Balbarrup man Mark Sewell is leading the charge to help raise awareness of prostate cancer by joining The Long Run this month, and is aiming to run 80km along the Bibbulmun Track in just one day. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia initiative calls on Australians to run, walk or ride 72km during September for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness and vital funds for research and support. Mr Sewell said he wanted to get involved to raise awareness for the disease and the impact of the run’s message of “going the distance”. “I really like The Long Run mantra of ‘going the distance’, which is something my wife and I have tried to instil in our two daughters. It’s not always about your speed, but it is always about going the distance,” he said. “I’m not young, but my family is, and it’s really important to me that I stay as fit and healthy as I can for as long as I can.” Mr Sewell said the run was a way for him to maintain his fitness, and taking care of his health was a priority and not something to wave off. “I’m acutely aware of my responsibility to stay fit and healthy so that I can be the father and husband they need for as long as possible,” he said. “So that’s one of the reasons I run and see my doctor annually, and another reason is because I take prostate cancer, or the ever-present possibility of it, deadly seriously.” Mr Sewell will be taking on a section of the Bibbulmun Track and will be running with a friend, expecting to tackle the 80km run in one night. “It’s one of the world’s great long-distance trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast, and it passes not far from where I live, in the South West of WA,” he said. “In terms of our history, the Bibbulmun were a regional sub-group of the First Nations Noongar people of WA, who walked vast tracts of country across the triangle of land from what is now Jurien Bay across to Esperance and down to Cape Leeuwin — an area of many hundred square miles.” Mr Sewell also said he was looking forward to “supporting a great cause” and making more of a connection to the country in doing the run. “The connection to people and to country and environment is important to me and to my family, so that was another plus of taking part in The Long Run – connection to what matters most,” he said. “I’m looking forward to ticking this off my endurance bucket list and supporting a great cause.” Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with one man diagnosed with the disease every 22 minutes. “I don’t have prostate cancer, but it’s Australia’s leading cause of cancer, so I wanted to get involved,” Mr Sewell said. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia chief executive officer Anne Savage commended Mr Sewell for his inspiring commitment. “Community action during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is key to raising more awareness of the disease and encouraging men to get tested,” Ms Savage said. “Only 36 per cent of prostate cancers are diagnosed at stage one, when the disease is easiest to beat.” She said the message about early detection and letting men know to get tested was crucial to the campaign and the intent behind The Long Run. “We are calling on all Australians to join Mark in taking action by signing up for The Long Run this September, to help get the message out about early detection and support,” Ms Savage said. “Mark is a role model and an inspiration, demonstrating that together we can make a difference for men and their families.” Several thousand eager runners, walkers and cyclists are expected to join The Long Run this month, with a total goal of $1 million for research, support services and awareness. Australians can register to join The Long Run at www.thelongrun.org.au, or donate to Mr Sewell at www.thelongrun.org.au/fundraisers/marksewell.