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2015 Fun Run

Article written by Lindsay Kasprowicz
New York, Boston, Berlin, Yuleba, Melbourne are all on any serious marathoners hit list  wait, Yuleba?  Well, yes indeedThis small regional Queensland town is bringing the serious and not-so-serious runners out of the woodwork and into the bush as they prepare for the third annual Yuleba marathon and fun run.On April 18, 2015, locals and imports alike will hit the wide open roads around this tiny country town and run like the wind – or in my caselike a slight breeze – to raise funds for the charity Help Kids Like Nick.Nick Blacket is an extraordinary young man. The Blackets are from St George, although his mother and extended family hail from the tiny town of Yuleba, situated 60km from Roma in southwestern Queensland.

Some 19 years ago, Nick’s parents, Alison and David, were delivered the difficult news that their newborn son, Nick, had Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS), a rare and debilitating condition affecting around 40 children and adults Australia-wide. Nick would require full time and ongoing care for the rest of his life.  The 500km from Nick’s hometown of St George to Brisbane became an all too regular trip for the Blackets to treat Nick’s complicated health issues. It wasnt until later in Nick’s life that the family partly moved to Brisbane so Nick could attend Narbethong Special State School.

Despite all the challenges of caring for Nick, the Blackets consider themselves lucky. The support received from many family members and the community has allowed Nick’s life to bloom. Witnessing him living a fulfilled life inspired Nick’s extended family to look for ways to support other families caring for children and young adults with WHS. As a result, Help Kids Like Nick – or HKLN – was founded in 2012 to do just that.

Now in its third year, the HKLN Yuleba marathon and fun run is attracting participants from far and wide and bringing the nearby regional communities together to raise funds for this special charity. But its not all about the run. In fact, it’s way more of the FUN than the RUN. The entire Yuleba community lays it on – nothing compares with bush hospitality, right? The tiny population quadruples for a few days a year to accommodate day-trippers, campers, volunteers and competitors alike.  This year promises to be the town’s biggest turnout yet.

There are five distances for runners and walkers, catering for every age and ability: the showcase event, the marathon, as well as the half-marathon walk or run, 10km event, 5km and 3 km walk or run.  Even if you can’t be persuaded to lace up your joggers, there is plenty more on offer by way of entertainment!  Miniature pig races, live music and dancing, delicious meals prepared by an experienced chef and staff, upgraded camping facilities and a host of prizes for runners and keen fundraisers.

For competitors, there is comprehensive support provided to ensure a safe and enjoyable run for all. Two ambulances will be in attendance as well as first aid stations at 5km intervals.  In addition, a recovery tent will be available for treatment from highly experienced physiotherapy and massage therapists.  According to marathon competitors last year, the Yuleba course is undoubtedly challenging and its April date makes it the perfect preparation run for runners in training for mid year events such as the Gold Coast marathon.

Despite the HKLN charity operating for a short three years, its impact on families caring for WHS kids has been widely felt. Monies raised from the fun run included a grant for a Melbourne family to help offset the $30,000 cost of fitting out their car for wheelchair transport.

 Another three families have benefited from grants for their post-school-aged children, who no longer have access to care, therapy and learning opportunities at their special schools.  These grants mean that families can continue to access services for their children outside the school system.

So if by chance you’re looking to add a great feel-good event to your running calendar this year, the Yuleba HKLN marathon and fun run is calling!   This bush run is about more than just recording a good time.  It’s all about having one.


New York Marathon competitor to tackle Yuleba fun run

Story by Lyndon Keane Published Balonne Beacon, Western Star, Toowoomba Chronicle, Warwick News

7th Jan 2013 2:49 PM


HELPING KIDS LIKE NICK: Roma-based marathon runner Gary Beutel, who competed in the 2010 New York Marathon, is lacing up his shoes for the Help Kids Like Nick fun run in Yuleba.

YULEBA is a long way from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan but the tiny town represents the next challenge for one Roma marathon runner.

