46 days ago, in the quiet stillness of dawn, Nedd Brockmann departed Cottesloe beach in Perth to muted applause. While word had already spread of his daring endeavour by that point, he had yet to amass the legion of fans that would be tuning in daily to hear of his running ventures. But over the course of those days, as Brockmann made the 3,952 kilometre journey from Perth to Bondi Beach, he ceased to be seen as a runner and became something more: an inspirational hero for many, a man not blessed with athletic excellence but rather a mindset that proved unshakeable in the face of adversity and physical suffering.
Not surprisingly, Brockmann’s run inspired countless around the world. It was all prefaced with the desire to raise $1 million for the charity We Are Mobilise, who do outreach programs on the street and provide the homeless with food and hygiene packs. It’s this that fuelled Brockmann each day, knowing his why was a worthy one.
Though he didn’t get the record he had originally hoped for, after 46 days averaging 80km and sustaining numerous injuries that would have seen anyone else call it quits on the endeavour, Brockmann ran to the finish at Bondi Beach where the promenade was decorated with thousands who had come out in support of him. In that time, not only had he crossed Australia, but he’d also raised more than $1.5 million for homelessness.
At the finish line, Brockmann addressed those who stood cheering: “I’m absolutely blown away. It has taken a lot to get here and I don’t think I can explain the depths I’ve had to go. To have all this support is absolutely mind-blowing. I am speechless. Thank you guys. Amazing.”
Many are now calling for Brockmann to be crowned ‘Australian of the Year’, as his run continues to be praised by Aussies and international figures alike. Though it’s hard for anyone to comprehend the struggle Brockmann has endured, both physically and emotionally, he’s run for approximately 10 hours each day, starting often before 5am. Along the way, Brockmann has had the support of an incredible crew in the form of his parents, Kylie and Ian Brockmann, girlfriend Jemma Griffin, friend and photographer Bradley Farley, and his Physio.
Speaking to The Sun-Herald, Kylie said: “He needs to get off his feet pretty quickly, because they’re pretty mashed by that point. He’s holding up incredibly well. He’s very thin and I’d rather he was a bit chunkier, but he’s still running. I’m astounded.”
Just a few of Brockmann’s injuries include a swollen ankle that saw him unable to lift his foot or move his toes. “We strapped it like buggery and I banged out the 100km pretty late into the day,” he wrote on Instagram. His feet came to be decorated with blisters that were full of pus, with a nail even falling off to reveal maggots living in his toe. His biceps were unable to straighten because they were stuck in a running position for so long. For the ankle, Brockmann opted for cortisone injections despite scans revealing a severe overuse injury. For those watching, it seemed clear that Brockmann would find any means of getting to Bondi – even if that meant crawling.
Brockmann has been on a quest to eradicate homelessness in his home country for some time now, after experiencing the struggles of those doing it tough after moving from the country to Sydney city. Previously, he ran 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days where he raised more than $100,000 for Australian Red Cross in 2020. But this herculean effort of crossing Australia is one that will be seared into the consciousness of every Aussie, a reminder that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard to achieve it. Brockmann is a testament to the sheer willpower of the human spirit and for this and more, we’d say he certainly gets our vote for Aussie of the Year.
Donations for Brockmann’s cause are still open. To find out more or to donate, head to the website here.