“That doesn’t look right” says my brother Nick pointing at my feet, which I’ve recently taken out of my shoes and are swelling up like water balloons. My toes are forming into one body mass and there’s a red rash on my ankles that looks like the measles.
It’s 3am and Nick has stridden into the sheds at Heffron Park wrapped in aluminium foil with a surfboard under his arm. The Silver Surfer. Batman’s passed out, drooling on the floor and I’m struggling to put my TMNT costume on.
Things are grim. It’s quiet, pitch black and not so much fun anymore. This is when the Superhero Walk really starts and honestly, what was I thinking?!
15 hours ago, it was all laughs and hi fives. Blissfully naïve, I set out on my first lap of 24, thrilled so many superheroes including the Star Wars 501 Legion had joined me. As we walked through the afternoon, superheroes of all shapes and sizes kept arriving and by 4pm, the Elsa hour, I reckon we had a superhero squad of 50+ and had raised $18,500.
Elsa, that’s not an easy hour, but I can honestly say it’s not as hard as coming dressed to your place of employment, as Elsa. In the days leading up the Superhero Walk, my lovely work colleagues set me a challenge of coming to work dressed as Elsa if they raised $500. Challenge accepted. But then they upped the ante; if they raised over $1,000, I had to mime Frozen’s anthem “Let it Go” to the whole organisation.
Early in the day they were on $540 and I thought nothing of it, there was no way they were going to make $1,000. But sure enough, by the afternoon I found myself performing Let it Go to all my workmates in what was pretty much the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened, in my entire life. You can watch the clip here.
Back to the walk. The superhero hours tick by and there isn’t a moment where I’m alone, not one minute in the 24 hours where someone wasn’t by my side, lap after lap. The light starts to fade, the kids go home, one young Batman promising he’ll be back in 12 hours.
I walk on through the night, getting slower and more exhausted with each lap. Each superhero change seems more complicated, the laps take longer, the chafing and blisters are getting worse, it’s like I’m drunk, this is tough.
Which brings me back to 3am with the Silver Surfer. I stuff my crab like feet into my shoes, haul myself off the floor, square my shoulders and set out into the night. 9 hours to go.
The next few hours are the hardest. Each time we go into the sheds I contemplate having a little nap next to Batman. I consider what a weird sight it would be, Batman and He-Man spooning on the floor of a change room at Heffron Park. I continue on. Superman arrives with a fresh thermos of coffee, there is hope.
Day breaks and the superheroes are back, lots of them. At 8am I pull on my Superman costume and prepare myself for a live cross on national TV, the TODAY Show. I’m so tired I’m slurring my words. Next thing I know I’m live to Australia! 3 hours to go.
By now we’re on $21,500 and its starting to feel possible, we might actually reach our target of $24,000. More superheroes arrive, sausage sizzles are devoured, the music gets turned up. It’s turning into a carnival of sorts and no one, including me, knows how this will end.
The Incredibles and Wonder Woman get me to 11am. 1 hour to go. I can barely tie my shoes as I pull on Thor. The lightweight plastic hammer feels like the real thing and my scalp itches from yet another wig.
We walk slow, there’s no more pressure, we’ve made it. I’m strangely quiet and nostalgic, so many people have helped me, such broad shoulders to stand on. I don’t want this moment to end. I crest the last rise and am greeted by a superhero guard of honour. I’m overwhelmed with love and gratitude for these superheroes. I walk slowly, giving hi fives and taking back slaps in a moment I’ll cherish forever.
It’s all over, we’re on $23,200 and I figure that’s pretty darn good. I’m high on adrenaline as we pack up and head home. I tell myself I’ll just relax on the couch for a few minutes and wake up 7 hours later. Bec plies me with food before I crash again. Bec’s nudging me, telling me it’s time to wake up and I’m cranky because I only just fell asleep and why won’t she leave me alone? It’s actually 12 hours later, 7am the next day and I’m so confused.
I check the donation tally and am genuinely shocked to see we’ve reached our target of $24,000. That’s a lot of money! I never really knew if it was possible, that we could as a community raise that much and I’m filled with incredible satisfaction and gratitude. Thank you to every single person who donated, no matter how big or small. Your contribution made the difference.
Construction on the new playground is scheduled to start in March 2020 and it’s all thanks to this amazing Maroubra community and supporters from far and wide.
Thank you again all so much for supporting me and the Superhero Walk. Truly, thank you.
I’ll be back in 2020 and until then always be yourself unless you can be Batman. Then, be Batman!
I wanted to say a huge thanks to the wonderful people who helped to make the Superhero Walk happen!
My girls, Bec and Maeya for never doubting and supporting me the whole way.
All the wonderful volunteers from MBPC P&C who helped cook sausage sizzles, manned street crossings, took photos, donated prizes and picked up rubbish – you guys are awesome!
Belinda, President of Maroubra Bay’s P&C who worked tirelessly in the background to make it all happen.
Principal Ackerman and all the staff from Maroubra Bay who really got behind us, publicising the Superhero Walk everywhere and getting the kids involved.
The crew from Maroubra Bay Care Centre who raised over $3,000 and put their dignity on the line with some pretty amazing superhero costumes!
Ben Sarkis for lending us his caravan (and dropping it off and picking it up).
James for taking the pro shots again.
Marissa from Maroubra Community for helping me get the word out.
The TODAY Show for really getting behind us.
Our local MP Michael Daley for joining us on the first superhero lap.
Damien from Murphy Sports for entertaining the kids during each lap and helping me a great deal during the lead up.
Randwick Council for being great to work with and helping us with an awesome venue.
Fitbit for sponsoring my training with a Fitbit Iconic – love it.
Costume Box for sponsoring me with an amazing replica Storm Trooper costume.
Danni Tinkler; who expertly ran the social media during the walk.
Pete Tinkler who brought his own BBQ and cooked up a storm for the walkers.
Waz and Megs who came to wish me well and ended up cooking sausages.
Caroline and Glen for hauling BBQ’s and helping with logistics.
Joel Gibson for advising me on all things media and helping corral the Superheroes for the TODAY Show.
Simon, Andrew, Nick and Joel for getting me through the night with laughter.
All the kids and parents who came and walked a lap with me dressed as superheroes.
And finally, every kid and family who set up their own team and asked their friends and family to sponsor their superhero lap. You’re the reason we got to $24,000 and I am so incredibly grateful!
Finally, I just had to share this photo with you. Maeya’s reaction to her dad doing the Superhero Walk – priceless!