After completing more than 40 endurance events and raising over $20,000 for cancer research in 2016, Gold Coast mates and fisiocrem-sponsored athletes Antony Sedman and Christopher Evans wanted to raise the bar yet again - and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The duo, who call themselves The Wounded Pelicans, have soared to greater heights over the past twelve months, completing 10 extreme endurance events to raise awareness and funding for several youth-based charities.
The project, known as The BIG 10, was about quality, not quantity. From completing a draining 24-hour track run to doing a challenging 100km war trail and finishing the gruelling Mount Everest Ultra Marathon, 2017 was about helping others; an altruistic movement to change the lives of those in need; one endurance event at a time.
For Ant and Tofe, their philanthropic ways and mind-boggling athletic ability weren’t always so.
“Like many people, the lifestyle we lead in our early twenties revolved around going out on the weekends and partying with mates.
“But eventually things had to change and that’s when we decided to turn things around and put all of our energy into something more meaningful”, says Tofe.
For these two ambitious Gold Coasters, that meant a focus on health, fitness and giving back.
“We started taking on endurance events as a way to test our mental and physical limits, but it quickly became something more than that. It’s about doing something extreme to raise awareness and funding for causes that are close to our heart”, says Tofe.
And so, it was after a year of endurance events and fundraising that The Wounded Pelicans decided to put pen to paper and design their very own 10-part project of challenges dedicated to various youth-based organisations.
“Supporting causes such as wheelchair-bound youth and mental health organisation, Headspace, was important to us because we want to teach the younger generation to always strive for greatness, to reach their full potential and to pay it forward”, explains Tofe.
Each event of The BIG 10 seemed crazier than the last, but there was always a cause in mind.
And when the events include the world’s highest ultramarathon, a 12-hour swim and an 80km stand-up paddleboarding challenge, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“At times, I would have to get up at 1am to fit those long runs in before I started work”, admits Ant.
“There were times when we were absolutely drained, physically and mentally, and every kilometre seemed longer than the last”, adds Tofe.
“Our bodies were aching all over, our minds were tired and we could barely keep our eyes open. But it’s times like that when I would remind myself why I was doing all this: not for myself but for the greater cause”, he says.
For Ant and Tofe, it was moments like those that taught them how to overcome adversities in their own lives and gave them better insight into their well-being.
“Running teaches us so much, not only about our physical strength but also our mental strength as well as emotional intelligence”, Tofe says.
“With each event that we have completed, we have become more and more in tune with our overall well-being and have been able to push ourselves to the limit”, Ant explains.
“That’s why when the opportunity came up to be supported by fisiocrem, it was a natural fit - sure, being a massage cream, they definitely helped in recovering our sores muscles, but in a wider sense, fisiocrem shares our goal of helping others to reach their greatest potential and give back to the community”, says Tofe.
Looking back at their achievements, Ant and Tofe hope to have created a wave throughout the community that inspires people to create change, no matter how small.
“We want to be recognised not only as prolific ultra endurance athletes, but as creators of an altruistic movement within the community, by challenging the mind and body with tasks that link to a cause greater than ourselves”, says Ant.
For The Wounded Pelicans, The BIG 10 was a huge step in pursuing this goal, but the formidable duo are determined to continue their efforts well into 2018.
The pair have signed up for a 345km run across Scotland in August, being the only Australians out of 200 people and 16 nations participating in the challenge. They also plan to complete the Ultra-Trail Australia 100km.