We caught up with the Bowel Cancer Australia fundraiser to learn more about her Kms for Keith Cycle Challenge, how she organised the big event, and to get her top 5 Move Well tips ahead of Be Well Week.
Bowel Cancer Australia: Tell us about your recent cycle challenge and fundraiser – how did it all come about?
Erin: It kind of eventuated after chatting to my partner about the desire to train for something. I had been a keen runner, but had recently got a knee injury that ruled out running indefinitely. The idea of cycling to Melbourne was both a great challenge and helped to rehab my knee at the same time.
Bowel Cancer Australia: Why did you decide to raise funds for Bowel Cancer Australia?
Erin: My dad passed away from bowel cancer when I was 16. It was a good opportunity to use the ride to help raise funds and awareness for a cause that is obviously very close to my heart.
Bowel Cancer Australia: Why do you feel it is so important to support organisations like ours?
Erin: Bowel cancer is such a preventable and treatable disease if caught early. I think that unlike more 'marketable' causes, bowel cancer is not often talked about, and those suffering from the disease can find symptoms and treatment embarrassing. I think it's very important to raise awareness around the disease so that everyone can recognise signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, to gain early treatment and intervention.
Bowel Cancer Australia: You cycled a very long distance – What kept you motivated during the ride?
Erin: The support we had along the way from people donating, wishing us well was amazing. This definitely helped us get through each day. It also helped drastically to do it in a group, it would've been so much harder if you didn't know there were five others suffering the saddle soreness as much as you!
Bowel Cancer Australia: We all have family and friends who support us during tough times – what was it like having so many people rally behind you for this challenge?
Erin: It was a really humbling experience. The amount of support we got was way above and beyond what I had anticipated. I think we, as a group, were blown away by the support we got, both from family and friends, and those people we met along the trip as well.
Bowel Cancer Australia: How did you prepare for the fitness challenge?
Erin: In the lead up we trained three times a week, two long rides of 100km+ and another bike session in the gym. To complement that, I was also doing some gym based strengthening sessions and other cross training. I found it very motivating to think that each training session I did would make it easier going up the hills on the very undulating Princes Highway.
Bowel Cancer Australia: What are your top 5 tips for anyone wanting to organise a fitness challenge during Be Well Week?
- Get people involved - the more people that share the challenge the better.
- Do something you like - you got to enjoy something to make it a lifelong (hopefully) habit
- Make it achievable and attractive/relatable for people. Don't set huge goals at the start, you'll soon find out how many great people are out there wanting to help out.
- Take some time out - just because you are training for this challenge doesn't mean you can't take some time out and relax.
- Just do it - don't make excuses. You'll find you have way more supporters than you thought.
To get behind Erin's fitness challenge, donate at https://give.everydayhero.com/au/Kms-for-Keith
To organise your own challenge or get involved in Be Well Week, visit bewellweek.org