Former sprinter James Hackney won the 100 metres at the state titles in 2008. Now he is campaigning against bullying.
Former sprinter James Hackney won the 100 metres at the state titles in 2008. Now he is campaigning against bullying. Michaela O'Neill/178197

James' walk sends a message to bullies

JAMES Hackney has walked the popular coastal path between the Alex and Mooloolaba surf clubs thousands of times.

The former sprinter has won state 100m titles and represented Australia in sprinting events in 2007 and 2008 in the T37 category - for athletes with a mild form of cerebral palsy.

Now his favourite route sees him interact with people from the community on a daily basis, but an injury he sustained as a two-year-old has given him a distinct shuffle that sometimes draws the attention of bullies - usually adults.

But James' cheery disposition and desire to overcome the negative impact bullies have on the community has led to the inaugural James' Walk of Determination event.

"This walk is about not letting your limitations get the better of you with people who like to bully or put you down," James said.

Alex Community Association president John Hutchinson said more than a hundred people have already signed on to participate in the event, which will kick off at the Alex Surf Club barbecues with registration at 7am on Sunday, August 7.

"I think it's a perfect display that shows how to combat that bullying attitude with kindness and an outpouring of the good in people," he said.

"There's a sense of support for James and this is also a big gentle note to people who have bullied and I think it's quite powerful."

The route will be James' usual between the surf clubs, with a barbecue breakfast available for all walkers, cooked by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, on their return.

James is asking for everyone to wear blue on the day.

For more information, visit http://www.alexandraheadland.qld.au/walk-of-determination/


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