MAY for Eaglehawk was supposed to toss up BFNL matches against Kyneton, Castlemaine, Sandhurst and Gisborne, as the Hawks look to go one spot higher on the ladder in 2020.
Instead, with the coronavirus putting a stop the season, the Hawks have had to find an alternative means to keep fitness and motivation levels up.
Cue the May 50K challenge to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research.
More than 20 Eaglehawk footballers have pledged to run 50 kilometres or more during the month to help lift the profile of MS and raise valuable funds.
The cause carries extra significance for the Hawks, with players throwing their support behind assistant coach Bryce Balsillie, whose partner in Bendigo and his biological brother in Western Australia, both suffer from the long-lasting disease.
Balsillie, who has returned to the coaching ranks in 2020, is grateful for the show of solidarity by the Hawks' coaching and playing groups.
That extends to his own employer, City of Greater Bendigo, with about 35 of his work colleagues, including 25 from the active and healthy lifestyle team, also getting on-board.
A further 10 members of Balsillie's family have formed their own team.
Balsillie, the city's community projects liaison, said participants could either run or walk the 50km.
"You can do it anywhere you want, and you can walk. There are a lot of City workers involved, who are just walking through bushes and walking tracks, but then there are the footy guys who are racking up 50km-plus as part of their training," he said.
"In my case, I'm not a young man, and will stretch it over 17 to 20 three-kilometre runs to get over 50km.
"Some of the boys are flying, doing eight or nine kilometres, so we will probably push them towards 100kms."
Unable to train in groups since March 17, the May 50K challenge has given the Hawks footballers some added focus during their the isolation period.
"It's a choice to be involved, but coach Travis Matheson and assistant coach Brendan Tanner have used it as a bit of a training mechanism," Basillie said.
"Some of them are doing it unofficially in different ways, rowing or some other form of extra training.
"Some of the fundraising so far has been fantastic, so hopefully through the rest of the month we will be able to do the same."
More than 350,500 people across Australia have joined the May 50K, so far raising $4,847,907.
For more information on the May 50K campaign, click here
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