Vanderfield Roma branch manager Gary Beutel is a self-confessed “running tragic” and will be one of 500 competitors tackling the Help Kids Like Nick fun run on April 27.

The event raises money for the Help Kids Like Nick charity, which provides support and assistance for people living with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

WHS is a rare condition that is caused by a missing part of the short arm of chromosome 4 and causes severe developmental delays and a range of other birth defects.

Mr Beutel, who completed the iconic New York Marathon in 2010, said he was looking forward to pounding the pavement for a good cause in Yuleba.

“I don’t need much of an excuse to go for a run,” he laughed.

“Country races are always good because…the camaraderie is strong and they are generally a lot less competitive.”

While the south-west Queensland town will come alive in a sea of competitors and spectators, Mr Beutel said his New York experience had prepared him for the excitement.

“There were 44,700 runners in the event and more than two million spectators,” he said. “The city basically shut down and it was a carnival-like atmosphere.”

The charismatic athlete said he would be attempting the marathon course but there will also be half-marathon, 10 kilometre and five kilometre circuits available to competitors.

Event spokeswoman Alison Blacket said she hoped hundreds of participants followed Mr Beutel’s lead.  “Gary is very inspirational and I hope his story encourages other people to get out there and have a go,” she said.

For more information about participating in the fun run, visit the Help Kids Like Nick website.


Maranoa Regional Council 12 week challenge


Community prepares to lace up to help kids like Nick

Story by Lyndon Keane Published Balonne Beacon, Western Star, Toowoomba Chronicle, Warwick News

7th Jan 2013 2:49 PM



RUNNING FOR NICK: Hundreds of runners, including (left) Imogen Wathen and (right) Alison Blacket are gearing up for the Help Kids Like Nick fun run in April, which will raise money for those with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome like (centre) Nick Blacket. Lyndon Keane


THE sleepy south-west Queensland town of Yuleba will come alive for a good cause when hundreds of shoes pound the pavement in April.

With a permanent population of about 200, Yuleba is set to be invaded by more than 300 runners as they take part in the Help Kids Like Nick fun run, raising money for families living with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

WHS is a rare condition that is caused by a missing part of the short arm of chromosome 4 and causes severe developmental delays and a range of other birth defects.

The Help Kids Like Nick charity is named after St George resident Nick Blacket and his mother Alison said its purpose was to assist in supporting those living with WHS.

“It’s a very rare condition,” Mrs Blacket said. “We only know of about 40 kids in Australia who have the condition, so we are helping to raise money for their families.”

The April 27 fun run will help to shine the spotlight on the condition as competitors battle a marathon, half-marathon, 10km or 5km circuit.

Mrs Blacket said the public response to the event had been overwhelming.  “We’re probably going to end up with about 300 to 400 competitors,” she said.

“A lot of people have committed to taking part already and we’ve had great support from businesses in the area who are involved with the gas industry.”

The event will be a double celebration for 17-year-old Nick, who will turn 18 on April 23, just in time to have a post-race drink at the Yuleba Hotel.

The charismatic face of Help Kids Like Nick will complete the fun run in style aboard a Harley-Davidson.

Event organisers have set a fundraising goal of $50,000 and Mrs Blacket said it was shaping up as a huge day.

“Our original vision was to do a small run and raise some money,” she said.

“Instead, it’s turned into this huge community event.”

For more information about participating in the fun run, visit the Help Kids Like Nick website.


Fast facts about Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS)


· Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome refers to a condition that is caused by a missing part of the short arm of chromosome 4.

· The condition results in severe developmental delays, a characteristic facial appearance and may include a variety of other birth defects.

· The condition is rare, with approximately one in 50,000 births affected.

· Approximately 35% of individuals who have WHS die within the first two years of life.

· All individuals with WHS do not have all of the same signs and symptoms but common characteristics can include slow growth after birth, small head size, seizures, severe developmental delays and severe delay of motor skills.

· There is no treatment for the underlying condition of WHS