Brooklyn Northern United’s Men’s 1st team coaching duo Dene and Annie Bannister are going to extreme measures in an effort to raise money for the clubs' competitive men's and women's teams. The husband and wife team are preparing for what is being dubbed a “BNU-athon”, with the couple running a combined 101kms (celebrating the club’s 101st season) on 18 March to tie in with the club's annual Club Day.
The couple have calculated they'll need to run a total of 202 laps of the perimeter of the club’s home ground, Wakefield Park, kicking off at 7am on the day. With one runner on the course at all times, they expect to complete the distance within 12 hours.
Dene says that amateur sports clubs face a constant challenge raising funds and that he and Annie are prepared to ”put their money where their mouth is” to raise $12,000 - $16,000 to pay for the subscription fees of the men’s and women’s competitive teams at this proud club.
“Every season our small but dedicated committee works around the clock trying to raise enough funds to support the needs of the competitive teams. It’s not easy on them, each year they put up with me arriving cap in hand, asking for gear, kit, training grounds and they do all they can to meet those needs. We thought it was time for us to show our commitment to the players and repay the faith to the committee," says Dene.
“Neither of us have contemplated anything like this before but we aren’t afraid of a bit of hard work. Who knows, we may fail spectacularly, but we can’t keep expecting the club to put in the man hours they are putting in, trying to keep the club afloat. We need to try something different if we expect a different outcome.”
What's even more fantastic is that Dene and Annie are not just focused on their own team.
“It’s a show of support to all competitive players at the club. We see so many capable players drop off the scene due to affordability issues. Amateur sport needs to be accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford the privilege. This is as much about supporting the sporting community as anything else.”
A Givealittle page has been set up for people to show support of the event as the couple in attempt to complete this mammoth ultra-running challenge. There will be a range of donation options available, including donation buckets circulating the grounds during the Club Day event.
Annie says, "There are no guarantees we will raise the $12,000 - $16,000 we are aiming for, even if we go the distance. We need the assistance of our members, supporters, local businesses and the general public to help us out by spreading the word via social media and word of mouth. Without the required support we are just a couple of crazy people running around for 12 hours.”
While Dene and Annie are both nervous about the big event, the love for their club and determination to provide the players with the best possible football experience outweighs any reservations they may have. Let's get out there to support them on 18 March.