Running 100km for The Sanctuary: Women, Children and Pet's Refuge

By Bernice Lethlean


To most, running 100km in one go seems almost impossible, or at the very least, absolutely crazy. However, on the 18th and 19th of May 2019 I intend to do just that. The suffering that traversing 100km of beautiful trails in one go entails pales in comparison to the suffering of women, children and their pets as a result of domestic violence.

Around Australia, we are faced with a domestic violence epidemic. On average one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner and every 3 minutes someone in Australia calls police about domestic violence. 

In 2016, The Sanctuary Women Children and Pet's Refuge Retreat For Kids Inc was established as a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence. Situated in a secret location in the Gold Coast Hinterland, this is a retreat for victims of domestic violence with a difference. Not only do they take in women who have been injured through violence, but they also take in their children, and their pets. Women's relationships with their pets often bind them to dangerous relationships. This is because many  refuges do not take pets. The Sanctuary allows women to bring their pets and also surrounds them with other animals such as goats, pigs, ducks and chickens. As a form of therapy, they are encouraged to interact with these animals.

In May 2018, I completed my first and only 50km race, Ultra-Trail Australia in the Blue Mountains. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I have ever had. In September 2018, I registered to do it all again, but I wanted to do more, I wanted to tackle the 100km course this time.  Scared, I registered for the 50km event with the hopes of later transferring my entry if the training was going well. It didn't. I was unmotivated and searching for my 'why'. I knew I wanted to run 100km but I also knew that just wanting to do it for the sake of it wasn't going to be enough. That was until I came across The Sanctuary on an episode of The Funding Network. When I saw it, I knew that this would be the motivation I needed to get myself to the start and hopefully to the finish  of the Ultra-Trail Australia 100km race. 

The Sanctuary has been operating for less than 3 years and so far only 12% of funding has come from government sources. They rely almost entirely on grants and small fundraising events. The Sanctuary is struggling financially and needs urgent support. Currently, they turn away an average of 15 women per day and desperately need more funds to add additional rooms to house more women. This is an extremely important project and is a project that should be close to all of our hearts.

Domestic violence has no barriers, the emotional trauma has an impact on all victims regardless of who they are. I hope that by suffering my way through 100km I can make some sort of a difference to the lives of the women, children and animals that The Sanctuary provides such valuable support for. 

I am hoping to raise at least $5000 for this worthwhile cause. If I can attempt to run 100km, please make a donation by clicking the Give Now button. All funds raised go directly to Retreat for Kids Inc. No amount is too great or too small.

If you want to follow my journey to the start line in photos please go to:

To find out more about The Sanctuary please go to: 

To find out more about Ultra-Trail Australia or to track my run on the 18th and 19th of May please go to: 

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Great cause, best of luck, god bless, go go go Bernaiiiiiiise!!!!
James Murrey 2019-03-09 22:51:35
So proud of you Berns! You re an inspiration xxx
Alexia Mihalopoulos 2019-03-03 20:04:15
Love you B
Lauren Bleasdale 2019-02-22 11:13:09
Fantastic Bernice wouldn t expect anything less with regard to your passionate beliefs the touch of lunacy stupidity that would see you enter a 100k event! I will be there cheering for you.
Steven Lethlean 2019-02-22 10:50:22
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