In June, three Harcourts CEOs, along with 60 other riders from around the country, tackled the challenging Smiling for Smiddy cycling event, riding 1700 kilometres through the dusty red centre of Australia, all in the name of cancer research.
Brendan Whipps, (CEO, Harcourts Queensland), Mark Morrison (CEO, Harcourts New South Wales), and Andrew Friebe (CEO, Harcourts, South Australia) participated in the inaugural eight-day Adelaide to Uluru Smiddy Challenge, which saw the peloton ride from the sparkling blue ocean edge at Glenelg in South Australia, through the desert to finally experience the wonder of Uluru.
Smiling for Smiddy is an annual program of cycling and triathlon challenge events, raising funds to support world-class research projects at the Mater Foundation, including melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers, as well as complementary therapies to improve quality of life for cancer patients. The charity was founded by Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy in honour of keen triathlete Adam Smiddy who passed away from an aggressive melanoma 10 years ago at age 26.
Brendan Whipps said hadn’t considered himself a cyclist prior to signing up for the ride. “I was introduced to Sharky at a black tie function by someone who had undertaken a previous Smiling for Smiddy ride,” Mr Whipps said.
“Prior to signing up the most I had ridden at one time was about 70 kilometres. I began training after Christmas 2015 and was cycling up to 350 kilometres each week in the lead up to the event.”
With each rider having to raise a minimum of $5000, the sixty strong team raised nearly $420,000, with the Harcourts team’s contribution over $67,000. Since inception in 2006, Smiling for Smiddy has raised over $6 million for the Mater Foundation.
Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy said it was his long-held dream to ride on every main road in Australia and raise much needed funds for cancer research.
“I’ve ridden around Australia and I always wanted to ride through the centre so I’m very excited that I, and other passionate cyclists, were able to complete this challenge.
“It was an epic ride, with all of us riding eight hours a day and sleeping under the stars along the way, supported by 20 crew members.”
Mater Foundation Chief Executive Officer Nigel Harris said the money raised by Smiling for Smiddy events helped thousands of Australians who had been touched by cancer. “Thanks to vital funds raised by Smiling for Smiddy, scientists at Mater Research are one step closer to developing new therapies to help fight the disease,” Mr Harris said.
Other keen riders who missed out on this adventure will have the opportunity to complete the second half of the ride next year from Alice Springs to Darwin. To express interest in next year’s challenge, visit www.smiddy.org.au.