Deborah De Williams
|Deborah De Williams|
Deborah De Williams
|Born||Deborah Anne Cook|
10 September 1969
Perth, Western Australia
|Residence||Hobart, Tasmania, Australia|
|Other names||Deborah Anne Drogemuller|
|Alma mater||Monash University|
Founder of cancer charity Running Pink
|Known for||First woman to walk around Australia|
First woman to run around Australia
Breast Cancer campaigner
Deborah Anne De Williams AM (born 10 September 1969) is an Australian, world record holding ultra-marathon athlete, motivational speaker, philanthropist, is the first woman to run around Australia, is the founding director of the charity Running Pink, and a passionate breast cancer campaigner.
Deborah De Williams was born in Perth, Western Australia, the only daughter of immigrant parents Karin Haufe (born in Germany) and Terry Cook (born in Estonia). In 1973 De Williams' parents moved the family to Adelaide, South Australia. During the same year her parents separated which resulted in a divorce in 1974. De Williams' mother remarried Owen Drogemuller in 1976 and De Williams and her older brother Adam changed their surname by Deed Poll to Drogemuller.
De Williams was interested in sport from an early age, and dreamed of becoming an Olympic basketball player. During her school years she played competition basketball at school (Nailsworth PS), district (Port Adelaide), and state (South Australia) levels. Unfortunately, De Williams fell during a competition game at age 12, resulting in a serious knee injury that ended her Olympic basketball dreams. After the accident De Williams became interested in long distance walking and running.
In 1997, De Williams graduated from Monash University, with an Honours Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) from the Faculty of Art & Design. In the same year she married artist, Glyn Martin Williams and changed her surname to De Williams.
De Williams' volunteer community activities have included being a Lifeline counsellor, holding positions on various art gallery committees and raising funds for charity by participating in over one hundred marathons, half marathons and fun runs.
In 2001, De Williams participated in her first ultra marathon and started planning her first ultra marathon charity adventure.
During De Williams’s athletic career she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities in Australia through various long distance walking and running events.
In March 2006, the same day De Williams ran in the Commonwealth Games Queen Baton Relay in Melbourne she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment De Williams founded the charity Running Pink and embarked on another circumnavigation of Australia on foot, this time to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
De Williams is the only person who has both run and walked around Australia
In Jan 2015, De Williams was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, for significant service to the community through contributions to a range of cancer support organisations, and to ultra marathon running.
Walk Around Australia, Oct 2003 – Oct 2004
On Friday 17 October 2003, De Williams left Melbourne, Victoria to attempt to become the first female to walk around Australia and to break the longest continuous walk record set by Nobby Young in 1993/1994. Under the rules of the continuous walk record, the athlete must travel the whole distance on foot, must walk every day (no days off) with a minimum daily requirement of 20 kilometres.
During Walk around Australia – A journey for kids, De Williams walked in a clockwise direction, mainly following the National Highway 1, route. The walk raised funds for Kids Helpline, a free, 24-hour counselling service for young people aged 5–25 years.
On 23 September 2004, at 4.45am (AEST), in Martin Place, Sydney, De Williams after walking 15,644 km in 343 days broke Nobby Young's previous 1994 record for the longest continuous walk.
After breaking the record in Sydney, De Williams continued to walk back to Melbourne where on 15 October 2004, after walking 16,925 km in 365 days, De Williams established a new world walk record and become the first female to walk continuously around Australia.
Run around Australia – 1st attempt, Oct 2008 - June 2009
A breast cancer diagnosis in 2006 drove Deborah to attempt to become the first female to run continuously around Australia.
On 25 October 2008, De Williams set out from Hobart, Tasmania to run continuously around Australia and to break Sarah Fulcher's record for the longest continuous run by a female. Under the rules of the continuous run record, the athlete must travel the whole distance on foot and is required to run every day, no days off, with a minimum daily requirement of 20 kilometres.
During Running Pink – Running for a cure, De Williams ran in an anti-clockwise direction, mainly following the National Highway 1. The run raised funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, after running through Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Queensland, De Williams tripped over her running companion, Border Collie, Maggie, in Elliott, Northern Territory causing serious injury to both feet. De Williams ran a further 864 km to Darwin before learning that she had broken both navicular bones in her feet and that surgery would be required.
On 6 June 2009 at GPS co-ordinates S 13° 03.130’ E 131°06.663’, De Williams ended her attempt to run around Australia after 224 days and 10,824.8 km. Even though the first attempt was disrupted, De Williams raised over $100,000 for the National Breast Cancer foundation and became the first female to run from Hobart (the southernmost capital city in Australia) to Darwin (the northernmost capital city in Australia).
Run around Australia – 2nd attempt, March 2010 – May 2011
On 27 March 2010, after recovering from surgery to both feet, De Williams started her second attempt from Hobart, Tasmania to become the first female to run continuously around Australia and raise funds for breast cancer research. De Williams ran in the opposite direction from her first attempt, travelling clockwise through Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
On 4 October 2010, at 5.35am (ACST) after running 192 days and 8839.4 km De Williams reach GPS co-ordinates S 13° 03.130’ E 131°06.663’ the point where she had abandoned her run in 2009. At this point De Williams became the first female to run the around Australia, non–continuously.
De Williams continued back down the east coast of Australia, along the same route she travelled on her first attempt. During her run down the east coast De Williams braved extreme heat, a tropical cyclone on Christmas Day 2010 in Townsville and the devastating 2010-2011 Queensland Floods.
On 6 May 2011, at 1.12pm (AEST) after running 17925 km in 405 days, at GPS co-ordinates S 42° 46.435’ E 147°07.591’, De Williams broke Sarah Fulcher's 21 year record for the longest continuous run by a female. De Williams then continued to run for another two days, finally completing her run around Australia on 8 May 2011, at the Hobart Mothers' Day Classic.
During both attempts to run around Australia, De Williams raised over $200,000 for breast cancer research and her journey gave hope to breast cancer sufferers, inspired survivors that there is life after cancer, and honoured those who lost their lives to the disease.
In 2006, De Williams was diagnosed with breast cancer. As she underwent treatment De Williams decided to establish Running Pink. Running Pink is a nonprofit organization with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status that raises funds for breast cancer research, awareness and survivorship programs.
Other ultra marathon achievements
- October 2005, 1st female and 2nd overall, Adelaide Self-Transcendence National 12-Hour Championships.
- August 2006, 1st female, Gold Coast 48 Hour National Championships.
- December 2005, Winner Solo Handicap, Bruny Island 64 km Ultra Marathon.
- November 2004, Under 35 Australian 6 day walking record.
- March – April 2007, De Williams and fellow ultra marathon friend Vlastik Skivril ran 1270 km around Tasmania in 25 days. They raised over $10,000 for Camp Quality. De Williams began this run only 7 weeks after completing breast cancer treatment.
- Walk Around Australia - Karin Drogemuller, Owen Drogemuller, Glyn De Williams. Kt McLorinan, Merienne Shortridge, Alistair Cameron
- Run Around Australia 1st Attempt - Karin Drogemuller, Owen Drogemuller, Glyn De Williams, Alistair Cameron
- Run Around Australia 2nd Attempt - Karin Drogemuller, Owen Drogemuller, Glyn De Williams, Merienne Shortridge, Alistair Cameron
- January 2015, Awarded the Member of the Order of Australia, for significant service to the community through contributions to a range of cancer support organisations, and to ultra marathon running.
- March 2013, Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women - Inductee for Service to the Community, Sport and Recreation
- September 2012, Tasmanian Pride of Australia - Courage Medal.
- March 2012, Endurance Fundraiser of the Year Award 2011, National Breast Cancer Foundation, 2011 Patron Awards.
- De Williams was selected as one of the entrants to the Who’s Who of Australian Woman 2012 edition.
- January 2012, nominee, National Trust of Australia, Australian Living Treasures.
- October 2011, Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards – Outstanding Achiever Award.
- November 2010, Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2011.
- November 2004, Cliff Young Award for most courageous athlete.
- Rachel, Wells (16 October 2004). "March ends in October – after 365 days on the trot". The Age.
- "Our Baton Heroes". Herald Sun. 16 March 2006.
- Morley, Harriet (February 2010). "Heroes of Running". Runner’s World Magazine.
- Vowles, Gill (12 May 2010). "Marathon of joy and pain". The Mercury.
- "Australian Day Council, November 2010, Media release". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012.
- "Walk around Australia – Journey for kids - walk itinerary". Archived from the original on 21 March 2012.
- "About Deborah De Williams & the walk around Australia". Archived from the original on 21 March 2012.
- "Walking Record Broke". Sydney Morning Herald. 23 September 2004.
- "Walk on the Wild Side". Herald Sun. 15 October 2004.
- Deery, Shannon (14 December 2008). "effort for cancer aid". Herald Sun.
- Burdon, Hilary (November–December 2008). "Running For Pink". Tasmanian Life Lifestyle Magazine.
- "About Us".[permanent dead link]
- Carter, Matt (April–May 2009). "Round Oz Epics". Outer Edge Magazine.
- Barry, Evonne (6 April 2010). "Busted Feet, No worries?". Herald Sun.
- Essam, Phil. "Deb De Williams stops run around Australia attempt". Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- Henke, Fran (6 October 2009). "Deborah takes a break". Frankston Weekly. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012.
- "Deborah De Williams World Record Run Around Australia - itinerary".[permanent dead link]
- "Deborah De Williams runs around Australia RunningPink1". Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- Betts, Alyssa (7 October 2010). "Step aside Forest Gump". Northern Territory News.
- Gazlett. "Deborah De Williams runs around Australia RunningPink2".
- "Deb's record run for breast cancer". Sunrise. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011.
- "Tennant Creek to Darwin". Making Tracks, Episode 7, Channel 10. 8 January 2011. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012.
- Schmidt, Lucinda (23 March 2011). "Money Section Profile: Deborah De Williams". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Stafford, Lizzie (10 February 2011). "Running Into the Record Books". The Courier Mail.
- Wilson, Rae (4 February 2011). "Flood tale touches runners heart". Sunshine Coast Daily.
- Richards, Blair (1 May 2010). "A fund of Good Feeling". The Mercury.
- Hope, Emma (7 May 2010). "Fund run world record". The Mercury.
- "Woman of Courage - Record breaking runner". Sunrise. 9 May 2011.
- Norris, Megan (October 2011). "I ran around Australia". New Idea Magazine.
- Norris, Megan (2012). Pink: The Deborah De Williams Story. Five Mile Press. ISBN 9781743006894.
- Williams, Sue (October 2010). "Triumph over Adversity". Pink Magazine.
- "Pink – Running for a cure".
- "Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Australia". Sri Chinmoy 12-Hour Results 2005.
- "Bruny Island Ultra Marathon - Solo Hall of Fame".
- "AURA – Australian Records". ultra marathon association. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012.
- Skvaril, Vlastik. "Ultra marathon with purpose – Run around Tasmania". Retrieved 25 April 2007.
- "Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division" (pdf). Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2015. p. 25. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- "Australia Day 2015: Deborah Anne De Williams AM". The Mercury. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women". Tasmanian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
- "Tassie Heroes' Time to Shine". The Mercury. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- "National Breast Cancer Foundation, 2011 Patron's Awards" (PDF). Media Release. March 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2012.
- Reinhold, Leigh (30 January 2012). "Australia's next national Living Treasures". Woman's Day Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012.
- "Community Achievement Awards". Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
- "Nomination". Examiner Newspaper. 17 June 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
- Caruana, Patrick (19 January 2011). "De Williams A Tireless Campaigner". Australian Associated Press. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012.
- "The 19th Cliff Young Australian 6-Day Race". World Run Project. Retrieved August 9, 2018.