A group of Good Samaritan Oblates will participate in this year’s Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and they are hoping that others will either join their team or support their efforts to raise funds for the Good Sams Foundation.
The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, to be held on Sunday September 17, 2017, is an annual running and walking event which includes a full 42.2 kilometre marathon, a 21.1 kilometre half marathon, a 10 kilometre bridge run and a 3.5 kilometre family fun run, all of which take participants across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Described as one of the most scenic and spectacular courses in Australia, each year the event attracts around 33,000 participants of all skill levels and ages, with many also raising funds for a range of charities. Since the Festival began 17 years ago, participants have raised more than 15.5 million dollars.
Margaret Pirotta, Andrea Taylor and Pauline Roach, the three Sydney oblates whose idea it was to enter a walking team in this year’s Festival, said their aim is to raise awareness of the life and mission of the Good Samaritan Sisters in their 160th anniversary year (1857-2017) and to raise vital funds for their ongoing ministries in Australia, Japan, the Philippines and Kiribati.
“The Good Sams have done so much in Australia in those 160 years,” said Andrea Taylor, a retired nurse who became a Good Samaritan Oblate six years ago.
“It’s unbelievable when you look around and see the schools [they have established], and even now these women who are still running things.”
Andrea has great admiration for the Sisters – “these amazing women who have given their entire life to doing good things” – and said she wanted to give something back to them.
“I thought, I’ll join in, because it’s a good thing to do and give back something as an oblate.”
The Good Sams 160 Walkers, as the team are known, have chosen to walk in the 3.5 kilometre family run, which will begin at Bradfield Park, Milson’s Point, head across a traffic-free Sydney Harbour Bridge and finish at the Conservatorium of Music.
“[It] isn’t very far. I think most of us manage to walk that [distance] while we’re doing our shopping really,” laughed 76-year-old Andrea, who walked 640 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago three years ago.
“I’m no marathon runner, that’s for sure!”
Andrea said there are ten on the team at the moment, but she is “hoping there will be more”.
“One of the girls in our oblates group, she’s in a wheel chair, [and] she is joining up; she’s going to do it in her wheel chair. One of our other girls, she’s had a baby, so she’ll be walking with a stroller,” said Andrea.
The team is sending a ‘shout-out’ to other Good Samaritan Oblates, encouraging them to participate, but essentially they hope “everyone and anyone” will join them.
“We would love it [if they could join us]… anyone who has got the desire to walk across the Harbour Bridge and just admire the view,” said Andrea.
The Good Sams Walkers have already raised nearly $3,000 and their goal is to exceed $16,000 (that’s an oblique reference to the 160th anniversary, by the way). Each team member has set their own fundraising goals, too (have a look at www.tinyurl.com/goodsams).
Funds raised by the team will be directed to the Good Sams Foundation, which brings together people and resources to support works and initiatives of the Good Samaritan Sisters.
Working with their partners in ministry, the Sisters bring compassion and justice to communities across Australia and the Asia-Pacific, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees and asylum seekers, women and their children who are homeless or escaping domestic violence, women subjected to human trafficking, and more.
How you can help
- Join the Good Sams 160 Walkers. Register online at www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au and start fundraising at www.tinyurl.com/goodsams
- Make a donation to the Good Sams 160 Walkers at www.tinyurl.com/goodsams
- Spread the word about the Good Sams 160 Walkers among your friends via email or social media.
Click here for more information.