Running in dad’s memory

Joshua Newland (Supplied) 280652_01

Ash Bolt

The memory of his father will be firmly top of mind for Joshua Newland when he runs his first marathon on Sunday.

Joshua will be one of thousands heading to Lorne this weekend to take part in the Great Ocean Road Running Festival.

He’ll be running in memory of his father Neville, who passed away from non-Hodgkin lymphoma at just 46 years old.

“It’s been personal goal of mine to run a marathon in dad’s memory,” Josh said.

“He passed away at just 46 – I was 19 at the time – and it was really tough.

“We used to surf a lot together, but he was also a runner and did a couple marathons in his time.

“I’m not a runner at all but I wanted to push myself to do something completely new.

“I’m 36 now and so dad’s been gone for 17 years, sometimes over time memories start fading, so I wanted to do this for him to show I’m still thinking of him.”

Joshua said he was also hoping to use the marathon as an opportunity to raise some much-needed funds for the Cancer Council.

“I thought it was a good chance to do a fundraiser to try and get rid of cancer,” he said.

“Dad had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and he fought hard through his battle.

“He got it when I was 16 but it went into remission and we thought it was all good.

“But then it came back and unfortunately it got him eight months later.

“It was a really tough time for everyone in my family. I think my younger sister and I were both still pretty young and found it hard to understand what was going on.

“If we can raise money for more research to prevent cancer in the future and stop anyone else from having to go through that, I think that would be amazing.”

Joshua had set himself a goal of $1500 for his ‘Run 4 Nev’, but had already raised almost $2500.

“It’s been amazing so far, I’ve had a lot of great support from my friends and family,” he said.

Joshua said he was looking forward to hitting the Great Ocean Road this weekend.

“I’m feeling really good and ready to go,” he said.

“I starting training about two and a half months ago … [and] I’ve done a few half marathons in that time.

“It was tough at the start – I did my first one coming off a night shift as a paramedic, but they’re starting to get easier so I’m looking forward to it.”

The Great Ocean Road Running Festival will be held on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, with runners following the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Apollo Bay.

Saturday’s schedule will include the 14 kilometre Paradise run, the 6km run and the 1.5km Kids’ Gallop, before the 60km ultra marathon, 44km marathon, 13km and 6.5km trail runs and the 10km and 5km walks on Sunday.

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism general manager Liz Price said the local community was looking forward to the tourism boost the popular running event will provide.

“Each year the Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival provides a significant boost to the local economy and is a key driver of Great Ocean Road visitation during the autumn season. We look forward to welcoming people from near and far to enjoy the best of what the south-west coast has to offer,” she said.

Donations to Run 4 Nev can be made at