Sydney runners Greg and Matthew Donovan, who raced into the record books with their 150 km run across Antarctica, have been recognised as Australia Day Ambassadors by the Australia Day Council of NSW.
The record-breaking father and son will join a host of exceptional Australians at celebrations around the state on 26 January, sharing the story of their ultramarathon mission to raise money for type 1 diabetes research.
Greg Donovan will be a guest of honour at Australia Day celebrations in Harden Shire Council in the South West Slopes of NSW, while son Matthew will take part in festivities in neighbouring Weddin Shire Council.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be named as Ambassadors alongside some truly amazing Australians and Matt and I can’t wait to meet and share our story with different communities as they celebrate Australia Day,” said Greg.
Greg and Matthew were part of a team of five Australian runners who braved sub zero temperatures, knee-deep snow and 80 km/h winds in Antarctica to become the first team in history to complete the 4 Deserts, the world’s leading endurance footrace series.
The team crossed the finish line on 29 November after running nearly 150 km across the Antarctic wilderness over seven days, becoming the first team in the world to achieve the 4 Deserts ‘Grand Slam’, having already completed ultramarathons in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China and the Sahara Desert in Egypt.
Known as Born To Run, the extraordinary mission was started by Greg to raise funds for type 1 diabetes research after his own son, Stephen, was diagnosed with the potentially fatal type 1 juvenile diabetes at age 14.
“From the sand of the Sahara to the ice of Antarctica, it was an incredibly gruelling journey, but in every step we lived our motto of fitness for fighting diabetes,” said Greg.
Greg and Matthew will next tackle Australia’s own Simpson Desert, having pledged to race across five deserts on five continents.
The pair has launched a major new charity running event, the Big Red Run, to be in held in the Simpson Desert from 8-13 July, with all money raised going towards helping the more than 130,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes.
The Australia Day Ambassador Program sees high achieving Australians, including sports heroes, celebrities, writers, artists, business people, environmentalists, scientists, and community workers, take part in celebrations across NSW from Auburn and Albury to Burwood and Broken Hill to Wyong, Yass and Young.