GRIEF can destroy you or grief can focus you.
For Harald Ulriksen, the loss of his wife and father to cancer within a space of months created an intense focus that changed the course of his life.
Forty kilos overweight and deeply depressed, Mr Ulriksen decided to honour the memories of his lost loved ones by doing a charity walk from Adelaide to Brisbane in 2009.
He has since completed long-distance runs all over the globe and yesterday passed through Tamworth as part of a Sydney-to- Brisbane charity run.
“This is about closing a chapter of the grieving process I’ve been through,” Mr Ulriksen said yesterday.
“Running has become a way of life for me and a way to honour Bronny (his late wife) and my dad.”
Mr Ulriksen, 43, left Sydney’s Hyde Park on Mother’s Day and is covering about 80km a day, raising funds for the McGrath Foundation and the NSW Cancer Council in the process.
A group of local runners met him on the outskirts of Tamworth late yesterday to accompany him on the run into town.
“It’s been a tough few days, especially going up the hills out of Sydney in the heat,” Mr Ulriksen said.
“I’ve been pretty focused though; focused on the road and focused on little checkpoints I’ve made every 10 or 15 kilometres.”