“I’ve never run before”: The Western Sydney team hitting heartbreak hill to raise over $12,000 for kids affected by the criminal justice system

It’s been a hard six months of training for the DSE Transport team, who have been hitting the road early before work every week to get themselves fit and ready for the City2Surf today.

The runners, who’ve been training for the 14km course – all the way from Sydney CBD’s Hyde Park to Bondi Beach – said preparing for the race was a little easier knowing they were running for a great cause.

The Western Sydney-based business committed early in March to sponsoring their runners’ efforts, and collectively they’ve raised over $12,000 for SHINE for Kids to support programs for young people in Western Sydney with an incarcerated parent, as well as at-risk youth and young people transitioning out of custody.

“It was tough at the beginning,” Paul from DSE Transport told us before the weekend race. “I’m 50 and haven’t run for years… we were lucky to run 500m before this.”

“It was tough at the beginning – I’m 50 and haven’t run for years … we were lucky to run 500m before this.”

As a result of their training – three early mornings each week before work with his running mates – Paul (a Linehaul Manager at DSE Transport) lost around 15 kilos during preparation for race day. “It’s not only helping the cause; it’s helping us as well”.

Another team member, David (an IT Specialist), told us a few days before the race: “I’ve never run before.”

“At first, I said no … I’m not running, you know – I drive everywhere. But then, the boss said he was putting money towards SHINE for Kids for each runner. I looked into [SHINE for Kids] a bit more and I thought, you know what it’s a good cause – why not?”

Another runner and DSE Transport Operations Supervisor Josh told us on the morning of the race “I’d played soccer before … but nothing like this distance.”

“I’ve thought about throwing it in a few times; he told us, “but yeah – we got there.”

As a small charity, having this level of support from a local business like DSE Transport is a big milestone.

“Having a business get behind our cause, let alone put in all this training and effort to raise awareness for us, is huge,” said SHINE for Kids team member Rachel.

Fortunately, businesses like DSE Transport recognise the value of putting money back into the community and in a way that also builds community and comradery among the team. They’ve regularly supported charities for around seven years now, but this is the most they’ve raised to date.

“It gives these kids hope,” David told us, “and that gives us a bit more enthusiasm to run and represent the cause… doing it for kids who often fall through the gaps.”

SHINE for Kids runs several programs in Western Sydney including a well-being program for primary school children with a parent in prison and youth mentoring for young people transitioning out of custody or who are at risk of entering the justice system.

It’s an important issue in Western Sydney. Youth incarceration and intergenerational disadvantage are a challenge for many communities, and the stats overwhelmingly show that kids with a parent in prison are more likely to end up there themselves.

Over 52% of children in youth justice centres have had a parent in prison, a figure that is 66% for First Nations young people.

“It gives us a bit more enthusiasm to run … for kids who often fall through the gaps.”

“These kids are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” said SHINE for Kids CEO Julie Hourigan, who signed up to the City2Surf after she heard about DSE Transport’s efforts to fundraise for their charity.

“To have this sort of grassroots community support and acknowledgement of the important work we do is just incredible.”

DSE Transport Managing Director Ryan, who made the call to run the fundraiser and support SHINE for Kids, even went to the effort of organising a personal trainer for the running crew, who has been coaching them weekly in their prep for race day.

“The whole business has been supporting us,” David told us. Other members of DSE Transport, while not running, have been massively supportive of the runners and contributing to their fundraising page.

With the whole team behind them, they’ve made incredible progress. “In one of the first running drills, some of them had to walk,” personal trainer Simon told us. “They’ve come such a long way.”

DSE Transport spokesperson Kirsty told us that the runners “were really impressed by [SHINE for Kids]” the more they learned about our programs and work in the community.

“This is an issue people don’t really think about,” Kirsty said. “You know – the kids that get lost in the system … but now that it’s come to their attention … they’re pushing real hard. They have the mentality let’s run for these kids… it’s great to see.”

It’s really community-building to have local support for local challenges.

In the last couple of days before race day, she noted “They’re getting all jittery now” ahead of the race. “They’ve never run a distance like this before.”

“I’m excited, a little nervous,” Paul told us. “But we definitely know we can do it now”.

It’s been a remarkable journey. Not only are they conquering a physical challenge, but they’re making a real difference in the lives of those they’ve supported.

From never running before to getting up heartbreak hill in the challenging 14-kilometre course, it’s been a transformative experience for the runners.

Not only are they breaking personal barriers, but they are helping SHINE for Kids break the cycles of intergenerational disadvantage and offending in the community and continue supporting some of our most vulnerable children.

“We can’t wait to see them cross the finish line!”

If you are inspired by the efforts of DSE Transport and the work of SHINE for Kids, please consider donating to the DSE Transport Fundraising page or the City2Surf fundraiser set up by SHINE for Kids. It’s not too late, and all the money goes to important community work in Western Sydney.


At the finish line!

IMG 9757IMG 9757 finish line


“I’ve never run before”: The Western Sydney team hitting heartbreak hill to raise over $12,000 for kids affected by the criminal justice system

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At first, I said no … I’m not running, you know – I drive everywhere. But then … I looked into SHINE for Kids a bit more and I thought, you know what, it’s a good cause – why not?

David, DSE Transport