‘Man vs Beast’ raises over $7,000 for mental health

When you tell the owner of a greyhound ‘I can run faster than that!’, you better be able to back-up the talk.

The lads from Willow Grove Cricket Club who raised over $7,000 for mental health with a ‘Man vs Beast’ race enjoyed a well-earned evening at Sandown Park on Thursday night after their incredible fundraising effort.

The story began last November when the optimistic Pete Grima made the daring claim that he could comfortably outrun his mate’s greyhound, Celtic Gypsy, in a one-on-one race.

“We were having a drink one night and were giving our mate a bit of stick because his dog (Celtic Gypsy) had lost three in a row, so I told him that even I could beat her,”

“After that we all agreed to set up a race and have a bit of fun with it.”

The idea caught traction quickly and generated plenty of interest from surrounding communities – so much so that the lads saw potential to make a difference and raise funds and awareness for Mindfull Aus and mental health in general.

The men from Willow Grove have been advocates for mental health awareness for some time now, each having their own unique individual experiences to deal with. ‘The Roosters’, as they call themselves, meet regularly to talk out their issues and catch up with one another at ‘The Irish at Willow Grove’ pub – who hosted the event in-line with their grand opening.

The race format saw Celtic Gypsee start 150m away from the finish line, with Pete beginning from the 50m mark.

In what was the lowest class race of Celtic Gypsee’s career, a large crowd made their way to Willow Grove following a Saturday afternoon football game to witness the event.

Sure enough, Pete lived up to his word and beat Celtic Gypsy in the highly-anticipated race – with the slight help of a 100m head start!

“It was such a great day. The crowd was huge – they were all coming to watch me pull a hammy!”

“I was so sore from cricket that day and the wind was seriously blowing – I was surprised I held on. The best part was she (Celtic Gypsy) ran straight up to me after and we just cuddled.”

Following the race, the team at ‘The Irish at Willow Grove’ opened up the pub for food and drinks as well as some live music as the fundraiser continued with auctions.

Sandown Park contributed a package for a table of six, offering drinks and a three-course meal worth over $500 – It auctioned off for over $1300 thanks to the ‘The Roosters’!

The group of local legends used their package on Thursday night and got to see some seriously fast greyhounds in action – Pete wouldn’t have stood a chance.

The event gathered a grand total of $7,032 for Mindfull Aus in addition to the priceless effort to break down the stigma that still surrounds mental health.

“We challenge those of you who do struggle with your own mental health to seek out help, and those that don’t struggle as much, to assist those that do and get the help they need.”

Click here for more information on Mindfull Aus