Another run on water

This time from Devonport to Sydney 

A lot of support from the crew



Arriving in Sydney

50 hours running on water for Camp Quality.


“Laughter is the best medicine!” That’s the motto of Camp Quality, a wonderful organization full of people devoted to giving children and their families living with cancer something to cheer about.

It was easy for Bobby Weeding and me to dedicate our next fund raising effort to this worthy cause. Our previous charity run was on a treadmill placed on the “Spirit of Tasmania 2” from Devonport to Melbourne and back – 10 hours of non-stop running each way. It was so successful that we decided to repeat it, this time on the “Spirit 3” from Devonport to Sydney. This was going to be a much bigger challenge for me – 22 hours of non-stop running each way. I had plenty of confidence that I can do it – this was not going to be my longest run. The only concern I had was about the fact that the sea gets often very rough. It does not take much for me to get sea sick. Equipped with plenty of tablets which proved to be very helpful previously during my “Three Peaks Race” when I survived very rough seas in a small yacht, I was hopeful that everything would be OK.

The main ingredient for a success was good cooperation between the management of “Spirit” and “Camp Quality” officials both in Tasmania and Sydney. We were lucky that we received all the support we needed from  Camp Quality with Peter Croswell in Tasmania and Aimee Mason in Sydney taking care of all the details required in organizing such event while Caroline de Guingand from the “Spirit” made sure that we would be looked after well during the voyage. One week before the journey Caroline started her maternity leave (she has a little girl) and handed us over to Christina Koullas who proved to be just as helpful as Caroline was.

On the 10th of September 2005 at 1 pm our journey began. Everything was so well organized and the crew on the ship was so helpful that the whole event was nothing but a great joy. The passengers were very interested in what we were doing, many kept asking questions about Camp Quality and some wanted to know what they need to do to get involved in this great cause. Bobby was busy chatting with them and selling  CQ caps and mugs. The time was flying and before we knew it was dark. There was a storm brewing around us, I do not think I have ever seen so much lightening and thundering before. It was also pouring heavily and I was bracing myself for a rough sea. Strangely enough, in spite of the storm, the sea remained calm. When the daylight came, we could see the shore of the mainland, people started moving around and we could start counting hours to the finishing line in Sydney. As we discovered, the ship was running on three engines only which resulted in sailing time 24 instead of 22 hours. Not a big problem.

After arrival in Sydney we were met by Sarah Earnell, Sales executive of the “Spirit” for NSW and Qld. She just wanted to know that everything was under control. It was very much appreciated.

Bobby’s family arrived to pick us up to take care of us for the two days we were staying in Sydney. They too contributed a lot to making our fundraising effort absolute pleasure.

The next day we met with Aimee in the St.Ives shopping centre. After a lot hard work and many let downs by other people Aimee finely secured a treadmill to enable us to do some more running, promoting CQ and collecting donations.

In 4 ½ hours we collected almost $1000.

Due to the delays caused by the loss of one engine, our departure from Sydney the next day was postponed from 4 pm to 9 pm. I always try to see something positive in whatever happens so I took it as an opportunity to have a longer rest between the journeys. The negative was that soon after departure almost all the passengers went to sleep. I sent Bobby to have a rest too so next 4 hours I was on my own. I could have sat down and do nothing as nobody was watching but I did not. How could I say afterwards that I was running all the way – that would be a lie. What I did was to do a bit of walking/jogging around the area but sea got this time “moderate” as described by the Captain and it was enough to make me start feeling a bit sea sick. Thanks to a couple of tablets and getting back on the treadmill I managed to survive - to my great relief. In the morning the sea got calm again and I had no more problems. It was a very long day. We were out in the open sea with nothing to see but water. Fortunately meeting so many nice people  helped to get through the day and at 9 pm we were docking in Devonport. I had very mixed feelings – happy to be home but very sad that it was all over. I am so grateful to so many people, especially Bobby for helping me during my crazy adventures and my wife for putting up with it.

Altogether we collected over $7,200. That will help to put  smiles on a lot of  faces of sick children.

I am very lucky that I still can do this sort of things and to make some contribution to making sick children happy.  I have six healthy grandchildren and it makes me realize how lucky we are. That it why it is such a pleasure for me to help those who are not so lucky.


Vlastik Skvaril