It was a run that helped Noriaki Sahashi decide what to do with a large cash prize that came his way after the HBF 3 Waters Running Festival held in Bunbury on April 10.
Nori was one of five Japanese runners to visit Bunbury for the races which were hosted by the Bunbury Runners Club.
It was during a training run the day before his event that he saw something that got him thinking.
What he did about it earns him a place in the city’s heart.
Nori was hoofing it past the Graham Bricknell Sound Shell when he noticed some people who appeared to be living rough.
So when he won a $500-dollar spot prize at the Runners Club presentation, he told club president Pam Turner that he wanted to donate the money to help homelessness in Bunbury.
While his time in the race wasn’t the best, Nori steps onto the winner’s podium with his performance.
Runner Allan Whitfield said, “Nori naturally warmed the hearts of us all, it’s a really a wonderful gesture.”
But the wonderful gestures don’t end there.
Ms Turner announced the club’s intention to match Nori’s donation and give the money to the Salvation Army to buy swags and food to help Bunburyites in need sleep a little easier.
“Nori specifically wanted to help the homeless in Bunbury and we knew that the Salvation Army would make good use of the donation locally,” she said.
The Salvation Army estimates that almost 100,000 Australians are homeless on any given night and that the largest single cause of homelessness is domestic violence affecting predominantly women and children.
Lieutenant Harriet Farquhar told the Mail the Runners Club was a long-time supporter.
“But we were totally blown away by Nori’s generosity and we’re going to use that money very specifically in a useful way,” she said.
“A lack of affordable housing is having a direct impact on the frequency and type of homelessness we’re seeing, or we’re seeing men who have kids in Bunbury and want to maintain contact with them rather than move away, even if it means sleeping rough.
“For every person you see on the street there are two or three in cars, buildings or in the bush hoping the police don’t come and move them on, and you have to remember that it’s not one factor that makes someone homeless and it’s not one factor that gets them out of it.”
Those wishing to donate time or services can contact the Bunbury Corps on 9791 5200.
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