Sunday, 22 August 2021
Dee Why Beach to Newport Beach

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Jenny Wickham

Multiple past Beach2Beach winner Jenny Wickham, has been appointed as the final Ambassador for the 2019 Beach2Beach Charity Fun Run & Festival.

Jenny has run distances in competition ranging from 3,000 metres to full marathons, a three-time winner of the NSW Half Marathon and was crowned Australian Marathon Champion in 2004. In 2008 she ran her Personal Best time for the marathon of 2 hours, 48 minutes and 22 seconds. In 2012, at 37 years of age, Jenny claimed the prestigious Athletics NSW Female Distance Runner of the Year award. She had to win the last race of the season – the NSW Marathon – to win the title and duly delivered. (The lady can run!)

This year Jenny will be competing in her “14th or 15th“ Beach2Beach – (it’s hard to keep track when you’ve done so many). She’s already won the main event, “8 or 9 of the times I’ve run”. Most recently, Jenny has won the 13km Dee Why to Newport event in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2017. In 2019 at age 44, she’s out to regain her title.

“I love the Beach2Beach”, says Jenny. “I’ve run a lot of events both here and overseas, but nothing has the community feel of the Beach2Beach. And yet with the beach start and hills it’s still a very challenging course. I also love the way it raises so much money for many worthy charities while teaching young runners like my kids the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and being part of their local community.”

Jenny will add to her long list of Beach2Beach appearances this year, with her two eldest children (daughters aged 19 and 17) likely to join her in the 13km event. Her two younger children (14 and 9) will probably run the 6km event with their dad, so the 25th of August will be very much a case of ‘the family that runs together, has fun together’ for these guys.

Ben Said (and Jonty the Guide Dog)

Ben Said is our 2019 Ambassador for the new Para category, introduced for the first time this year. Ben was born with a genetic condition called NF1. It caused brain tumours that pressed on his optic nerves, which in his own words are “pretty much dead now”. Ben stopped using his cane at 13… “I thought I had enough sight to get along and if I fell, I fell. I didn’t want to drag a pole around everywhere”. But last June, the rapid sight loss started and with that, he completely lost his independence.

With the support of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, Ben was provided with a Guide Dog called Jonty. “He’s helped me to regain my independence and he’s someone on those dark days who I can go and hug. He’s my best friend.”

Ben is an excellent athlete and had started training for the Tokyo Paralympic 5,000 metres in 2016. But with his sight loss, he could not enter that event. So after running in the 2018 Melbourne Marathon Festival, Ben began training in an attempt to make the 2020 Paralympic Marathon instead. Unfortunately, after a serious training accident, Ben has been advised by doctors not to run again. Undaunted, he’s now switched his primary sport to Cycling and is now set to trial for the national team. “It’s going to be tough, but I just know I can achieve my dreams” says Ben. This amazing young man is an inspiration to everyone. We wish Ben well in his latest endeavors.

Steve Menzies

Local sporting legend, Steve ‘Beaver’ Menzies, has again accepted an invitation to remain a Beach2Beach Ambassador in 2019. Steve joins newly appointed Ben Said and long-time Ambassador, former World Ironman Champ., Guy Leech.

Steve is of course one of the greatest players ever to wear the maroon and white of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. The 180 tries he scored for Manly remains the third highest total ever in the history of Australian first grade rugby league… and of course, it must be remembered that Steve played the bulk of his career in the forwards!

In total, Steve played 510 first grade, State of Origin and Test Matches, scoring an incredible 251 tries. When invited to be part of Beach2Beach he said: “I always wanted to run in this great event, but it was always held ‘in season’ when I played for Manly… and then I went overseas to finish my career. Now I’m back and am thrilled to again be an ambassador for the largest annual community event held on the northern beaches. And this year I’m running! (After all I have to beat Cliffy’s effort last year when he ran the 3km pushing his grandson in a pram!)” Join the Sea Eagles Team and run with Beaver or Cliffy to raise funds for the Avalon Youth Hub.

Guy Leech

Guy Leech is a former Australian Ironman surf lifesaving champion who also won the World Ironman Championships as well as the World Ocean Paddling Championship in Hawaii. He won seven Uncle Toby’s Super Series races and twice won The Coolangatta Gold and then the Uncle Toby’s version of that famous event, titled the ‘Gold Coast Gold’, after the sport had become professional.

During his entire career, Guy remained undefeated over surf’s toughest event. He was once dubbed Australia’s Fittest Athlete by the Australian Institute of Sport. He has been a valued Ambassador of the Beach2Beach for almost a decade.