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The Berry Long Run is one of Australia’s most challenging ultra-marathons. Not just because it takes place among the hills, valleys and rough terrain of the Lerderderg State Forest and the Great Dividing Trail, but also because it’s one of the few ultra-marathons run in winter. This year, the event is on Saturday 12 August, with at least 100 intrepid runners getting started at 7.30am!

Winter is a hard time to run a marathon, but it’s also a hard time to experience family violence and neglect. It’s a hard time to be forced to leave your home because it’s unsafe. The courageous Berry Long Run (BLR) runners compete on this difficult course in order to push themselves, but also to raise funds to help make life a little easier for children and young people across Victoria who face huge challenges every day. Since its inception, the event has raised a whopping $117,000!

Meet Trish Yates, Berry Long Run Ambassador

We spoke to BLR Ambassador Trish Yates, who’s been involved with the BLR for many years, competing in six Berry Long Runs, including the two virtual events during COVID lockdowns. In non-COVID years, she completed the 70km event 3 times and the 40km event once. And she’s on board again, getting ready to compete in her seventh Berry Long Run! Trish’s big message is that if you’re interested in this amazing event, now is the time to get on board and start training.

What inspired you to take part?  

The Berry Long Run is a challenging event, run by a great bunch of people and for a brilliant cause. In my first year, the 70km was the longest run I’d ever done at that time. Being able to use the run to raise funds for a brilliant cause was all part of the inspiration and motivation to do it.   

What have you enjoyed most about participating in the Berry Long Run?  

The community spirit of this run is special; it’s a tight field of people willing to take on a tough course, and the support we get along the way is pretty special.   

What are some of the most challenging aspects of the Berry Long Run? 

For the 70km, the distance is the real challenge, it’s a very long way on foot. As for the course itself, the climb out of the gorge is tough and that last 10km of winding single track takes a lot of concentration when both the legs and brain are tired.   

What would you recommend to anyone interested in the Berry Long Run? 

Do it! Train properly, respect the course and the distance. I took up running after my fourth child at the age of 33. At that point, I couldn’t run a lap of an oval without stopping. If I can do it, anyone can.   

Why is it important to you to raise funds for Berry Street? 

As a mum of four, the work Berry Street does for families and children in particular means a lot to me. There are not many charities that have been around for over 100 years, so that’s pretty special.   

What have you found is most effective in raising funds? 

Using social media has been great, both before and after the run. Explaining the challenge of the run, writing and sharing race reports that expose the challenges on the day, and promoting the work of Berry Street all help.    

The Berry Long Run is a challenging but rewarding ultra-marathon, with tons of support every step of the way. To get involved, register at the BLR website then head over to our Berry Street fundraising platform to set up your own fundraising page. 

Key event details

Registrations: via the BLR website

Date and time: Saturday 12 August, race starting at 7.30am

Start/finish: Blackwood Mineral Springs, 41 Golden Point Road, Blackwood

For more info on the event, please visit the Berry Long Run website. You can also email Vicki Renner, Berry Street Community Fundraising Coordinator, or give us a call at 1800 237 797.