Stepping out to stop family violence

Kirrily Dear stretches her legs on a stretch of local road 
on her way to Broken Hill to start her 1300km run.
Kirrily Dear stretches her legs on a stretch of local road on her way to Broken Hill to start her 1300km run.

Ultramarathon runner Kirrily Dear is stepping out on her longest run yet – more than 1300km.

On Wednesday morning, August 30, Dear laced up her runners in Broken Hill, and hit the road to Sydney, a journey which will see her pass through Canowindra on Sunday, September 10.

“We have seen a huge benefit in running as a tool for community engagement,” Ms Dear said.

“It’s clear that people want to be able to engage with family violence prevention,” she said.

Kirrily said people have become “so much more open to the conversation” in the years since the first run.

And that, she believes, is absolutely critical to helping people ask for help.

“Where we focus is starting the conversation, that removes the stigma and the social barriers,” Kirrily said.

“It normalises talking about it so people who have experienced it feel more comfortable and will reach out for help sooner.”

When more people in the community are better informed, they know how to respond, they can be prepared to help someone in a family violence situation.

“We create a positive and constructive environment for people who are recovering,” Kirrily added.

“They know that people care and know how to support them and that is when they can move from surviving to thriving.”

Kirrily departed Broken Hill on Wednesday, August 30 and is running up to 12 hours a day.

On the run, somewhere between Forbes and Canowindra she will set a personal record for distance run.

“My focus has been on mental preparation,” she said.

“Over the past nine months I’ve been doing a lot of things outside the familiar, that have redefined my comfort zone, to build resilience.

“There’s only a certain amount of fitness – it’s mentally being able to deal with pain and exhaustion.”

For more information or to sign up for the virtual challenge go to runagainstviolence.com

Related: 

Emotional end to 860km run