President Sue’s partner Jim 65, a retired Army Sergeant (pictured this week on a sunset job at Keilor), will never forget the highlight of his army days – a 15,000km run around the Australian mainland and Tasmania. “That was the big one,” says Jim, in retirement still a 30km-a-week runner.  
Pics below show Jim on the Nullarbor, south of Broome and entering the Daintree near Cairns. (see Read More).
 “There were 20 of us including a female lieutenant and a large back up crew.  Each runner did one-twentieth of the distance round Australia. Just to be selected, we had to run a marathon in   under three hours as well as ensure we had completed a 5km run in under 17.5 minutes. I was very fit at the time as I was an Army Physical Training Instructor (PTI) at 1stRecruit Training Battalion Kapooka, Wagga Wagga. As well as my daily PTI exercise at work, I was running 100km a week for enjoyment.”
On July 1, 1986, Prime Minister Hawke shook the hands of the participants and they jogged off from Canberra. Behind were five vans with medics, cooks, and safety people.  Three months later, they finished in Sydney’s Martin Place. The run raised more than $1m for the Australian Cancer Foundation – equal to $3m today.
“I was in a team of four runners. We’d each do 10km, then the next team of four would leapfrog us,” he explains.   “Most nights we bedded down in army accommodation, except on the Nullarbor where we ran at night. Only a couple of us got running injuries but thankfully, I was fine.”
As a kid, Jim was sports-mad – soccer, AFL and rugby -- but by 15 he focused on running. He joined the army for a physical instruction career as soon as he turned 17. His role involved running 14-week courses designed for all new recruits at 1 Recruit Training Battalion at Blamey Barracks.  
Jim retired as sergeant after 20 years in the regulars and a year in reserves. His only injury from army life was when an ammo box fell on his right foot.
Jim’s enjoyed spending the past 14 years restoring a 1974 VW Kombi campervan. He runs the same route every day and sometimes gets home without remembering how. “I could do this route blindfolded,” he says. “I’ll keep running until I can’t.” #