Bell making wishes realities

Harry Bell at the finish line of a long fundraising journey. 3978767 Pictures: SUPPLIED.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

On Saturday 23 March, Berwick runner Harry Bell ran 100 kilometres to raise more than $12,000 for Make-A-Wish.

Allured to raise money by bringing joy to children going through difficult times, Bell started the run at his home in Berwick and finished at the Esplanade, his 100-kilometre route taking him along the picturesque Beach Road and past several Melbourne monuments including the MCG.

Star News has documented his journey.

Day 1 – 13 March

Following an intense period of training which consisted of 230 kilometres of running across the last 14 days, the taper-off period is well and truly underway. Bell awakened at 4am and is managing a few niggles via mobility work, but the early wake-ups are becoming difficult on the psyche. “Running that early can be a dark, isolated space. I’m trying to combat a few different niggles, but acknowledge I don’t need to rush through it.”

Day 2 – 14 March

Illness is starting to set in which has altered the routine Bell has stuck to since locking in for this training block. Bell slept for 10 hours last night, taking heed of the signs his body was sending and holding off training this morning. Believing the illness could spiral into a two-to-three day handbrake on his preparation, Bell chose to keep today’s training relaxed, but still went to the gym and had an evening run.

Day 3 – 15 March

Bell started today with a 15-kilometre run as he felt much closer to full health. Trying to juggle recovery between work was difficult, but necessary, to prime him as the run approaches. Juggling work with high volume in the gym and an intense running schedule has been a difficult component of the build-up. Bell’s workplace has been supportive of his endeavours, which has eased the pressure, alongside having the flexibility to alter his hours and work from home. Massages, ice baths, and a healthy working space in the office are all assisting the preparation.

Day 4 – 16 March

Bell ran 35 kilometres today, including 25 with a group, with the ability to run with others today something he cherished. The vast majority of runs in the lead-up have been individual given the high load that Bell is targeting. The emphasis has now shifted to relaxing, recovering and getting food in, and less on the distance run. “I’ve done the work so I have to trust the body to work as much as I can and smash it out on the day.”

Day 5 – 17 March

A day focussed on recovery. The closer the day gets, the more Bell wants it to arrive. Excitement continues to build and more people are getting behind the cause. Recovery day, went to gym and lounged around. Just let the body hopefully get back to full capacity so he has no issues going into Saturday.

Day 6 – 18 March

Ventured to Ballarat for a university graduation ceremony where Bell gave a speech. It changed up the scenery of the preparation, with Bell getting exposed to the strong running community that exists in Ballarat.

Day 7 – 19 March

The realisation of the positive impact that the money raised will have, although always front of mind, is starting to dawn on Bell. Make A Wish has been checking in everyday given the difficulty of the preparation. “Every dollar will turn more wishes into realities or help make some young kid’s dreams come true with a big wish so I know what I’m doing will do immeasurable good for the kids and these families.”

Day 8 – 20 March

Just three days out from the run, the load has dropped off 90-percent. Ice baths and compression boots are well ensconced in the daily routine. The wak-eup time has pushed back to 5.00-5.30; Bell is confident he’ll be able to wake up easily on Saturday and is prioritising rest for his body. The volume size of meals is increasing with a focus on dense carbohydrates.

Day 9 – 21 March

No running at all today, Bell getting the legs ticking over with a light early-morning bike session at the gym. Fuelling himself has been an important factor in readying Bell for the run, with the runner strict on his meal preparation.English muffins with jam and breakfast smoothies have become staples of the morning routine, with lunch always at 12-12.30 and a pre-gym meal at 3.00-3.15pm all helping him lock in.

Day 10 – 22 March

Bell isn’t anticipating a good night sleep given the emotions surrounding today. Bell went for a relaxed 25-minute run and is hoping to keep the day as normal as possible given the emotions associated with it.”Today I woke up and felt ready to go; I got a lot of messages wishing me good luck. There is a lot of emotion I can’t describe and I’m feeling the support.”


It could not have gone any better.

There were no cramps, no niggles, rolled ankles or sore knees.

Bell woke up at 2.30am with everything laid out perfectly for him.

“Everything just clicked,” Bell said.

“It was surprisingly weird.

“I put a lot of training into it and I saw the rewards of it on the day.

“I thought there would be a point where I was like ‘geez this is hard’ but luckily that didn’t eventuate which is probably a result of the training.

“In terms of the run, mentally and physically, everything was all good.”

The night’s sleep had been as good as any in the last six weeks, generating a sense of freshness from when Bell took off just before 4am with mates Lachie Baker and Jesse Sands.

Bell highlighted the roll Sands played – having never run more than 25 kms, he ran 50kms which streamlined Bell’s mindset for the early part of the run.

“I knew he wanted to push his furthest distance but I thought he would go about 30!” Bell said.

“He rocked up on the day and said I’ve got 50, go and get me there and I said perfect.

“It took my mind off the matter of having to do 100, which helped the first 50 go a lot smoother.”

Harry’s Dad, Max, lit up the streets in a work van for the first hour of the trip.

The support crew all played instrumental roles in facilitating the run so Bell could focus merely on the physical component, knowing everything else was taken care of.

The sun rose as Bell was in Mordialloc, and the blissful running conditions also helped the day run smoothly.

The chief source of difficulty was some difficulty processing food on the day, with Bell instead relying on carb-powder, gels and electrolytes.

There was a swell of emotions upon crossing the finish line.

“I got the euphoric feeling when I actually did it, and all my friends and family were there, but the actual emotion didn’t probably settle down until (Sunday) afternoon because I was still on that runner’s high,” he said.

“I was still locked in to getting the job done but reflecting on it, it was big, that’s for sure.

“I was happy, sad that it was over because I loved that build up to pushing myself for something that wasn’t just about me: that spurred me on when the training sessions were hard.

“To stop doing that now, I’m like ‘what’s next’.

“That empty feeling swooped in towards the end but in terms of emotions, there were a lot and it’s a moment I’ll probably never forget because it got to the point where I knew I had raised 10k and run 100kms.

“There was a pivotal moment where I stopped and was like ‘wow, everyone here has given back and raised a lot of money and given joy to people who need it most.

“It would be up there with my best achievements and it’s something I’ll remember forever.”

Those wishing to donate can do so via the following link: