This is what pushing yourself looks like!

Luke Richardson knows how to think big and push himself. He’s about to take on a beast known as ‘Australia’s toughest trail race’. It’s a gruelling 175 km race on the NSW coast called the Great North Walk – and he’s going to run it in a dress!

On the 8 or 9 September, send some love and energy-boosting thoughts to Luke. He and a group of other super-fit ultra runners will be pushing their bodies and minds over some pretty wild terrain. According to the event’s registration page, “entrants will need to cope with precipitous ascents and descents, muddy trails and creek crossings, slippery rocks and roots, and hard-to-follow trails.” And what they fail to add is ‘ in the dark’. Because this race can take up to 36 hours!

Luke response? Bring it on!

“I love the challenge of these ultra distance events and seeing what my body is capable of. I also love the scenery that I get to run through that a lot of people don’t get to see.”

This is Luke’s third 100-plus km event and it’s 75km further than he’s ever run before! He decided that this would be the perfect challenge to inspire people to support his Do It In A Dress fundraising – and he was right.

He reached his first $1000 target so fast that he decided to double it – and now he’s smashing the new target too.

“It’s really blown me away how many people are donating, how much they are donating and some of the people that are donating that I would never have expected.

My biggest donation so far has been from a family friend I haven’t spoken to in around 15 years! From the trail running community I’ve received donations from a guy I’ve trained with a few times, two ladies I met for a total of five minutes last weekend and a guy I’ve never even met before. The response has just been incredible!”

“I know about One Girl’s mission and how effective they are as an organisation. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and providing long term positive change to whole communities. It’s also a fundamental human right and is one that so many girls are denied.”

Luke’s done a great job using his social channels and the Do It In A Dress promotional goodies he received when he signed up. He’s posted his fundraising page in a couple of trail running groups he’s part of and put up a poster at work to get his colleagues to donate!

“I’ve found that thanking people publicly on Facebook after they have donated has reminded our mutual friends to donate as well.”

We asked Luke if he has any tips for others who might be just beginning their fundraising journey:

“Don’t be afraid to ask – from my experience, people are a lot more generous than you think! Also, when thinking about your own challenge, think big and push yourself out of your comfort zone!”

So if this is your first Do It In A Dress, and you’re not quite sure how to start, channel your inner Luke. Put on your school dress, take a deep breath and step out the door. You might feel a bit self conscious at first, but as soon as you start talking to people you’ll be amazed at how quickly your confidence grows!!

Good luck Luke – you’re a total inspiration!