No finish in sight for mate’s marathon effort

THERE are many reasons people go out for a run, but Balwyn’s Tim McDonald may have one of the best going around.

 McDonald will compete in the Medibank Melbourne Marathon on October 14 for the JMB Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for young people with acquired brain injuries. The money raised goes towards age-appropriate rehabilitation and care.

Running in the half-marathon event,  McDonald has been a part of the foundation since its inception five years ago after James Macready-Bryan, the son of a friend, was senselessly attacked in the city.

 Macready-Bryan’s head hit the ground during the attack and he was left in a vegetative state, confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk or see.

‘‘The issue with it is that if it had have happened in a car accident or at work he would’ve been covered by insurance,’’ McDonald says.

‘‘So we got together and formed the foundation, and one of the things with that was to raise some money for James and his family.

‘‘So I came up with the idea of putting in a team in the Melbourne Marathon.’’

That was 2007, with the JMB Foundation fielding a team of 400 runners in the marathon’s various events, raising about $100,000.

The JMB Foundation is now one of the official charities of the event, having consistently fielded the biggest team in the past five years, and raised more than $500,000 for the foundation.

‘‘He was a very popular boy, this James,’’ McDonald said.

‘‘We’ve had strong community support, and basically through word of mouth it just snowballed.

‘‘It was essentially just a bunch of guys who wanted to support their mate and his son, and raise the issue that this senseless violence affects so many people.’’

McDonald was an avid runner before the foundation started, and the  Melbourne Marathon has been a favourite event for the 56-year-old. 

‘‘I get out there [running] most days, along the Yarra at lunchtime,’’ McDonald says.

‘‘I’m not too bad for my age group ... I’ve done 79 minutes [for the half-marathon], which won it for my age group a few years ago.’’

The foundation will accept registrations right up until the event.

This year is the 35th anniversary of the Melbourne Marathon, which will finish with  a lap around the MCG.

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