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Every step counts in fight against domestic violence

BCE school and office staff ran, walked or jogged their way from darkness to
daylight to speak out against domestic violence

STAFF from BCE schools and offices were among hundreds who ran, jogged or walked from darkness into daylight to speak out against domestic violence.

The Darkness to Daylight Challenge is a unique experience that begins in darkness with a few brave participants taking on a 110km night run while others run a 10km “together” challenge and a lot more walk a 3km route as dawn breaks over Brisbane City.

BCE Executive Director said it was a fantastic effort by all the participants.

Ms Betts, who joined the early morning walkers, said every year in Australia about 110 women, children and men died because of domestic and family violence.

“This 110km symbolic run is 1km for every life lost but also the ones left behind,” she said

So far the BCE Team has raised more than $11,000 from the event, which aims to raise awareness and much needed funding to support victims of domestic and family violence.

Ms Betts said the lead runner held a candle symbolising the hope that people living with domestic violence felt when finding the courage to speak up and get the support that seemed so out of reach.

She thanked all the BCE participants and those who had been so generous in supporting "this very worthy cause". 

She especially thanked Mark Roberton, Business Manager at St Teresa's Catholic College, Noosaville, who took on the 110Km night challenge - alone.

Mark started his run at 6.30pm the previous evening following a candle light vigil and address from domestic violence advocate and former Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.

Mark, who has completed many marathons and endurance events, said when notice of the event arrived in his “in box”, his initial motivation was purely selfish - the opportunity to run the elusive 100km, a goal of most ultra-runners.

But his attitude soon changed.

“I have led a very fortunate life in that I have never been touched by domestic violence,” Mark said.

“However, like so many of us, I despair every week when we hear of another tragedy involving the death of a human being at the hands of a former loved one.

“My personal goals have now moved completely from a purely personal challenge to really wanting to make a positive difference to the insidious action that is domestic violence,” he said.

Mark said he was nervous at first, not knowing whether he could run 110km in 12 and a half hours.

However, he had built up a great fitness base from previous events and training and had great support from his wife who was on hand all night to manage his nutrition and act as his driver, coach, mentor, masseuse, timer, psychologist, and cheer squad. 

“But my greatest motivation is that every kilometre (about every six and a half minutes) represents the passing of a life at the hands of domestic violence and the devastation forever of two families,” he said.

The BCE team also had enough runners for two relay teams who aimed to complete a total of 220km, however, they ended up making it 358km. 

Ms Betts said she “truly hoped the funds and awareness BCE staff raised, would really make a difference”.

Executive Director Pam Betts congratulates Mark Roberton on his
marathon effort to raise money and awareness of domestic violence

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101