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 is likely to involve 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 will call 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 refuse to 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: 

Share this campaign


Good on you Bernice! Amazing effort.
Daniela Jovanovic 2019-05-23 14:41:00
Such an incredible thing to do for such a crucial support for women and children. Campaigning alone already makes you a winner. You ve got this, lovely!
Louisa Ball 2019-05-20 09:19:29
Well done Bernie. An amazing effort for an outstanding cause. The world is a much better place with a Bernie Lethlean in it.
Ross and Angie Wilcock 2019-05-19 13:19:55
So proud of you my friend!
Kylie Fowler 2019-05-19 05:42:03
greg johnson 2019-05-18 10:29:08
Good luck Bernice, such an inspiration, go smash it x
Kelly Bruen 2019-05-18 06:32:08
Bernice everyone who knows you are so proud of you for doing this massive run for such a wonderful cause
Ann Maguire 2019-05-17 22:13:06
Such a wonderful initiative Good luck
Rishitha Ramu 2019-05-17 19:22:33
Such a worthwhile cause.
Marcelle Mcgrath 2019-05-17 16:54:12
Anonymous 2019-05-17 14:56:16
Kate and Michael Good luck B
Michael Mazboudi 2019-05-17 11:51:08
Best of luck, from Laura s housemate
Tanya Wylie 2019-05-17 10:50:05
Yew! Go Bernie!
Kenneth Kurien 2019-05-17 10:06:41
Sarah Duffy 2019-05-17 09:57:40
A vital issue to support and a simply amazing challenge being undertaken here. Thank you and good luck
Sarah & Kean Bayneslow 2019-05-17 09:46:41
Go Berns you are an inspiration!!! Xx
Anji Sivakumar 2019-05-17 09:45:43
maryann noureddine 2019-05-17 09:27:00
I am beyond amazed at this. You re incredible! Love G x
Grace Thomas 2019-05-17 09:16:51
Laura Maguire 2019-05-17 09:16:50
A small tithe towards this noble cause. Enjoy the lovely scenery up in the high places of Katoomba!
Vincent Coles 2019-05-17 08:29:44
Very proud of you Bee. You re exceptional for taking this on and doing it for a truly wonderful cause. You ve done the hard part now you ve got the easy part run it
Martin Maguire 2019-05-17 07:59:44
Good luck Bernie!
Serina Sperling 2019-05-17 05:48:25
Good luck!! I m sure you will nail it
Belinda Dorrell 2019-05-16 21:03:59
Crush it Bernie!!
Jessica Lighton 2019-05-16 19:22:29
So happy to support this cause! Run your own race on Saturday and enjoy it!
Jessica Morath 2019-05-16 12:34:14
Go Bernice!!! You are my inspo
Rose Jenkins 2019-05-16 10:31:07
Proud of you Bern! The 100k club awaits you.
Stuart Kovacs 2019-05-16 09:35:04
Good luck Bernice! I hope you kill it much respect 100km is so far!!!
Lycia Hayes 2019-05-15 20:40:20
Joseph Johnson 2019-05-15 15:55:37
What a lovely part of the world to run, walk or crawl in, good luck.
Janiece Formica 2019-05-15 12:14:40
You are a force to be reckoned with, girl. Go get em.
Alexandra Finch 2019-05-15 11:20:18
Good luck!
Connor Mulholland 2019-05-14 17:48:05
Best of luck Bernie! you are such an inspiration!
Natalie Coulton 2019-05-14 13:59:55
An absolutely incredible achievement so in awe of you! wonderful cause too. The best of luck to you 3
Liv Fairfield 2019-05-14 12:36:45
Go Bernice! Great cause!
Nicole Flax 2019-05-14 09:30:09
Go B3
Brad Vann 2019-05-14 09:08:43
Good luck superstar! I m in awe enjoy your journey! I ll have a real margarita waiting for you on the other side xx it always seems impossible until it s done Mandela...
Tess Fernan 2019-05-14 08:29:03
Go Bern!! And for such an incredible organisation too
Gina Yeung 2019-05-13 21:31:08
You got this Berns
Annie Parkin 2019-05-13 20:22:00
Good luck Bernice! Great cause. x
Georgina Murray 2019-05-13 19:23:54
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