Sarah’s Run With Olympians


Congratulations to Year 5 student Sarah Heyden who recently ran 14 km with two Olympians, Julias Achon and Eloise Wellings, and a group of runners for the ‘Water for Africa’ project. Sarah was the only child in the pack and competed the full 14 km course in 1 hour 43 minutes. Julius, who’s not in training mode, did it in 1hr 13 minutes.

Sarah was blessed to be invited to sit with Eloise and Julius at breakfast after the run, while they chatted with her and gave her tips and encouragement.  “Julius Achon told me when he was a little boy my age, he had to walk 7km to school, so he never had to train for running. He told me to do short runs, middle runs and long runs. He is sending me his book, and Eloise will be like my pen pal but on email and I am very excited about that,” Sarah said.

When Sarah got into the car to leave, she exclaimed to her family, “That was the best day of my life”.

Sarah has always loved running. Usain Bolt is her inspiration. Her keen interest in running came about after watching the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Sarah’s running support is her dad, Steve. He was an ultra-marathon runner and used to run for the defence force.  He runs with Sarah as her coach and crew, developing and guiding her and carrying anything she may need. When dad can’t run with Sarah, her mum and sister take the bikes and ride with her; even on bikes, they can’t keep up with her when she’s doing a hill.

The run was organised by Love Mercy Foundation. Eloise Wellings and Julius Achon are founding directors of the foundation, which is involved in many projects in Uganda, where Julius is from. The pair were in Perth for various speaking engagements to raise money for their projects. The purpose of the run was to bring awareness to Love Mercy Foundation’s work with Water for Africa. Water for Africa builds new wells and repairs broken wells in rural Africa to provide safe drinking water for communities.

Sarah has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and has been working with her family to put together a presentation to explain to her class what Autism is and how they can help support her in class, which she presented to them this morning. Sarah asked the class to write down things that make them unique, which lead to a great discussion about how everyone has differences but everyone is important. She then explained how she reacts to stressful situations and how the class can support her during these times.

What an amazing young lady!

Scroll to Top