Dane steps over the halfway line

Dane Waites at Pildappa Rock, South Australia, earlier this week.

Dane Waites at Pildappa Rock, South Australia, earlier this week.

Dane Waites is continuing to go from strength to strength on his epic Perth2Pambula run.

Soon after passing through Ceduna last weekend, Dane passed the halfway point in his 4000km run, which is a truly remarkable achievement and the smile on his face told everyone that he was very proud of reaching this big milestone.

“My run is going well,” reports Dane. “I’ve passed halfway and am in South Australia at the moment. It rained last week, but it didn’t stop me at all. People stop to say hello and I tell them why I’m running from Perth to Pambula. I really like it when people from home stop to say hello when they’re passing by.”

With every step travelled, Dane is raising awareness about autism and mental health, and fundraising for autism research and Beyond Blue. The 43-year-old lives with autism and said it was important to raise money and awareness.

“It is all about getting the message out there and raising awareness.”

His mother, Junee Waites, is part of the support crew and said there had been great support during the run.

“There are not many families who don’t have some connection with autism and mental health issues and so they can identify and have helped where they can,” she said.

“Not many people think about the depression side of things which can go with autism and so we want to raise awareness about that too.”

Junee said her son’s biggest challenge in regards to his autism was communication which meant he has to keep a strong focus.

“Dane has a very engaging smile and he is very visual – he told me he sees sentences in pictures and not words.”

She said an aim was for people to not stereotype or presume, but to understand.

Leaving Perth on June 18, Dane has been covering between 40 and 50 kilometres a day with a rest day each Friday, which his Mum explained was not only a chance to rest but also designed to keep structure.

“Individuals on the autism spectrum like routine and while Dane is out of his routine at the moment we thought we’d keep some level of routine going.”

Dane said he was “born to run”, and that was helping his journey, while his mother added he has been running from the day he started to walk.

“I am really enjoying my run, running through different towns and seeing all the scenery,” Dane said. “The Nullarbor was a highlight for me and I loved the ‘90 Mile Straight’.”

Dane is due to arrive back in Pambula on September 30, where a big welcoming party awaits. He said the best way to donate to his cause was via the Perth2Pambula website and to also visit the Facebook page for updates.

“Dane can’t send a personal thank you to everybody who donates but he does see every personal message sent and is very grateful,” his Mum Junee said.