By Paul Amy
December 11, 2013
JAKE Ward had good reason for skipping Dandenong Football Club's training run at Lysterfield Park on Monday night.
Two days earlier he did a whole pre-season's worth of running, 110km, to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ward, 28, set off from his Cranbourne home at 5am. His feet "feeling like fire'', he returned just under 19 hours later, family and friends cheering his every step.
Ward broke down at the finish line, spent by the effort, but also thinking of the aunt and cousin his family had lost to cancer.
He said he drew on them for inspiration once the excitement of the run turned to exhaustion.
"There was no doubt at all in my mind that I was going to do it, even if it took me three days,'' Ward said.
In a line reminiscent of the movie Forrest Gump, he added: "I just ran.''
Accompanied by a 4WD driven by his cousin Paul Eaton, Ward ran from Cranbourne to Lysterfield Park, returned to Cranbourne and set off for Frankston.
There he did 12km along the beach before heading back to Cranny, doing a loop of the town to take him up to 110km.
His longest break was five minutes, to eat and drink.
Ward trained hard for the day. But he said no amount of training could have prepared him for it.
"I did plenty of gym work and plenty of running, did all I could to build the cardio up," he said.
"But I knew I was in the right mental state."
"Even during the run when my feet were painful, around the 65-70km mark, I knew I would do it.''
He said he was overwhelmed and appreciative of the support he received.
Ward raised almost $8000, more than his goal of $5000.
His Dandenong teammates got behind him, joining in stages of the run and sponsoring him.
Ward, a midfielder, has played football at Dandy for four years.
Unsurprisingly, he counts endurance running as his strength.
Original article: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/dandenong-footballer-runs-his-socks-off-for-breast-cancer-research/story-fngnvoeu-1226780735071