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Support cancer research and train for free: Mother’s Day Classic 2016

Ashleigh Went

What if I told you that you could get an eight week fitness program plus a running coaching session and a bootcamp class every week, essentially for free?

What if I also told you that in doing so, you could help raise valuable funds for breast cancer research, support local women fighting cancer, create friendships and smash some personal goals?

Not to mention, a pretty sweet deal at one of Canberra’s favourite breakfast spots…

Well beautiful ladies, that’s exactly what you can get when you sign up for the Mother’s Day Classic this year.

This year marks the 10th birthday of the Canberra Mother’s Day Classic, and the MDC committee in partnership with local businesses have really stepped up with some fabulous offerings for this years participants.

You may remember we told the story of Natt Rayner, MDC participant and committee member. This year, Natt is Canberra Co-Chair (with fellow Chair Sue Field) of the National MDC Committee is more excited than ever about what 2016 holds – particularly when it comes to pre-event training.

“We connected with a company called Pure Will at the Corporate Dragon Boat Regatta back in October where they were doing warm ups for the teams there. We approached them and as it turns out, they also offer Functional Running Coached Running Groups, which they’ll be running for us on Saturday mornings.”

The Saturday running group will cater to all abilities, whether you plan on walking the event or running 5 or 10 kilometres. It’s also family friendly, so you can bring along your partner, kids and even the dog.

“They will have four or five running coaches there, there will be a number of different groups with a leader, plus coaches and pace setters throughout the group. There’s no time trials, everyone runs at their own pace, and we’ll work with whatever ability you’ve got.”

In addition to the Saturday warm up and run, Pure Will will be running bootcamp style sessions at 5:30 on Wednesday evenings for registered MDC participants.

“The Wednesday sessions will run for about 45 minutes to an hour and we really want every week to be different. It could be a body weight conditioning class, or an interval session, the midweek session is just about keeping people active!”

The bi-weekly sessions make up the MDC 2016 Canberra Pre-Event Training Program which is sponsored by the ACT Healthy Weight Initiative which is sure to help you in getting fit, confident and ready for the day of the event on Sunday the 8 May.

It’s just not the added fitness that you’ll be gaining, but also some special relationships. In it’s 10 years of operation, the Mother’s Day Classic Canberra has been a place where women can support other women and grow caring friendships.


“It really is a community” says Natt. “You get to know people and it’s not just fitness people you know, it could be people that are pre [cancer] treatment, mid treatment, post treatment, so it’s really a support group as well. If you are going to treatment and all you can manage is one walk a week, then come and walk with us.“

“They form their own little community and network. Then on the day, they can all walk together. In the first year, we had one lady who was post treatment, who was only just back into exercise, hadn’t been a runner and she said ‘I’m going to run 10 kilometres’. She trained, we saw her on the Saturdays and everything, a gorgeous lady, and on the day she ran a PB. And everyone from the group asked ‘how did you go?’ That’s what makes a difference on the day – there’s familiar faces, people are genuinely interested in how you are and how you went in the run, they really look after each other.”

It’s not just the support of individuals that makes this event so special, but the support of local businesses, like the Bookplate Café at the National Library.

Natt describes Tracy Keeley, owner of Bookplate as “just a lovely, lovely lady”, and the partnership between Bookplate and MDC is a match made in heaven.

“I approached Tracy and as it turns out, she was turning her outdoor area into Picnic the pop up bar, which was originally due to finish in mid March, but she’s agreed to extend it for two weeks so that we can have that as our Fundraising Cocktail Party venue.”

With it’s bright pink chairs and stunning view of Lake Burley Griffin, Picnic is a perfect venue for not just the cocktail party, but also the breakfast spot for participants on the Saturday running group, where Natt aims to have a weekly guest speaker and where Tracy will be offering a special discounted breakfast deal to MDC participants. On Saturday 5 March the group had their launch breakfast to celebrate the beginning of the pre-event training program.

“It’s just been fantastic for us to have someone involved who’s a local business woman, who’s very interested and keen to be involved with women supporting women” says Natt.

With a healthy focus and an emphasis on freshness, Bookplate is the perfect spot to grab a nourishing breakfast after a training run.

Picnic at Bookplate

Picnic at Bookplate

“It is not hard to make a healthy food choice at Bookplate and the Mother’s Day Classic is a great way to get fit and help such an important cause so our involvement makes sense,” says Tracy.

The money raised from Mothers Day Classic registrations and fundraising supports research into new treatments, diagnostic techniques and of course the end goal of finding a cure for breast cancer. This year’s aim is to raise $4 million, which would require just $50 fundraising from each participant.

Make sure you register for this years event and get along to the pre-training events. You can also show your support by purchasing a ticket to the MDC 10th Birthday Cocktail Party at Picnic pop-up bar on Thursday March 31. Grab the girls, put on some pink cocktail wear and enjoy a night of delicious Asian inspired canapés and of course, some cocktails. There’ll be spot prizes, raffles and fun games to join in on. Tickets are $60 and all money raised will be donated back into the Mother’s Day Classic to fund important cancer research. Purchase your ticket at

the essentials

What: The 2016 Mother’s Day Classic
When: From 7am, Sunday 8 May
Where: Rond Terrace, Commonwealth Park


Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author