Can Tooers shine bright at the Run into Summer grand finale

14 Jan 2021

Thank you to the 85 Run into Summer participants for shining brightly to complete their running goals, from a 10km to a marathon, last weekend. The Can Too programs raised over $50,000 for Australian cancer research.


The 20-week Run into Summer marathon program culminated in a 42km grand finale run which started at Kirribilli at 5am on Saturday. It was fitting that the 15 runners completed their Run into Summer program on one of Sydney’s sunniest, summer days.

The course hugged the Sydney Harbour foreshore including Walsh Bay, Pyrmont, the Anzac Bridge, the Rocks, Botanical Gardens, Opera House and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to finish back at Kirribilli under the Harbour Bridge.

The original plan was for the training pod to complete the Cadbury Marathon in Hobart, however due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic the interstate event did not go ahead. The Can Too marathoners did not let this dampen their spirits, demonstrating strength of character and determination to complete their own Can Too marathon.

Can Too Team Captain (TC) and Hall of Famer Suallyn Mitchelmore made sure there was still a delicious Cadbury surprise by presenting each runner with a Cadbury finisher’s bag, which she customised with Can Too slippers, a Run into Summer t-shirt, Can Too shoelaces and lots of Cadbury chocolates. She also hand-made Cadbury medals and race bibs to celebrate their run.

TC Suallyn said that the Run into Summer marathon was a beautiful activity which epitomises Can Too.

“We ran through COVID, we ran through Christmas, New Years, and having our events cancelled but we turned it all around and ran around this iconic, stunning city. We ran knowing that we value what we do, that we’ve raised over 200 per cent of our target for cancer research.”

She wanted to send a big thank you to Coach Simone Clucas, who ran with her and boosted her when she was feeling flat.

“Coach Simone is such an extraordinary person. She gets us all home. She’s still out there now and it’s 1130am and we started at 5am. That’s Simone - she runs beside you physically and metaphorically. She’s just always there,” said Suallyn.

The marathon team included Can Too Life Member Michelle French, who finished first, to first-time marathoners, such as Teue May Collier, who went from no exercise to running a marathon in 20 weeks. Teue was driven to raise funds for cancer research which is close to her heart as her son recently completed intensive treatment for leukemia.

The Marathon pod hit their fundraising goal out of the park by doubling their fundraising pledge to raise over $20,000 for Australian cancer research.

Fellow marathoner Werner Hettasch said that it was amazing running around the corner and seeing all the Can Too supporters.

“It was amazing to get it done, I loved it. I had three events cancelled last year, including the London Marathon program, so it was good to complete a program and finish the run, finishing here and seeing everyone cheer us on was pretty epic,” said Werner. 

See the slideshow of images.

10km and Half Marathon

Nearly 70 Can Tooers also smashed their running goals at the 10km and half marathon distance grand finale runs at Pirrama Park in Pyrmont on Sunday 10 January.

However one of the star performers, Janet Fenech was thrilled to complete her own solo 10km Run into Summer goal on 3 January 2021, one year after she started cancer treatment on 3 January 2020.

“I was super proud of myself for running 10km. When I was going through chemo I could only walk for 20 minutes a day and had to keep stopping to rest,” said Janet.

She sent a video post-run to her Can Too Hills pod to share her achievement and wish them the best for their run on 10 January. She couldn’t attend the official Can Too goal run as she was on holiday but felt that running a year since she started chemo as a poignant date to celebrate how far she’s come.

The account manager started her first Can Too program – Run into Summer, five weeks after finishing breast cancer treatment.

“Building my strength and learning to run was a positive way to regain my life after 12 months of doctor’s visits and treatments.”

Janet was inspired to join Can Too by her friend Nicole Papasinos, who asked her to join the Run into Summer 10km program whilst visiting her when she was undergoing treatment. Janet thought if she can do it, as Nicole  had never been a runner before, I Can Too.  

Janet ’s hairdresser Arielle Gerace also joined her in the Run into Summer program. Arielle had shaved Janet’s hair when she underwent chemotherapy so she wanted to support her friend, get fit and help such a worthy cause, as her mum had also had breast cancer. (Arielle is pictured in the below slideshow with her daughter.)

“Running with Can Too was a positive thing I could do after having cancer and a way to give back as I’ve received the benefits of cancer research,” said Janet.  

First time Can Tooer, Siobhan Komander also turned her life around to complete the Run into Summer 10km goal run on Sunday. While it has been a tumultuous year for all, for Siobhan it was life-threatening.

After suffering a brain haemorrhage from a leaking aneurysm in April, which most people don’t survive, she thrived by joining the Can Too Run into Summer 10km program.

“Today I just finished the Run into Summer 10km program and I completed all my three finishing goals, one was to run the whole thing, two to do it in under 90 minutes with three to do it with a smile on my face and I did all three,” said Siobhan.

Annie Crawford the Founder of Can Too, was thrilled with everyone’s performances in fitness and fundraising.

“What a weekend it has been, watching those marathoners digging deep at the 30km mark, then today being with the halfies and the 10kmers. Thank you for everything you’ve done and for raising over $50,000 for young cancer researchers. Well done, go Can Too.”

Thank you to the Coaches: (Mike Engelsman, Louise Mackinlay, Simone Clucas, Tilly Perrin and Sally Lynch), the Team Captains, Mentors and supporters of the Can Too Run into Summer program. 

And a big thank you to all the Run into Summer partcipants for raising $50,000 to fund cancer researchers, such as the 2019 NSW Young Woman of the Year Award winner Dr Angelica Merlot, who will continue to be funded by Can Too in 2021. Dr Merlot is working to create a better future for everyone affected by cancer. She is dedicated to curing the deadliest of cancers, pancreatic cancer, which has an eight per cent survival rate.

If you would like to achieve your own Can Too goal, please check out our events page for our upcoming swim and running programs:  

See the slideshow of images from Run into Summer below.