Once again, Norfolk Island has shown that it is a generous and caring community, with a wonderful spirit of participation.
We staged our first "Relay for Life" over the weekend, and the response from individuals and community groups was overwhelming.
It was estimated that over a third of the island's populatiuon regidstered to be involved, with many many more also taking part, making donations, providing supporting activities, cheering people on and in many other ways. And I know of many, young and old, who decided on impulse to do a few laps of the oval- and found it to be a wonderful experience.
The event took place on the Malcolm Champion Oval at the school. It began on Saturday afternoon, but we did not get there until the evening. By then the school grounds were a sea of tents and marquees, providing some shelter from the cold weather to those who would be running during the night, or entertaining and feeding the crowds.
Candles in paper bags had been placed around the oval by people wanting to honour family and friends who had been cancer sufferers. As you can see in this picture, even a broken leg was no barrier to participation!
On the hillside, a number of these candles had been arranged to spell out "HOPE."
There was a wonderful feeling of camaraderie.
From the other side of the oval, the tent city took on a "carnival" appearance!
This group of participants had decided to focus on the "CELEBRATE" part of the theme for Relay for Life.
Now, as part of the event, Alex Mackenzie from New Zealand had decided to come and use the oval and the event for a challenge that could put him in the Guiness Book of Records. He planned to run 200 km on grass. He had only arrived from New Zealand that morning, and began his marathon at 1 p.m., expecting that it would take him around 24 hours. All through the night, he was accompanied on his laps, not only by members of his own support team, but by locals.
At about 9 p.m, he was a little more than 1/4 of the way there!!
The next afternoon, although the official relay was finished, there were a number of people continuing to walk the track just for the sheer joy of it!!
And Alex was still running! The oval had proved to have a harder surface than he had expected, and he still had a fair way to go to complete his 200 kms.
You can see how the grass on the track has been worn down by all the walkers/runners!
Alex finally completed his marathon just 3 minutes short of 30 hours! What a feat! And how proud we were to have him do it here on Norfolk Island!
I am told that well over the $20 000 target was raised for Cancer support and research. And the best thing was that it was such fun, and really brought the community together.