170km beach walk starts with a single step
JULIAN Day is no stranger to daunting tasks.
Yesterday, the 59-year-old Sydneysider began a 170km trek along the coastline from Noosa to Bundaberg that will take him five days.
While the challenge will be gruelling, it's a conquest that might seem minor in comparison to his experiences in childhood.
"I had cancer three times as a child," Mr Day said.
"The idea here is I'm putting back in to life. Everybody can do things that they don't think they can. It's a question of putting your mind to it.
"I've always been an active walker, an adventurer, a leader, I've always been actively out there. And I just loved the coast, so I wanted to do it all together."
Mr Day, known as the Beach Walker, has completed a number of similar long walks since 1994, sticking to the coastline as much as possible.
He's walked the entire New South Wales coast, and now plans to walk as far as Townsville in Queensland, then down to Victoria and South Australia.
While he usually walks alone, this time he'll be flanked by podiatrist Dr Bronwyn Cooper and Preetie Shehkkar.
"I do one (a walk) every nine to 12 months," Mr Day said.
"When I first did my walk from Sydney to Wooloongong, I didn't have any plans at that stage to do the other walks I've done. It just became that.
"I've walked the whole coast of New South Wales, more than 2000km all together.
"I've just finished one just north of Brisbane in to Noosa, and now this is the Noosa to Bundaberg one.
"I'm hoping to go as far as Townsville, then after that it's not safe to walk along the beach because of crocodiles.
"I would say to anybody to try something different and see where it takes you."
Being an active member of his local Rotary, Mr Day was put in touch with a Hervey Bay Rotary Club who nominated a community group to benefit from his fundraising.
"The further you go out of the metropolitan areas, you want to support the local charities," Mr Day said.
"They nominated the Hervey Bay neighbourhood centre, and it's a youth mentoring program."
Mr Day will also be promoting the Waterline Challenge during his trek, an adventure challenge fundraiser he developed eight years ago.
Teams register to collectively accumulate more than 52,000km - approximately Australia's coastline length - in outdoor activities to raise money for selected charities.
"While I was doing all these walks I thought, why don't I get anyone else to do this?" Mr Day said.
"You can choose how you do it, you can walk, run, cycle, canoe, horse ride, as long as it's not motorised.
"You put the team together, and you support one of the charities we list on the website."
Visit waterlinechallenge.org, and if you see the team walking from Rainbow Beach today, give them a wave and make a donation.