Cancellation of Blackwood Marathon leads to special Kalgan marathon for Ryders and aid for Shalom House

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Tahryn Thompson, Susan Campbell, Kylie Outhwaite, Heidi Meyer, Justin Hardy, Gerry van der Wal and Drew Ryder.
Camera IconTahryn Thompson, Susan Campbell, Kylie Outhwaite, Heidi Meyer, Justin Hardy, Gerry van der Wal and Drew Ryder. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

A group of friends has created a new way to honour Albany couple Arjen and Yvonne Ryder, who were on board the ill-fated flight MH17 in 2014, with a special marathon in the Kalgan.

The group, organised by Justin Hardy, would normally compete in the Blackwood Marathon to honour the couple as part of Racing for Ryder.

Mr Ryder had competed in the Blackwood Marathon as a cyclist since the late 1990s.

However, this year the Blackwood marathon was cancelled so the group wanted to honour him in a new way.

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That’s how the Racing for Ryder — At The Kalgan event was born.

Mr Hardy said they wanted to be able to keep Mr Ryder’s passion for the marathon alive, even when the usual event wasn’t going ahead.

“(The Blackwood Marathon) is an annual event, always last weekend in October, that many of us do to compete in but this is the first time they have not had it due to the COVID,” he said.

“Arjen Ryder was a work colleague with me at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, he used to love the event, and he always did the cycle leg for one of the teams.

“As we had five teams organised, all had been in training and had saved the date, so we organised a replica event ourselves — on the same day on the Kalgan River with the same disciplines, same lengths-distances, but with a celebration of the local Kalgan River.”

The event, right, took place on October 31 involving run, paddle, swim, cycle and equestrian legs.

This week they were able to hand over the funds they had raised at the event to Shalom House, which Mr Ryder’s son Drew suggested as a cause his father would have wanted it to go to.

They raised $762 for the local crisis support service.

“We all felt privileged, we all have the health and means to allow us to do this event, and when we know others struggle to even have a roof over their heads,” Mr Hardy said.

“Mental wellbeing is linked to be active and being connected.”

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