Bushfire mates’ aid taken in their stride

Walking through Takaro Park in Oamaru after earlier leaving Enfield for Oamaru Harbour as part of...
Walking through Takaro Park in Oamaru after earlier leaving Enfield for Oamaru Harbour as part of a community event to raise money for the Australian bushfire relief effort on Saturday are (from left) Blair Brosnan, Neville Monahan, Caitlyn Kilner (Wakari Volunteer Rural Fire Force), Kieran Hunt, Nick Hyslop, AJ Burton, Joel Fogarty and Brett Kitto, of the Waitaki Volunteer Rural Fire Force. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
If anyone can understand what firefighters in Australia are going through, it is their peers on this side of the Ditch.

To support those fighting bushfires and people who have been impacted by the disaster, several members of the Waitaki Volunteer Rural Fire Force - and one from the Wakari Volunteer Rural Fire Force in Dunedin and all wearing their fire suits -took part in a community run on a section of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail on Saturday to raise money for relief and recovery efforts.

It was organised by Oamaru multisport athlete Alice Perry.

The run was one of many staged around the world as part of the global "Relief Run".

Waitaki Volunteer Rural Fire Force crew leader Blair Brosnan said his group started their 10km walk at the Fort Enfield pub inland from Oamaru, before finishing at Oamaru Harbour about two hours and 45 minutes later.

He said watching the bushfires raging was tough for everyone.

"It’s pretty amazing. It’s a totally different kettle of fish to what we have to deal with for sure. We feel for the guys. They are leaving their families and work to fight these fires, so we know how they are feeling. They just want to help. It’s the whole reason we all joined, to give back to the community."

Like plenty of other good plans, the idea to do the run was hatched at an Oamaru pub and later confirmed by the fire force’s members.

Mr Brosnan said the walk had been tough in some parts because of the warm weather, but was "not worse than what we have to deal with when we are out fighting fires".

Miss Perry said the event, which allowed participants to complete a half-marathon, 5km run or walk, or an unofficial 10km course, was a success.

She said $1500 was raised through registrations, with more dropped in to donation buckets that was yet to be counted.

All proceeds will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

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