RUNNING a marathon is on many people’s bucket list, but running it backwards seems too challenging for most people to consider.
Not for Chris Henderson though, who will take on the Rottnest Marathon, running backwards the whole way, this Sunday.
The idea started as a bet between friends, but now Chris is using the run to raise money for charity beyondblue. So far he has raised more than $3800 and, if he wins the $2000 bet, he will donate half of it to the charity.
During the 42.2 kilometre run, friend and “human guide dog” Tane Eunson will run a few steps behind, using hand signals to help Chris navigate the course.
The pair have already completed three half-marathon training runs without incident, apart from some amused glances from passers-by.
Known for its heat and its hills, the Rottnest race was chosen because Chris thought he would have longer to complete the course.
“Part of the bet was that I have to finish before the sweeper bus, which is the bus that comes around and picks people up that are too slow,” he said.
“I picked Rottnest mainly because there are no cars so I didn’t think there would be a sweeper bus.”
Unfortunately for Chris, while there is no bus, race organisers have to pack up the finish line after six-and-a-half hours.
This means he has less time to finish than if he’d chosen an event like the London Marathon where the sweeper bus comes around after seven hours.
West Australian Marathon Club race organiser Jade Onno said she thought Chris’ backwards marathon idea was an April Fools joke at first.
“I had a very good laugh to myself and thought it was hilarious,” she said.
A sense of fun is part of the annual race, which commemorates the legend of immigrant prisoner Harry McFordyce.
McFordyce allegedly attempted to escape but, on his fourth lap of the island, collapsed from dehydration and died. In his memory, bagpipes instead of a gun signal the start of the marathon.
Search for ‘Hendo’s Backwards Marathon’ on the everyday hero website to donate. To keep track of Chris’ progress, go to the event page on Facebook.