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NeuRA BIG Run – Running toward cures in May

A team of eight runners from NeuRA – Neuroscience Research Australia – is running from Canberra to Sydney to raise vital funds for research.

Departing Canberra on May 3, the 30-hour relay will cover almost 300km and will see the team finishing at NeuRA in Randwick at approx. 3pm on Monday May 4. The runners aim to meet their goal of raising $50,000 for research and will run approx. four lots of 10km’s each.

As well as raising vital funds for NeuRA, the aim of the relay is to raise awareness of disorders that affect our brains like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, schizophrenia, bipolar and autism.
NeuRA’s Prof Stephen Lord, a member of the relay team, says, “Running in the NeuRA Big Run will definitely be my biggest challenge to date – nearly a full marathon in all, thankfully broken down into manageable stages.”

“In taking part in the Big Run, I’ll be raising money for falls prevention research at NeuRA. Falls affect over one third of older people and can have devastating effects on mobility, independence and quality of life. Falls lead to broken bones including hip fractures and head injuries and are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation and death in older age.”

NeuRA’s Exec Director, Prof Peter Schofield says of the team, “These eight runners are a dedicated group of NeuRA’s research and support staff. Seeing our staff gather together in this way to give back to their work place shows just how passionate everyone at NeuRA is about working together to raise funds in order to cure diseases that affect families – theirs, mine and yours.”

“Raising funds by running is a great way to convey to the public that exercise like running is a great way to keep your brain fit and healthy.”

“Studies have shown that “neurogenesis” is limited in people with depression and may play an important role in preventing dementia. Running is just one way that people can keep their brains fit and healthy into older age along with socializing and trying new activities.”

You can offer your support and make a donation at Every day hero. View a map here and keep track of the runners in real time.

For interviews with Prof Peter Schofield or any of the NeuRA runners, contact Siobhan Moylan in the NeuRA media office on (02) 9399 1277 or 0406 599 569.


Prof Stephen Lord has been a regular runner since 2000. In that year he spent a month’s sabbatical in Chicago, USA and took the opportunity away from his regular routine to establish a more active lifestyle. Before this he had been quite sedentary and it took the full month of after-work running sessions with work colleagues for him to enjoy running, something he used to really like as a teenager. The money Steve raises will be used to fund scholarships for young researchers in the NeuRA Falls and Balance research Group. Steve lives in Chatswood, Sydney.

Dr Vibeke Catts is a senior research officer in the Schizophrenia Research laboratory at NeuRA. She is motivated by the plight of individuals affected by schizophrenia and the toll it takes on them and those who care for them, and has dedicated her working career to the investigation of what may contribute to the development of schizophrenia using molecular techniques. In her spare time Vibeke enjoys running. To date her longest run has been a half-marathon (21.1km), so the NeuRA Big Run of 4 by 10 km runs will represent both a physical and mental challenge for her. Vibeke lives in Bondi Junction, Sydney.

Michael Cartwright loves running and enjoys covering long distances. Recently he ran from Sydney to Queensland to raise funds for NeuRA. He has been an IT developer at NeuRA for over a decade. Mic has a genuine passion for supporting neuroscience research as his uncle battled with Parkinson’s disease for many years before passing away, and his grandmother is currently living with dementia. He is participating in the NeuRA Big Run to help raise much needed funds for Frontotemporal dementia Research. Mic lives in Carlton, Sydney.

Andrew Cartwright is NeuRA’s IT Manager. He loves running. “It’s a really great form of exercise because it doesn’t really require much at all, just you and the road. It’s a great way to get lost in your thoughts, listen to music and get healthy at the same time.” Andrew says. Andrew’s brother Michael Cartwright’s run from Sydney to the Gold Coast in 2013 to support research into Alzheimer’s disease has inspired him to run the NeuRA Big Run. Andrew lives in Kingsford, Sydney.

Greg Hudson works in maintenance at NeuRA. Greg is running for his late father-in-law Sid, who was diagnosed at 49 with Parkinson’s disease and had to retire at 55, then battled with a very poor quality of life until he died, aged 75. Greg also has a close friend in her mid-60s who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Greg lives in Maroubra, Sydney.

Todd Price works in IT at NeuRA and manages to break the chain tying him to the computer on a regular enough basis to keep fit. Inspired by his colleagues’ previous long distance runs and fund raising efforts he decided to join in the Big Run. In doing so, he hopes to raise funds for his wife’s (who also works at NeuRA) research into respiratory disease and the debilitating symptom of breathlessness. Todd lives in Zetland, Sydney.

Andrew Eisenhauer is doing something on the NeuRA Big Run he’s ashamed of… he’ll be wearing a St George Illawarra Dragons jersey. A red (or should that be cold?) blooded Cronulla Sharks supporter, Andrew is the Direct Marketing Manager for NeuRA and knows all about the incredible hardships faced by families and individuals suffering brain and mind disorders in his daily work. Andrew lives in Bangor, Sydney.

Dr Tertia Purves-Tyson enjoys a challenge, especially one done for a good cause. Tertia works in the Schizophrenia research at NeuRA. Her team is dedicated to understanding what goes awry in the brains of people with schizophrenia. Tertia says, “Almost everyone that asks me what I do follows by telling me their personal story of a mother, father, uncle, brother, sister, aunt, friend and sometimes even themselves, that have been touched by schizophrenia. I love being in a job where the aim is to push medical research forward with the hope of helping people who are suffering”. Tertia lives in Maroubra, Sydney.