Kirrily Dear

We are delighted to this month interview Kirrily Dear as she “Runs against Violence” a total of 1,300kms from Broken Hill to Sydney. Kirrily is already running, so we interviewed her on the breaks that she was able to converse. As you would appreciate - these early days have been very hard going. Some questions were missed..... no apology needed Kirrily, we admire your work!

Kirrily opens up by stating her main goal with Run Against Violence is..... “to complete this run and in doing so start conversations. We wanted to show communities, small and large, that this is a shared conversation. Everyone, should participate...in fact, everyone needs to participate. We are very confident of the outcomes. With over 2,000 people running the Virtual Race, we know that at the barest minimum all of these people are talking about the issue. Every town where there is an article in the newspaper or a radio report; every carload of people who drive past and say, "What is that about?", is another moment that our goals are met”.

I've seen a bit of the background to your run, but how did you come up with the idea of running 1300km? And that specific route? “It is 1.7 million steps” Kirrily announces. “When we calculate the distance and my average steps per kilometre. That is a step for every child exposed to domestic and family violence in Australia in a year. Broken Hill to Sydney is vast. It means we travel through a huge range of communities. We want the message to be one shared by all communities and so taking a cross section across NSW shows that inclusion”.

How was your lead up in preparing for this mammoth feat, knowing you are going to run close to 80km every day for 2 and a half weeks? Kirrily replies confidently by telling us “My preparation and that of the other runners has been a consistent and persistent approach to building the endurance needed for such a physically demanding run. It has involved a careful nutrition regime not to mention also working on the organisation and logistics for such an event”.

Kirrily started running in 2008. “I have run in so many events, but the highlight so far would be the Walgett to Parkes Ultramarathon that started the journey that led to here” Kirrily smiles. “We were running to support The White Ribbon Cause and on that journey realised that we wanted to do more and run further. It was from here that Run Against Violence formed. The Coast to Kosci is a favourite. The Annual 245km single stage road race always a privilege to run. I am also an eight time starter and a six time finisher of The Great North Walk 100s. There are so many opportunities to run”.

What do you most love about running? What is the attraction? “Running is freedom and health. I needed to get off the couch nine years ago. Running is the way to keep every other aspect of my life in balance, it gives me strength; physical and mental strength. I loved cross country running as a kid, and it was the memory of that which got me off the lounge when I needed to find some balance”. 

Kirrily joined Run Down Under this year and from that membership our association with RAV was born. We had to ask Kirrily what she likes most about Run Down Under. “Motivation! I love getting to another 'town'! It is also a community that connects people. I find connectedness with other runners...even ones I have never met! Plus, of course we are amazed with the support of this community for Run Against Violence. I usually train on my own... sometimes with mates......but usually on my own. But with RDU I know that there are other runners out there. I get up early! Sometimes very early. It is an important part of my life so I fit it in. It is a priority so I make it a priority”.

So what has been your favourite Run Down Under moment Kirrily? “Knowing that RDU is supporting RAV” she smiles. “Seeing the posts from all of the people, from so many places and with so many backgrounds coming together to start conversations. I said before that I loved the community of RDU; well I feel like my community is running with me. Some days out here it is really tough and really isolated but I know with every step that there are others running with me. I know our community is with me on this one”.

With that last comment in mind & knowing how tough it gets, where do you draw inspiration from? “On a run like RAV it comes from the people who don't have voices. We are running to encourage a much needed conversation - knowing that we are the catalyst for these conversations is a huge motivation”. I then ask Do you have any role models you look up to? Kirrily answers with confidence, “I believe that everyone's role model has to be the self. Be your own hero. We need to define what that heroism is in ourselves and then, be that. And my running motto.......Arrive Awesome!”

Kirrily finishes by telling us “The conversation about Domestic Violence and the violence that exists in the homes and relationships within our community needs discussion. People need to break the silence. Conversation needs an impetus. It needs something to start it; especially when it is a tough conversation. RAV and †he participation of so many people enables conversations to start.  Once that initial barrier is broken then our communities can search below the surface and find strategies and structures to respond to the conversation. I am motivated by the knowledge that we are reaching new and different people each day. I believe that every step I take is a message that someone cares enough to make a stand and that in getting up each day and keeping going when it hurts and when I am tired and probably cranky, is saying to people to look past the reasons why not and find reasons to do what needs to be done.

And to finish...... What are you looking forward to the most at the end of this journey? “Other than seeing the ocean at the end, I am looking forward to the people. Meeting them, seeing their faces knowing that they have their stories to tell”.