WACA chief heads off on grueling charity ride

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Christina Matthews
Camera IconChristina Matthews Credit: supplied

At dawn on Tuesday, Christina Matthews climbed into her riding gear, tied her shoes and buckled her helmet — ready to be pushed to her limit.

With a group of about 40 cyclists, the 59-year-old set off from near Dog Rock at 8am to ride 700km over four days through inland WA.

For the second year, she will take on the entire Hawaiian Ride for Youth charity event, pedalling along Great Southern pastures, sprawling Wheatbelt fields and temperate woodlands before entering Perth.

It’s a trek designed to test physical and mental limits — and to allow participants to help communities along the way.

Ms Matthews will ride north through Pemberton, Bridgetown and Collie, visiting schools including Mt Barker Community College.

As West Australian Cricket Association chief executive, she is one of the event’s high profile participants.

“We go to schools along the way speaking about mental health and promoting the services available to students and families in their area,” she said.

“In the last few years we’ve raised over $2 million a year. All money goes to (WA support service) Youth Focus, who look after youth mental health.”

Other groups will ride west to Pemberton, and to Gnowangerup through the Wheatbelt, and on to Perth.

The 2019 ride had raised $1.3 million by Monday.

Event organisers said more than $19 million had been raised since the first event in 2003.

They said suicide was the biggest killer of young Australians, with 51 West Australians between 15 and 24-years-old taking their own lives in 2017.

The ride won the Best Charity or Cause-Related Event award at the 2018, 2017, 2015 and 2012 Australian Event Awards.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails