UQ Business School graduate runs for funds28 April 2010

Running 250km through the Australian desert isn't usually on the job list for an accountant, but that hasn't fazed UQ Business School graduate Scott Griffin. Mr Griffin, who graduated from UQ with a degree in commerce, is taking on the challenge as part of RacingThePlanet, raising funds for successful Australian vocal ensemble The Australian Voices (TAV). His marathon through the Kimberley Desert started on April 25, with Mr Griffin carrying all necessities throughout the race except his tent. Despite his parents also running marathons, Mr Griffin, who also has a science degree from UQ, admitted he'd only caught the long-distance running bug quite recently. "I have never done anything like this before - I had not even run a marathon till a few months ago," he said. Aside from an interest in finance and tax, Mr Griffin was inspired to do the run by his passion for Australian a capella music. "I wanted to do the 250km to really experience the Australian landscape as a personal challenge and to raise money for TAV," he said. "I have sung with TAV to audiences all over the world and we sing about Australia - about Uluru, the Glasshouse Mountains, the Great Barrier Reef and our deserts." "What better way to really understand Australia than to travel across it on foot?" The 30-year-old from Runcorn has had a rigorous training and diet program to prepare for the big race; a usual training day involves an eight hour run with a backpack full of rice and old textbooks, and his diet consists of anything but pizza. "Needless to say, I haven't sought a second opinion! I like banana milkshakes after training and have been known to drink a few Up & Go on the run," he said. "After training I also eat freeze-dried meals and sleep on the ground to prepare for nights during the race when only a tent is provided." TAV artistic director Gordon Hamilton said Mr Griffin's efforts emphasised his passion for Australian music, and would help to give a voice to fellow artists. "Composers in our country have a special affinity with the landscape, which seems to be ever present on the modern repertoire of Australian composers. Scott, who has been a dedicated singer with The Australian Voices for over ten years now, has ventured out to the Kimberley to highlight this growing trend in Australian composition," he said. "All donations in connection to Scott's run will help The Australian Voices reach out, both to composers and audiences, and to further this most important mission: to give a voice to our own young artists." But with the hard yards still ahead, Brisbane-based sports psychologist Jonah Oliver said that running for a charitable cause would give Mr Griffin more motivation to make it to the end of the gruelling challenge. "He's got a hard road ahead, and this is a very unnatural challenge and not something everyone can do," he said. "I don't think there is any one reason that people do these sort of challenges, but it usually seems to be something about testing what they can put themselves through mentally and physically." Mr Oliver said Mr Griffin could expect to find 'his mind is going to play tricks on him the whole way'. "If you enter an event like that you're going to experience pain and once you hit fatigue, your brain is going to tell you you're in pain and can't go any further. But I'm sure Scott has very high intrinsic motivation, and when you add the extrinsic motivation of doing it for charity, it will give him that extra little push." "It will be hard on him mentally and physically, and I'm sure his body is going to be very sore, but at the end of the day he's got the rest of his life to look back on this achievement." To donate to Mr Griffin's cause, visit www.theaustralianvoices.com
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