“It was Father’s Day so I had to let him win” – superstar fundraiser Ruby on last year’s fun run
Last year Ruby Wright, 16, and her dad Bruce took on the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run together.
While Ruby’s dad is a keen marathon runner (in fact Ruby describes him as an ironman), the event was Ruby’s first fun run.
It gave the pair a way to spend Father’s Day together, doing something they would be able to remember forever as a team.
Ruby, 16, became a bit of a legend at the YMCA, not just because of her fundraising efforts (she was the top fundraiser last year), but because of her humorous and insightful blog, detailing her journey up to the day.
“My dad was the one who told me about the fun run,” said Ruby.
“He’s really into running and always looking for something for us to do together. We’d been running together and decided that we wanted to do a fun run or something and so the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run was an ideal fit. I’ve got this unique relationship with running; it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, but I have a very active mind so I can find it difficult to stay focused. But my dad would sing songs and play around and make jokes so he was great at helping me stay focused and motivated to get up in the morning!”
While many families on the day chose to walk around the Tan, Ruby knew she wanted to run the whole way.
As well as completing 5km practise runs in the lead up to the event, she managed to beat her personal best on the day, something she couldn’t believe.
She added: “Dad ran with me the whole way and at my pace and when I got distracted he started running circles around me to distract me, he’s always showing off!
“So at the end I decided to race him, but I didn’t tell him, I just ran off and he still managed to beat me.
“But it was Father’s Day so I had to let him win.”
But one surprise for Ruby on the day was the recognition when she arrived at the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run.
Dad Bruce said she was ‘greeted like an old friend’ at the Thank You tent – where the YMCA thanks all of those who have fundraised for the event.
“We got up bright and early and there was a lot of cool stuff at the fun run,” she said.
“When we got there, all these people were coming up to me and talking to me from the YMCA and they were saying they knew me because of my blog.
“I love writing and entertaining people so it was a good feeling.
Bruce says he was amazed by his daughter’s staying power as they often had to train very early in the morning in the rain and cold but that she was really inspired by the event and the cause behind it.
The YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run is raising funds to build resilience in disadvantaged young people through YMCA Camps and Schools programs.
It’s a cause close to Ruby’s heart, as she too deals with mental health issues.
“I have mental health issues and while I’m quite open about it now, when I was younger this wasn’t the case,” the 16 year old said.
“I didn’t understand mental illness and I thought it was just a normal sickness and no one ever really speaks about it.
“I always had this obsession when I was younger of wanting to donate everything I could to help other people. The best thing you can do is to help other people and give them happiness.”
So Ruby sent emails to all of her family and friends encouraging them to donate, with the help of her ‘enthusiastic’ dad to rally the troops.
Ruby added: “It’s such a good day and when I think of my highlights from the day my mind just goes straight to the finish line and my dad telling me how proud he was of me.
“I didn’t stop the entire way. The people around us were cheering us on and you really felt part of a community and something special and that you were doing it for more than just yourself.
“After the run we had lunch with the rest of my family and I really felt like I had earned the burger I was eating, it was really great.
“So if anyone is struggling, take my advice and do it for the burger!”