THE mental health challenges faced by many cancer survivors is not talked about much, but local runner Stephen Tanner feels so strongly about it, he took it to the mountaintops.
The Beaudesert veterinarian took on Tasmania’s Point to Pinnacle half marathon in support of his sister Christine, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2022 and has since endured a double mastectomy, reconstruction and chemotherapy treatment.
In a hot pink shirt emblazoned with ‘RUNNING 4 CHRISTINE’, Dr Tanner ran from Hobart’s Wrest Point Casino to the top of Kunanyi (Mt Wellington) to boost his sister’s spirits.
He raised $5330 for the Breast Cancer Network Australia, with his clinic A Plus Vets matching donations dollar for dollar to reach that sum.
Point to Pinnacle is known as the world’s toughest road half marathon, with more than 1270 metres of elevation across the 21.1km course.
In preparation, Dr Tanner squeezed in two or three runs and gym sessions each week around working 12 to 14-hour days in his clinic.
He also had some experience under his belt, having completed several ultra-marathons and trail runs since he started running 13 years ago, aged 50.
Dr Tanner, who completed Point to Pinnacle in three hours and eight minutes, said his sister was his reason for doing the event.
“My sister was really struggling mentally after all the procedures, obviously it knocks your immune system around, so I did it as something for her to think about outside of the house and I would just send her updates along the way,” he said.
“Then we put it up in the clinic and the clients really got on board and that was how we managed to raise $5330, matching their donations dollar for dollar.”
He said it was a challenge worth taking on and thanked the community for its support with donations and encouragement.
“It’s a tough run because there’s no downhill, you keep running up until you’re above the clouds,” he said.
“It was mentally challenging, particularly sitting in Hobart beforehand looking up at Mt Wellington thinking, ‘what the hell have I done?’ because it’s a long way up.”