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’.
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
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
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
“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.”