Amanda Allen and Ishka, who ran about 10km a day with her.Photo: Emily Smith
Amanda Allen and Ishka, who ran about 10km a day with her.Photo: Emily Smith Emily Smith

"I thought I'd be broken": Crossfitter's 1200km journey

EXTRAORDINARY moments carried Amanda Allen on her 1200km run from Toowoomba to Mackay, a journey she described as hugely symbolic.

As the two-time Cross Fit World Champion and Run for MI Life ambassador leapt across the finish line at the Mackay Amphitheatre on Saturday morning, it was difficult to imagine 12 years ago Ms Allen was an alcoholic who "lived in a pit of despair".

But just as she got through the epic run by "putting one foot in front of the other" and focussing only on completing 5km at a time, Ms Allen said she overcame battles with mental health by taking life one step at a time.

"My entire run is littered with the most extraordinary moments .They're small but they're so powerful," Ms Allen said.

"It was a non-stop experience of the tragedy and beauty of the human spirit."

Ms Allen first began her journey to Mackay from Toowoomba on May 29.

She ran about 30km a day, with wolfhound Ishka and members of the community alongside her for many 10km segments.

 Her other wolfhound-cross, Pepper, was suffering a leg infection and travelled mostly in the support van on "a bed of satin pillows".

Despite the physical and mental limits the run had pushed her to, Ms Allen said she felt amazing as she crossed the finish line.

"I don't understand it. I feel like I should look gaunt and be crawling over the line and be a little bit broken," she said, with a laugh.

The point of the run was to give hope to individuals and families struggling with suicide and depression.

The Run for MI Queensland event was co-ordinated by Run for MI Life, founded by Mackay's Jo Shanks in memory of her brother Matthew Ivory, who died by suicide in 2012.

Speaking from the finish line on Saturday, Ms Shanks said the guts and determination Ms Allen had shown was awe-inspiring.

"She is amazing this woman. She's tough and she's raw and she has her own battles with depression. Every step that she's taken has been very symbolic," Ms Shanks said.

Run for MI Life communications volunteer Sarah Annetts was also emotional as the 32-day event drew to a close.

But she believes the momentum Ms Allen has generated will see the message of hope spread further and wider in the future.

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