Burnet’s Professor Robert Power is giving himself an unusual present for his 65th birthday this March – he’s running a gruelling marathon in New Zealand to raise money for what he is passionate about – life-saving health research.
“I’ve been a keen runner since coming to Australia from England, but my last marathon was in 2012,” Robert said.
“For some time now I’ve been thinking: ‘one more before I’m 65’, and I’m 65 in March this year! So, a few months ago I searched for marathons coming up in March this year and found one in New Zealand that is actually on my birthday - the DUAL marathon, 42.2 kilometres, on two islands joined by a causeway in the Hauraki Gulf just off Auckland. It felt like destiny had tapped me on the shoulder.”
On this, his final marathon, Robert will be raising funds to support Burnet’s international health research, knowing how important these outcomes are in fulfilling Burnet’s mission.
After many years working internationally in the field of HIV prevention and social behavioral research, Robert came to Melbourne, attracted by Burnet Institute’s mission and work. That was 14 years ago.
As Head of International Operations at Burnet, Robert visits Burnet’s activities overseas, notably in our priority countries, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar.
There he witnesses first-hand the need in those countries – life-threatening risks to mothers and babies in childbirth, communities affected by HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.
He also plays a hands-on role in the work that Burnet is doing to address the major health challenges in our region.
Running a marathon is hard at any age, but it’s something Robert is determined to do.
“Why do I go on? Well, I get so much pleasure from long distance running. The further you run the more your mind is cleared as the blood rushes to the legs and lungs. I love running through bush trails, and the marathon on my birthday is around the most beautiful islands in New Zealand. And then there’s the challenge of ‘one more before I’m 65!’.”
“But mostly I enjoy the thought that by doing this I can also be helping those communities that Burnet serves. It gives me that extra bit of motivation, and every little bit helps.”
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