Ultra marathon for domestic violence awareness

Police officers Tracy Stone, Melanie Robinson, Bianca Kleyn, runner Kirrily Dear, Stuart Davis and teacher Monique Boyer at Springwood Police Station.
Police officers Tracy Stone, Melanie Robinson, Bianca Kleyn, runner Kirrily Dear, Stuart Davis and teacher Monique Boyer at Springwood Police Station.

When Kirrily Dear reached Woodford this morning, her 15th day on the road, she had her first glimpse of her final destination – the Sydney CBD.

“The end is in sight,” she said, “only 100 kilometres to go – and it’s all downhill.”

Ms Dear took off from Broken Hill on September 1 to run the 1300 kilometres to Sydney to increase awareness of domestic violence.

Passing through Springwood at lunchtime, she met a group of local officers who have been running with her as “virtual runners”. They’ve been putting in the hard yards on the streets around the Mountains, logging their runs on an app to prove they are beside her, in a virtual sense, every step of the way.

Chief Inspector Stuart Davis said that as most of them have dealt with cases of domestic violence in their jobs, they wanted to lend their support to Ms Dear.

“We did it locally to raise awareness of domestic violence,” he said. “We don’t want domestic violence to be hidden – we want it to be reported and the police to take action. We encourage people to report it.”

Their motives match up with Ms Dear, who set off on her run in attempt to give a voice to the silent victims of family violence. 

Chief Inspector Tracy Stone, from Penrith command, said: “This ultra marathon was to encourage children, one of the most vulnerable victims of violence, a chance to find their voice and tell their stories.”

Ms Dear said she was encouraging the community to listen and had been overwhelmed by the response she’s received en route.

“It’s been absolutely enormous and there’s been on-going community engagement,” she said.

“The more people talk about it, the more we learn about it and it removes the stigma for people who are going through it.

“We’ve had people come up and tell us their stories – it’s heart-wrenching but it’s great that we have reached the point as a community that they can do that.”

Ms Dear will finish her run on Sunday at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival .