When Harry Turley’s mother-in-law Deborah became a foster carer with MacKillop, he didn’t realise the impact it would have on him. Harry is a father of three young children, and Deborah was caring for children the same age as his own.
“Having kids of my own, it just hit close to home that a lot of these kids are the same age as my son. It was hard for me and my wife to see that,” Harry says. He wanted to help in some way so decided to raise money for the kids in foster care.
Harry is a keen runner, and set his eyes on both a physical challenge and a fundraising one. He signed up to the Coburg 24 Hour Track Race - a continual run around a 400m track that goes for 24 hours.
Although this will be Harry’s first 24-hour run, he’s no stranger to long-distance running. After completing a marathon last year, he was keen to push himself further.
“You can do a lot more than you think you can. My goal is just to find my limit then run through it.”
While some people might see the choice to run around a track for 24 hours as repetitive, Harry has a very different take on it. Running around a track means his family can be there to cheer him on, so Harry will be able to see them every 400m, rather than every few hours.
As well as seeing his family each time he completes a circuit, Harry is also motivated by his goal to support children in foster care.
“By fundraising, I just hope to provide those extra little things, whether it’s a day out or whatever helps those kids,” says Harry.
While foster care can be the best environment for a child who can’t live with their family, Harry says he wishes children didn’t require foster care in the first place.
My wish for those children is that they’re happy, comfortable and experience the least transitions possible so they have stability.
Harry’s determination to complete the 24-hour run also sends a message for young people in care.
“Don’t limit yourself to thinking you can’t do something. In any environment you can push through and achieve anything you want. When it comes to running, you might not have any talent, but you can just keep running.
“Some kids don’t have a good start to life, but they shouldn’t let that limit them to wanting to achieve something.” The Coburg 24Hour Track Race takes place on April 13-14.