AS he was about to begin four marathons in consecutive days, Matt Chapman wasn’t concerned that he hadn’t trained.
Starting on October 1, Mr Chapman was planning to run from Bathurst to Westmead Hospital to raise money for Dubbo youngster Molly Croft, who is battling a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
Mr Chapman coaches Molly’s sister Maddie in representative basketball, which is how he came across the Croft family and heard about the challenge they are facing.
All he wanted to do was help.
“God knows why the idea of running to Sydney came into my head,” he said.
“In the end, it worked out and it was all worth it.”
Mr Chapman plays basketball and Australian rules football, but that’s as far as his regular fitness goes.
“I didn’t train that much. I’m not a runner,” he explained.
“I do play a bit of sport and I had all intentions of doing a fair bit of training, but it never worked out that way. So in the end, I did wing it.
“I spoke to a couple of runners about what I was doing and they said, ‘You’re nuts, absolutely insane’.
“People train for a marathon for, like, 12 months and I went and did four in a row. She’ll be right.”
Mr Chapman began his journey in Bathurst, heading towards Lithgow on day one. It was longer than the marathon length – 42 kilometres – and while it was one of his longest legs, it wasn’t the hardest.
The second day he went from Lithgow to Katoomba, a challenging climb up the Blue Mountains.
On day three, he travelled across the mountains from Katoomba to Blaxland, before heading to Westmead on the final day.
“I know it sounds like a cliché, but it was a life-changing experience,” he said.
“Getting there and seeing Molly and seeing how happy she was, it really lifted her spirits.
“It wasn’t necessarily about the money, rather Molly and knowing that she can beat this.”
He said there were many challenges he had to overcome across the four days of his run.
“There were so many different challenges, like blisters. On the fourth day, for a small period of time, I wore a thong on my right foot,” he said.
“On the Monday night, it was so mentally and emotionally challenging.
“I’m not an emotional kind of bloke, but on that Monday night, I didn’t sleep. I was up all night in pain and stressing and that was only after the first day!
“But the struggles I went through were nothing like what Molly has to go through.”
He also received plenty of support during his run, with drivers honking their horns and waving as he ran past.
“I wore a shirt and some people knew it was happening, so they were waving and honking,” he said.
“That was really encouraging. On the third day, I did an interview on radio in the middle of it and after that, there were even more people waving and blowing their horns.”
When Mr Chapman arrived in Westmead, he made sure he didn’t have to run back home.
“There was no way I was running back,” he laughed.
It’s not too late to donate to the cause, with donations being accepted online at www.123tix.com.au/events/1978/matts-marathons-4-molly-run-from-bathurst-to-ronald-mcdonald-house.
“I’d love to see businesses get around it,” Mr Chapman said.
“We’ll keep the link open to the end of month, so hopefully people keep donating.”
Mr Chapman is hoping to raise $20,000, with money going to the Croft family via the Men of League Foundation.