Chopper run on saintly ground

Paul Cornwall, an administration co-ordinator and information technology manager at All Saints’ College, Maitland, set out last weekend to run 139 kilometres without stopping.

It was part of AW139 Ultra for Everyone challenge, a fundraiser for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service held over the month of June, encouraging people to swim, cycle, row or run 139km.

Mr Cornwall elected to run 139km, which is 139 laps around All Saints’ College, St Mary's Campus, to raise money for the AW139 helicopters. Starting at 2pm on Friday, the plan was to run nonstop until the goal was complete.

“I’ve always been good at doing ultra-stupid things”, Mr Cornwall said.  

“If people can see that I can do 139km in one day, then they can do 13.9km per week. That was my goal, to get people involved in the challenge.”

Principal of All Saints’ College, Marc Romano, said the school was happy to support him by hosting the run.

“It is a worthwhile charity, raising money for Westpac helicopters,” Mr Romano said. “We also have a number of staff running with him, including our Assistant Principal Kathryn Johnstone.”

Mr Cornwall describes All Saints College as a beautiful school with great spirit and great support. 

“For me it’s a very spiritual place.” Mr Cornwall said. “I grew up here and went to school here. To do this here makes me feel at peace with what I’m doing, as it’s going to get very tough.”

It was much tougher than Mr Cornwall had anticipated, and he was forced to stop at 3am on Saturday due to crippling pain.

While he rested, another runner, Sarah Elliott, jumped in to run 50km, and Mr Cornwall ran the last 5km with blood-soaked shoes.

Mr Cornwall said he hardly ran a lap on his own during the more than 24-hour event.

"I was quite humbled," he said. "It's the first time I finished something and was crying. So many people around me had gotten me to that point.

"I don't take failures as the end of the world. I've learned they're a great opportunity to look at the next great thing you're leading towards.”

Sign up or find out more about the challenge here.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle