A long weekend at Noosa, Qld, conjures up thoughts of rest and recreation for most people, but for Moama farmer Luke Barlow, it was a physical test of epic proportions.
From Saturday, May 7 through to Monday, May 9, Mr Barlow tackled one of the biggest physical challenges when he competed in Ultraman Australia in Noosa - a three-day ultra-triathlon spanning 515 kilometres and raising funds for Dolly's Dream to take a stand against childhood bullying and cyberbullying. He placed 15th in the event.
The three days of the event included on day one: a 10 km swim and a 140km bike leg; day two, was a second 281.1km bike leg and to finish the three-day supreme effort, a leisurely 84.3km run.
Luke said he developed a passion for fitness late in life, inspired by his wife, Kate, and their two teenage boys, who were already hooked on competing in fitness races. And he uses the incentive of fundraising for Dolly's Dream to keep swimming, cycling and running until his race is complete.
Dolly's Dream was founded in memory of Dolly Everett, who took her own life at the age of 14 following an extensive period of bullying and cyberbullying.
"As a father of two teenage boys myself, I feel it's essential for them to have strong role models and be allowed access to safe and supportive education.
"The end of bullying would lead to a stronger community for everyone. It's not just in schools. It's in universities, places of employment and our homes as well. The message 'be kind' speaks to all of us and would assist in a safe and supportive environment for everyone to enjoy life.
"Through each race, I hope to raise funds for the organisation, raise awareness, and get their organisation's message across. With my boys now being teenagers, Dolly's Dream tugged at my heartstrings."
This isn't the first fundraiser Luke has participated in. Last year, he braved the 11 degree Celsius, chilly waters of the Murray for a swim to raise money for the fight against Motor Neurone Disease. Luke ended up with a team of 21 brave swimmers and raised $1,500.
"When I realised my voice's potential within the community, I thought of Dolly's Dream. We all remember seeing it on the news when it happened, and I especially felt a connection being a farmer in a rural town just like Kate and Tick, Dolly's parents. I knew I wanted to do something for Dolly next," Luke said.
"I never expect to win my races, but I want my boys to know that they don't have to be the best at everything, and it's ok not to win.
To find out more, visit https://Dolly'sdream.org.au/do-it-for-dolly-day/