News - 13 January 2023

World-record smashing run for wildlife is nearly home

6,200km and nearing 150 marathons, Erchana Murray-Bartlett is on the cusp of finishing her World Record-breaking feat for nature.

Erchana with a squirrel glider on the outskirts of Naarm / Melbourne as she nears the end of her challenge.

It’s a challenge that began all the way back in August 2022. A World-Record-breaking series of marathons from the top of mainland Australia to the bottom to highlight the plight of endangered wildlife and support the Wilderness Society. Somehow, Erchana Murray-Bartlett’s body and mind have held out. The 32-year-old runner has just five marathons to go to before she reaches the finish line.

On Monday 16 January at the Tan, Melbourne’s famous running track, her epic 6,200km Tip-to-Toe Run for Wildlife challenge will come to an end. She will have completed a marathon every day, a total of 150 marathons, from Cape York to Naarm / Melbourne, smashing the World Record for consecutive marathons run by a woman.

Erchana has done it all to raise awareness and funds to stop the extinction crisis. “Almost 2,000 animal and plant species are on Australia’s national threatened species list, including more than 500 threatened animals. Imagine an Australia without the koala?” she says. “That’s why I’ve been working in collaboration with the Wilderness Society to help stop the extinction crisis.”

Earlier today, Erchana ran through the majestic forests on the doorstep of Naarm / Melbourne—forests that she grew up in and inspired her partnership with the Wilderness Society. She has blown past her goal of raising $62,000—and hopes the tally will only rise as she nears the finish line. You can donate here.

Erchana is presented with an Honorary Life Membership to the Wilderness Society by National Campaigns Director, Amelia Young.

In the forest, she met with members of the press, while Amelia Young, the Wilderness Society’s National Campaigns Director, presented Erchana with an Honorary Life Membership. Past recipients include the Wilderness Society’s founder Bob Brown and Bob Carr.

“We thank Erchana for her important efforts to bring the extinction crisis to light,” says Amelia. “Australia’s biodiversity is incredibly unique, yet as a nation we are second in the world for biodiversity loss. Why is this happening? Plants and animals need habitat, but deforestation rates in Australia are now up there with the destruction of the Amazon. This needs to change.”

“I’ve achieved a huge personal goal of breaking a Guinness World Record, pushing myself way further than I thought myself capable of,” says Erchana. “I’ve been stopping at schools, local environment and community groups to spread our message.”

Erchana met communities all the way down the country. Last year she was greeted in Toowoomba by Wilderness Society community organising teams and a billboard!

A burgeoning number of supporters have been able to follow the ups and downs, highs and lows of Erchana’s journey on social media, while she’s garnered national and international media attention. She even made it into British GQ’s ‘Fitness heroes of 2022’ list alongside Serena Williams, Sebastian Vettel and Chris Hemsworth. The magazine described Erchana’s feat as ‘Sports activism at its best, and most exhausting.’

“The biggest highlights from Tip To Toe have been what I’ve learnt,” says Erchana. “Connecting with people along the way has helped me understand just how important my footprints are and what my responsibilities need to be as an Australian moving forwards,” says Erchana.

“We can’t bring a species back from extinction. So, let’s come together before it’s too late to ensure these gorgeous animals are around when our children are.”

Learn more about Erchana’s incredible Tip to Toe run.