Tasmanian Breast Cancer Survivor First Female To Run Around Australia

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7th October 2010, 03:15pm - Views: 1073




Thursday, October 07, 2010


Tasmanian breast cancer survivor and ultra-marathon runner Deborah De Williams has become the first female to run around Australia

to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).

Deb originally set off for this challenge from Hobart in October 2008 (running around Australia in an anti-clockwise loop via the east

coast) and managed to run over 10,000kms and raise $100,000 before having to stop due to an accident where she tripped over her

border collie Maggie just outside Darwin and broke bones in both of her feet. After 7 months off to recuperate involving two surgeries

and three months in plaster - she was given the all clear by her doctors to try again on her world record attempt run. 

Deborah set off again from Hobart –

this time running in the opposite direction to Darwin in a clockwise loop via the west coast –

running on average 50kms a day to achieve the first of four world records. 

On the 4th October 2010, 99kms outside Darwin, Deb and Maggie achieved what no other female (& dog) have achieved,

to become the first female and dog to run the entire distance around Australia! (non-continuously


But they will not stop there, Deborah and Maggie will continue back down the east coast to Hobart where they will achieve another


world records and attempt to meet their fundraising goal of $300 000. What a huge endeavour and all for breast cancer research!

When halfway there (outside Darwin) she tripped over her faithful dog Maggie and broke bones in both her feet she was ready to give

up: “I’d decided my body had had enough and I’d already raised $100 000 for NBCF and thought I don’t know if I can do this

anymore… when I got an email from a woman who said “If you can survive breast cancer and run around Australia then I can survive

secondary breast cancer” and so when it gets tough out here  I just think of her and keep going” 

The woman who wrote to Deb is 32 years old and now has stage 4 breast cancer and her biggest dream is to live to see Deb arrive in

Melbourne. Deb continues to inspire women with breast cancer with many followers keeping in touch with her on facebook and sharing

their experiences going through chemo each week and finding courage by drawing on each others strength.

Fast facts:

Started in October 2008 in Hobart, Tasmania and finishes in April 2011

17,631 kms (one loop of Australia) Deb will actually have run 1 ½ loops and approx 29 000 kms

50kms a day (8kms more than a marathon daily)

$300,000 to raise for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (current tally $179 000 and counting!)

5 tonnes of water needed

35 pairs of Saucony running shoes (pink of course)

World records:

1st female to run around Australia (non-continuously) when Deb reached Darwin on Oct 4, 2010

1st female to run around Australia (continuously) when Deb reaches Hobart in April 2011

Only person to have walked and run around Australia – in ultra-marathon terms that’s called “the double” when reach Hobart

Longest continuous run by a female (running every day – no days off) when reach Hobart

One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, with approximately 14 000 new cases expected this year.  The

good news is that breast cancer is being detected earlier and advancements have been made in the way the disease is treated.  These

improvements are all due to research, and in Australia much of this research is funded by the NBCF with the support of the community

and amazing fundraisers like Deb.

To view Deborah’s itinerary, or to donate to her campaign, please visit


Pink Ribbon Breakfasts proudly supported by:

AFGA, Ally, Ansell, Envirosoft, Equal, Green’s, News Magazines, Nutella, Sanitarium, Scotch-Brite, Sunblest, Toll Priority,

Tupperware, Visy, Viva and ‘You’ll Love Coles’.

About the National Breast Cancer Foundation

The NBCF is the only community-funded national organisation in Australia raising money for research into the prevention and cure of

breast cancer.  Since the NBCF was

established in 1994, over $67

million has been

raised and used to fund 256 Australian-based

researchers across every state and territory, to improve the health and wellbeing of those affected by breast cancer.

For further media information or interviews please contact: 

Irene Saunders - National Publicity Executive  National Breast Cancer Foundation Tel: (02) 8098 4805 or 0410 503 232;

Email:  irene.saunders@nbcf.org.au

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