Ultra-effort raises funds for Legacy

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Chloe Wootten (author)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT, Australia

Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Crowther and Commander Ian Young are all smiles after completing the gruelling 150km ultra marathon. (photo: Unknown)
Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Crowther and Commander Ian Young are all smiles after completing the gruelling 150km ultra marathon.

Two Navy officers braved blisters, cramps, extreme fatigue and unfamiliar terrain to complete the 150km Anzac Ultra Marathon in under 40 hours over 10-11 April on Canberra's Centenary Trail. 

Commander Ian Young, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Maritime Operational Health Unit and Lieutenant Commander Ben Crowther from HMAS Albatross joined forces to undertake the extreme event but on top of the run they took on a far greater task - raising funds for Legacy.

"The last 80km was an exercise in pain management," Lieutenant Commander Crowther said.

"It hurt. Bad. And for the record it hurts bad the morning after too!

"But that stuff isn't important, it was about raising money for Legacy, which will make a difference to the lives of families of service personnel in need," he said.

The event was run as a continuous multi-day ultra-marathon. Runners were required to run and walk the distance within a specified time limit. Each runner provided their own crew to provide supplies, safety and support.  Commander Young and Lieutenant Commander Crowther said they relied heavily on the support of firends and family to get to the finish line.

Vice Chief of Defence, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs was on hand to start the competitors off at Stromlo Forest Park early on the blustery Friday morning, showing support for the pair.

"It was terrific to see both the amazing physical and mental effort to complete this challenge but also the outstanding fund raising effort," he said.

The pair tracked their progress and kept supporters updated by posting messages on facebook during the event.

They hit half way at 14 hours 30 minutes, but the second half was tough going. As Lieutenant Commander Crowther described, he had to draw deep into his reserves to complete the gruelling distance.

"My feet fell off hours ago, ankles are screaming, right knee aching, left achilles strained, but otherwise ok," he posted.

As the finish line neared, with 10 km to go and 37 hours behind them, the pair were akin to walking wounded, limping but committed to the end.

"We are very pleased to have started, and finished the Anzac Ultra as Team Navy, raising over $18,000 for Legacy in the process," Commander Young said.

Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service. Legacy currently cares for 100,000 widows and 1,900 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.

Competitors have raised almost $80,000 in total for the important work of Legacy so far.