A great cause

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Komatsu regional general manager – western Glenn Swift rode 3,865 kilometres from Perth to Sydney in 21 days to draw attention to The Younger Heroes organisation, supporting children of Australia’s serving military.

Komatsu-fundraiser
Employees gathered to in Perth to celebrate the achievements of Komatsu's 'Live Your Dream' team, as part of an initiative enabling employees to raise funds for charity

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He spent more than seven hours each day on his bike at an average speed of 26.5 kilometres per hour. Swift suffered blisters and saddle sores, endured extreme cold in high winds, blasted through rain on the Nullarbor Plain – and had just one puncture, frustratingly on the last day of his epic ride.

The ‘Live Your Dream’ program initiated by Komatsu saw eight Komatsu employees qualify for projects ranging from building a school in Cambodia to promoting community fitness in the Hunter Valley.

Members of Komatsu's inaugural 'Live Your Dream' team raised $10,000 each for their cause, including The Younger Heroes, The Royal Flying Doctors, Full Circle, RizeUp, Live Life Get Active, SWAN & PANDA.

Swift’s ride across Australia was the most physically demanding, and in many respects highlighted the circumstances of the families of Australian service personnel on overseas posting.

"To prepare for the ride I virtually left my wife, Samantha and our boys Michael, Jonathon and Tom, without a husband and father for six months, let alone the ride itself," he says. "They flew to Sydney, along with my mother, to be there when I rode in and the welcome was very special."

The Younger Heroes organisation, established by the son of a veteran of the Vietnam War, seeks to re-connect families and emotional ties disrupted by lengthy service away from home.

"I may have ridden solo, but like the military everything I did was part of a team collaboration and a discipline established by experts in many fields – physical training, nutrition, sports psychology, logistics and bike preparation," Swift says.

For all that, personal determination was still the key to success.

"I had a riding schedule that told me where I could get food and water and warned me when it might be in short supply," he says. "On the ride from Kimba to Port Augusta in South Australia both of the only food stops were closed and I had to do 160kms in tough riding conditions on two litres of water and a health bar. It was a day when only determination would get you through.

"When I arrived at Port Augusta I immediately ‘inhaled’ a double serving of hamburgers, fries and shakes and still didn’t feel full."

Swift set several records on a global performance mapping app used by cyclists but speed was not his goal.

"I wanted to complete this ride safely, without injury, and within the time and distance goals I had set – which meant it was by no means an easy ride at cruising speed," he said.

"I achieved the goal and I’ll never do it again."

Swift spent several days in Sydney at the end of his ride, returning to his departure weight of 77 kilograms.

 

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