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Community & Business

25 June, 2023

Mates v States record finale

After a bit of cabin fever during lockdown, and the desire to do something big for a good cause, Rory Cheal, alongside his best mates Max Cutrone, Jasper Gotterson, and Sean Stuart, devised a plan for ‘Mates v States’.

By Emily Middleton

Just last month Gilgandra held a fundraiser for Mates v States, with Rory’s grandmother Janet Cheal, leading the town in a musical marathon.

But after a lot of debate and research, the four friends landed on the idea to do 80 marathons in 80 days up the east coast of America, to raise money for the Cancer Council. As of earlier this month – they completed it with a day to spare.

“We started planning and training 14 months before the start of the challenge,” explained Mr Cheal.

“We paid for an online coach who gave us a weekly schedule every week to follow to get ready for the big run.”

“There were some doubts going into the run, we all had injuries in training and were worried they would flair up when we started but fortunately it was all good.”

The team stayed with local American families throughout the challenge. For Mr Cheal, this was one of the best parts of the whole experience.

“Out of the 80 days we stayed over 40 days with generous Americans who opened up their home to us. Getting to know all these people was my favourite part.”

But why was the team so determined?

Mr Cheal said that not only were they all so passionate about the cause after each of them having family members affected by cancer in one way or another, they wanted to prove to themselves and to others that they could do it.

“Before deciding to do the challenge, I had never even competed a marathon before. Additionally, not many people would donate to a cause that people ‘attempted’, we knew to raise the most money we needed to compete the challenge. Around half of all the money we raised was donated in the last few days of the challenge,” Mr Cheal explained.

After the 79 days, finishing a day early after completing a double marathon on the last day, Mr Cheal and the team were incredibly proud of their achievement. At the time of writing they had raised over $214,000.

“Words can’t describe the feeling of completing something of this magnitude. We put our time, energy, money and bodies on the line to even attempt the challenge. It’s an overwhelming sense of accomplishment but also feels like it’s left a bit of a hole because it was such a big part of my life for so long.”

Mr Cheal recalls his favourite moment to be on the way to the finish line.

“Looking around at my three best mates knowing how much we all put into it and knowing it was soon going to be all over was nothing like I’ve ever felt in my whole life.”

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