Queensland's most experienced provider of specialised education and therapy services for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Dedicated Dad to tackle 100km HerberTONNE trail in August

15th July, 2019








Clifton Beach father Leigh Johns says the thought of tackling the epic 100km HerberTONNE trail in August is ‘terrifying but it’s nothing compared to what my boy has been through.'

Leigh’s son Carter, 4, was born with a congenital heart disorder that required surgery when he was just five days old to replace the faulty valve.

Not long after his second birthday Carter was diagnosed with autism “and a whole new fight began”, said Leigh.

“Struggling with communication and expressing needs and feelings, his frustrations are well, understandable, but doesn’t make it any easier,” he said.

“What has made it easier has been the support we have received from Autism Queensland. Carter attends the Cairns early intervention program twice a week and absolutely loves it. It’s one of his favourite things to do and is doing so well with their help. 

“Autism Queensland is less talked about but touches so many families, so I wanted to do my bit to raise funds for autism services as well as awareness and understanding of autism.”

Leigh said he had previously run a couple of half marathons but “this is the first time I’ve gone anywhere near this far.” 

“Finishing this will be one of my greatest personal achievements, to go from being a track sprinter growing up at athletics to doing an ultra-marathon at 42 is a giant change.

“I’m planning on completing the 100km in around 18 hours but it will more than likely stretch out to around 20 to 22 hours of running. 

“Training has been about getting as much time on my feet as I can; five days a week runs of around 15 to 20km with about 700m of climbing, with one run a week for around six hours in the hills behind Cairns.” 

Leigh is well on his way to raising his target of $2,000 for Autism Queensland.

“I’m a train driver for Queensland’s most unique train, the Savannahlander, and I get to talk with passengers about Carter and the fundraiser.

“People have been generous and it’s certainly a humbling experience,” Leigh said.

You can support Leigh and Autism Queensland in the HerberTONNE on Saturday 3 August by pledging a donation here.