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Catholic Education staff make every step count in fight against domestic violence

Darkness into Light walk

Marathon effort: BCE executive director Pam Betts congratulates Mark Roberton on his marathon effort to raise money and awareness of domestic violence.

STAFF from Brisbane Catholic Education schools and offices were among hundreds who ran, jogged or walked from darkness into daylight to speak out against domestic violence.

The Darkness to Daylight Challenge on May 4-5 was a unique experience that began in darkness with a few brave participants taking on a 110km run while others ran a 10km “together” challenge and more walked a 3km route as dawn broke over Brisbane City.

Brisbane Catholic Education executive director Pam Betts said it was a fantastic effort by all the participants.

Ms Betts, who joined the early-morning walkers, said every year in Australia about 110 women, children and men died because of domestic and family violence.

“This 110km symbolic run is 1km for every life lost but also the ones left behind,” Ms Betts said.

She said the lead runner held a candle symbolising the hope that people living with domestic violence felt when finding the courage to speak up and get the support that seemed so out of reach.

She thanked all the BCE participants and those who had been so generous in supporting this “very worthy cause”. 

Ms Betts especially thanked St Teresa’s College, Noosaville, business manager Mark Roberton who took on the 110km night challenge – alone.

Mr Roberton started his run at 6.30pm the previous day following a candle light vigil and address from domestic violence advocate and former Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.

Mr Roberton, who has completed marathons and endurance events, said when notice of the event arrived in his “in box”, his initial motivation was purely selfish – the opportunity to run the elusive 100km, a goal of most fellow ultra-runners.

But his attitude soon changed.

“I have led a very fortunate life in that I havenever been touched by domestic violence,” Mr Roberton said.

“However, like so many of us, I despair every week when we hear of another tragedy involving the death of a human being at the hands of a former loved one.

“My personal goals have now moved completely from a purely personal challenge to really wanting to make a positive difference to the insidious action that is domestic violence.”


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