In December 2019, I married my co-star from Survivor – Mark Wales. As corporate speakers who regularly travel for work, we decided to honeymoon close to home in the small coastal town of Bermagui, New South Wales. While watching the news, we saw the bushfires were getting closer – and at the last minute we decided it wasn’t wise to be on the road. The next day, the entire population of Bermagui was evacuated to the beach. Fires had been roaring through Australia for over a month, yet all of a sudden they seemed very real to me.
Experiencing that proximity to the black summer bushfires triggered the idea that ended up becoming Relief Run. I reached out to one of my close friends, a partner in many projects and creative genius, Nic Davidson, and we started to put together a virtual running event to raise funds for the bushfire relief effort.
Initially, we thought if we could get 400 people involved, it would be a big achievement. Ultimately, in 12 days, we registered 19,000 participants from 96 countries and raised $1.1 million. I sincerely believe people don’t just want to donate. They want to come together to be part of a solution – to have an experience of pushing themselves for a cause.