David MacPhail has long been interested in promoting the rights of refugees in Australia and people seeking asylum. ‘I’m actively engaged,’ he says, ‘because I’m distressed at what we do, in our innocent ignorance, to other people, how it affects them and how it damages us all.’
He has been volunteering with groups advocating on behalf of people seeking asylum for over fifteen years, starting at the Ballarat Refugee Support Network which was disbanded around eight years ago. After that, he joined the ASRC and has been volunteering in the Casework department for the last seven years. ‘This is simply what I choose to do,’ he says.
David has also been running in the Melbourne Marathon for about that long, completing a half marathon in 2009 and his first full marathon – that’s 42.4 km! – in 2010 at the age of 63. It took him five hours and 36 minutes and he says that he ‘had trouble passing pedestrians with 5km to go,’ but he didn’t give up and hasn’t looked back!
Since then, David’s run two half marathons and three full marathons as part of the Run 4 Refugees. This year, for his 70th birthday, David was gifted a registration to the 2017 Melbourne Marathon and a donation of $1000! He’ll be running his fourth full marathon at the ripe age of 70!
While he wasn’t a runner before getting involved with the Melbourne Marathon, it’s become a way of life for David. He runs three or four days a week around Black Hill, Ballarat and along the Yarrowee creek in order to ‘keep [his] heart and lungs going’ and says that running appeals to him because it’s ‘free, can be done anywhere, any time, very conveniently, alone, and because human beings are natural running machines.’
‘There’s a freedom to running,’ David says, admitting that while he doesn’t really enjoy fundraising, he’s happy and grateful to be sponsored and to contribute to the ASRC in this way. He says he is inspired by the strength of people seeking asylum, who have endured unspeakable horrors to make it to Australia. Over the years, he has made somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000 in donations for people seeking asylum and refugees and is aiming to raise $4,000 this year.
David’s hint for novice Run 4 Refugees runners?
‘Prepare early and long. I run about 90 hours in a lead up to a marathon. Go on the web and get good information from people who know.’
If you’d like to sponsor David’s 70th birthday run, please head to his GoFundraise page here.
Run 4 Refugees is the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s (ASRC) flagship community fundraising event. Whether you run, walk, skip or jog in one of five event distances – you will be championing hope and empowering people seeking asylum.
In 2017 Run 4 Refugees celebrates it’s 10th anniversary and since 2007, has raised almost $1 million to support the ASRC’s frontline programs and services. So what are you waiting for? Join #TeamASRC today! Head to asrc.org.au/run4refugeesLeave a reply →