AS an immigrant from war-torn Sri Lanka, Rashanthi Wanigasekera has an intense gratitude for the safety and security offered by her adopted home country, Australia.
It was that appreciation that helped motivate the Bull Creek resident through the difficult stretches of Sunday’s 8km Gallipoli Run through Kings Park.
“I finished in just under an hour which was my goal but it was definitely one of the hardest courses I’ve ever run because it was very hilly,” Mrs Wanigasekera said.
“At the back of my mind I knew I was running for a good cause and it was incredibly motivating to think about all the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for Australia.”
First held in Perth in 2003, the Gallipoli Run invites people to walk or run a 4km or 8km course in honour of the Anzacs and celebrate the spirit of mateship and camaraderie that remains their legacy.
This year the event was sponsored by the Perth Mint, where Mrs Wanigasekera works as finance manager.
She said the highlight of the day was that her whole family took part, including dog Sniper.
“There was a time when war was intense in Sri Lanka and we’d leave the house and not know if we’d make it back in one piece,” Mrs Wanigasekera said.
“I’ve also visited an army hospital and seen injured soldiers, some missing arms or legs, so I’m very grateful to now live in Australia and I know I owe a debt to those people who have fought to defend this country.”
All money raised through registration fees and donations made on the day of the run goes towards RSLWA, Legacy WA and Athletics WA.