Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies said she’s not expecting too much from herself before tackling her first marathon.
“I’ll probably run the first hundred metres but after that it will be a brisk walk,” Ms Davies said.
She could be forgiven for not posting the fastest time at Saturday’s Western Sydney Marathon, considering she’ll be pushing son, Harry, in a pram on the five-kilometre family fun run.
But she’s not running for personal glory. The state’s Mental Health Minister will run for Team Black Dog, to raise awareness for the Exercise Your Mood campaign.
“I was keen to participate because it’s another reminder to myself, my family but also to the community how important physical activity is to one’s mental health and physical well-being,” Ms Davies said.
“There’s a lot of scientific evidence that proves the physical and mental benefits of activity.
“You don’t have to be an amazing Olympic athlete, but [exercise] has to be a priority.”
The event at the Sydney International Regatta Centre falls on the eve of Mental Health Month.
One in five Australians are affected by mental illness every year.
Black Dog Institute expert associate professor Samuel Harvey said even moderate physical activity could be effective in treating mental illness.
“We want to remind Australians that every little bit counts – even an hour a week can make a difference,” he said.
Saturday’s run will be a family affair for the Davies clan.
Daughter Laura, 10, will run alongside her mother, but one-year-old brother Harry is too young for that.
“He will be getting the easy ride,” Ms Davies said.
“I’m a mum and a wife, and this is setting a good example for them that serving the community is important.
“And looking after your own mental health is important too.”
Ms Davies urged people suffering with mental illness to allow themselves to be vulnerable.
“It’s important to be honest and transparent,” she said.
“It’s amazing how being vulnerable makes it easier for the next person to open up about their journey.”
Penrith MP and Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said more than 1,500 runners were expected to pound the pavement in the marathon, the biggest line-up in its history.
Registrations are still open and can be made up until race day on September 30.
“The Western Sydney Marathon is now one of the most popular running festivals in the state and attracts runners of all abilities and ages, including families and serious competitors,” he said.
“During its seven year history, the Western Sydney Marathon has attracted larger crowds ever year, with event participation up by 25 per cent this year.
“It is fantastic to see the event attracting interest both locally and internationally, with participants from 13 countries, including Kenya, Brazil, Singapore and the United States.”
Race options for the event include the marathon, half marathon, 10-kilometre ‘Lap the Lake’ and five-kilometre Family Fun Run.
To register, visit: www.westernsydneymarathon.com.au.
Ms Davies has set up an Everyday Hero page, to raise $700 for her run.
- The Western Sydney Marathon will be held on September 30 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, Castlereah Road, Castlereagh.