How Connor's Run Started
In September 2011, 17-year-old Robert Connor Dawes ran from his home in Sandringham to the boatsheds on the Yarra. He'd started his training for the upcoming rowing season early, as he wanted to make the Brighton Grammar 1st VIII. Not loving running, he did the 18.8 km because he was determined to be the best he could be. Little did he know that in his head was more than fierce determination: there was also a tumour growing. Connor had unknowingly begun his battle.
Two months later, Connor was diagnosed with an anaplastic ependymoma. Major surgery resulted in loss of movement to his right side, impaired vision and severe short term memory loss. His body was broken, but his mind was not. He was determined to improve and spent hours each day on his physical and mental rehabilitation. Intense radiation and later chemotherapy followed. But throughout all this, Connor never stopped smiling. He stayed positive, philosophical and true to his mantra: "I will be awesome".
At school, his friends sold t-shirts and wristbands with his name and the phrase "Aeternum Fortis" meaning "Eternal Strength". It reflected Connor's inspiring spirit as he battled through every adversity coming his way. Now, Aeternum Fortis is our eternal reminder of the amazing person he was and the gifts he left us. Connor's Run is your chance to show your support. It's 18.8 km that Connor ran on that day, and coincidentally his life's length. Instead of 10 km, we chose his birthday 9th June (9.6 km). Participants also write a positive affirmation on their bib, inspired by Connor's very own declaration to his yoga instruction during his treatment, that he "will be awesome".
Over the past 5 years, Connor’s Run has evolved into Australia’s biggest event for paediatric brain cancer with thousands of young runners now participating in the event. Many come back year after year, each time generating more funds raised and more attention for the #1 cancer killer in young Australians. The event has been covered on Channel 7 and 9 news, and the Robert Connor Dawes foundation has garnered support from a number of high-profile ambassadors like Olympian James Tomkins, Actress Lisa McCune, Athlete Tamsyn Lewis Manou and Rugby Star Sean McMahon.
Join us again for the 5th annual Connor’s Run on Sept 17, 2017.