Ex-military man to run 500km in 5 days

Ex-military man to run 500km in 5 days

As if running to Mount Kosciuszko in 2022 was not enough, Rodney “Rocket” Cottam is pushing himself to run further and quicker this year to raise funds for Invictus Australia.

Rodney Cottam will run a gruelling 500km from Coffs Harbour to Sydney in July 2023

Warning: This article mentions suicide. Reader discretion is advised. 

Last year, Momentum Media introduced you to Mr Cottam, a former military man and a regional sales manager at non-bank lender Resimac.

Mr Cottam – who was involved in a motorbike accident that left him with a long-term prognosis caused by spinal nerve damage called brachial plexus palsy – ran 350km to Mount Kosciuszko.

He raised over $41,000 for veteran support charity Invictus Australia, which Momentum Media proudly supports.

After completing this gruelling challenge, Mr Cottam had hinted at participating in more challenges in 2023.

Testing his limits

True to his word, he has announced he will undertake his second major challenge in the first week of July, under his moniker “Run Rocket Run”.

Mr Cottam plans to run 500km in 106 hours, starting at Coffs Harbour and finishing at the ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park in Sydney.

The objectives of his undertaking are two-fold: firstly, he wants to double the amount of money he raises for Invictus Australia this year to over $82,000.

“Competing in these races helps me spread the word about what Run Rocket Run and Invictus Australia do throughout the running community,” he told Momentum Media.

The second goal, he added, is to test his resilience by pushing his boundaries.

When asked what motivates him to cover long distances, he said he “gets asked that a lot”.

“My answer is that I really enjoy pushing myself.”

“When I push myself beyond my limits and know that I can do it, it really excites me.”

Adding new elements to spice it up

Mr Cottam will begin his new major challenge at 6am on a Monday and finish on the immediate Friday by 4pm in July on a date that is yet to be decided.

True to his character, he has set a time limit for completing his race in order to test his resilience.

“I’m adding new elements to the mix just to keep things interesting, including sleep deprivation,” he said.

“I’ve got to finish 500 kilometres by a certain time, which means I’ll sometimes have to run through the night. Sleep deprivation means less time for recovery, which can lead to other hurdles.”

Running at night creates its own set of challenges, including a lack of depth perception. Mr Cottam also said that he would have to exercise more caution while running in the bush on rocks, tree roots, and uneven surfaces.

“Running at night has its advantages because you don’t realise how far you’re going. Having said that, I have to be more careful and pay close attention to everything around me.”

Because Mr Cottam is running further within a similar or smaller time frame in July compared to last year, he is participating in back-to-back races to train his body. He has already participated in races in the Snowy Mountains, Noosa, and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park this year, with each race covering distances of between 45 to 100km.

He will participate in his last race in the Blue Mountains in May before his major challenge.

Sleeping well and eating food that will benefit his body will also form a part of his regimen, although he will allow himself the occasional treat.

“I need to put my body under quite a lot of stress to prepare for this challenge,” he explained.

Ambassador for change

Since completing his Mount Kosciuszko run and raising funds for Invictus Australia last year, Mr Cottam’s association with the charity organisation has deepened

Indeed, Invictus Australia has asked Mr Cottom to become an ambassador of its new campaign, ZERO0600, to raise awareness about mental illness and suicide among veterans in Australia.

How it works

The ZERO0600 challenge asks participants to get outdoors and exercise with their team, tribe, or even their dogs at ZERO0600 (6am) for six days in a row.

Taking place from 4 to 9 June 2023, participants can choose to run, jog, walk, swim, ride their bicycles, do yoga, or participate in a different type of workout.

Mr Cottam said he will be running with his team at Resimac and encouraged the broking industry (including brokers, lenders, and aggregators) to follow suit.

Six a month lost to suicide

“I’m very honoured to be asked to be the ambassador for this challenge,” Mr Cottam said.

“Invictus Australia approached me after I worked closely with them last year, and they were supportive of what I was doing. They asked if I’d like to become an ambassador and share my story with a wider audience via social media and videos. I didn’t hesitate.”

Six veterans die by suicide every month in Australia, while studies have shown that around three in four recently transitioned veterans have experienced a mental health condition at some stage in their lifetime.

Suicide rates are three times higher for involuntary discharge from service compared with voluntary discharge for ex-serving males.

There are around 60,000 men and women serving our country at any one time, with almost 600,000 veterans currently residing in Australia with their family members.

A community of runners

Alongside his running challenges and advocacy work for Invictus Australia, Mr Cottam has established a running club within Resimac, where a group of around 25 people run during the lunch hour twice a week.

He has set his sights on establishing a “Run Rocket Run” Run Club for the wider broking industry, with the support of Resimac’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) program.

“I wanted to get people out and about so they could network outside the office, while doing something for their mental and physical health,” Mr Cottam concluded.

Mr Cottam will continue to participate in races after his major challenge this year, in Sydney, Orange, and the Snowy Mountains.

To participate in the ZERO0600 challenge and/or donate, click here.

For more information about Run Rocket Run, click here.

If you are suffering from abuse, depression, or suicidal thoughts or you’re worried about someone else and feel professional support is needed, contact your local doctor or one of the 24/7 crisis agencies below:

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

If you are concerned for your immediate safety or the safety of others, call Triple Zero (000).