered to push Mrs Johnstone in a wheelchair for her 40th race.

“They had decided to let it go, but when we offered to push her in a wheelchair for the 12km she jumped at it,” he said.

Mr Lemmer, who had previously pushed a friend with Motor Neurone Disease in the race, said he knew it was possible.

“My friend was a big runner and I had pushed him, so I knew I could do it again,” he said.

It took the team an hour and a half to cross the finish line as a team.

“We all gave 100 per cent and it was a great team building exercise and we got to keep Alison and Bob’s record in tact,” Mr Lemmer said.