By Gabriella Payne
Last year’s lockdown gave many people time to relax at home, catching up on their favourite TV shows and getting comfy on the couch – but for two teenage sisters, lockdown sparked another, more physical idea.
Instead of taking some time out, the two students from Springvale’s Killester College, Jade and Eden Gundry, decided to challenge themselves to race their way through lockdown by entering as many virtual races as they could and covered a staggering distance in the process.
Between the two of them, the girls entered and completed a mammoth 49 races during lockdown last year, which saw them run and walk a total of 1,883 kilometres across 13 ‘virtual’ countries.
Not only did these races provide a positive distraction for the girls during a tumultuous year, but they also helped keep them fit, healthy and active whilst raising money and awareness for many different charities and groups along the way.
Together, Jade and Eden competed in virtual events all over the world, including countries like Germany, England, America, Australia and New Zealand to name a few.
The girls didn’t let the pandemic dampen their adventurous sides either, virtually trekking their way along iconic routes such as the Inca Trail (Peru), the Ring of Kerry (Ireland), Hadrian’s Wall (England) and the Great Ocean Road (Australia).
Jade and Eden’s mother Sandy said that she was incredibly proud of her daughters’ remarkable achievements.
“These events gave them something to work towards,” she said.
“I hope when they’re older, they’ll look back at this pandemic and be proud of what they achieved.”
Together, the sisters’ efforts saw 55 trees donated and planted on their behalf and they were able to support charitable causes such as breast cancer awareness through a Mother’s Day walk and Heart Kids Australia through a 180 kilometre virtual challenge at Shark Bay – in which
Jade finished first in the world.
Despite the difficulties the girls faced along the way, these sisters showed grit and determination and found a meaningful way to channel their energy during a difficult year.
With many trophies, medals and certificates lining the walls of their home, Jade said her favourite event had to have been the Shark Bay challenge, in which she finished first and loved “raising money for kids” – not to mention the cool “shark medal”.
Her sister Eden had a different favourite, for a more personal reason.
“My favourite was the Mother’s Day walk because we were raising money (for breast cancer awareness) and my Aunty was going through breast cancer at the time,” she said.
On the other hand, Jade said the toughest of all was the Great Ocean Road challenge, because “it was really cold and wet on a lot of the days” and she “really wanted to finish as quickly as possible”.
Killester College’s principal, Sally Buick said that Jade and Eden’s incredible accomplishments were inspiring for one and all and the school community were very proud.
“The Gundry sisters are a living embodiment of the college motto of strength and kindliness,” Ms Buick said.
“We are very proud of their achievements in 2020 and can’t wait to see what challenges they set themselves in 2021.”