After retiring from AFL football at the conclusion of the 2018 season and appearing on Australian Survivor this year, Shaun Hampson is set to take on his greatest physical challenge when he attempts to run 60km in one day for Movember’s MOVE campaign.
As a professional athlete for the better part of 11 years and a contestant on this year’s season of Australian Survivor: Champions versus Contenders, Shaun Hampson is accustomed to challenging himself both physically and mentally.
You can donate to Shaun’s Movember campaign here.
Thirty-two days in the Fijian jungle and countless AFL pre-seasons have been preparing Hampson for his next challenge: running 60km on November 30 for Movember’s MOVE campaign.
Movember’s MOVE campaign encourages individuals to run 60km over the course of November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, but the former Carlton and Richmond ruckman felt that feat wouldn’t challenge him enough.
“I don’t like doing easy and so I thought why not do it all in one whack and really challenge myself,” Hampson told aflplayers.com.au ahead of his run.
Hampson is passionate about raising funds for, and awareness of, men’s physical and mental health following his father Tom’s passing in 2014 following a six-year battle with prostate cancer.
“I want people to start having conversations, opening up and feeling comfortable talking about their mental and physical health,” he said.
“My Dad put off seeing the doctor for six months… if he went a bit earlier he could probably still be here today.”
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60km in day… As an official ambassador for @movember again this year, I wanted to change things up a bit. Another initiative movember have is called MOVE. It asks participants to run or walk 60km over the course of November to symbolise the 60 men that take their life every hour around the world. I wanted to up the ante just a bit though and do the 60km in a day. The run will take place on the 30th of November, somewhere is Melbourne. I’ll be documenting the run as best I can through periodic updates via Instagram but if you have rocks in your head like me and think it’s a good idea to run 60km feel free to join in. All I ask if you do come along is that you either donate or fundraise yourself. My goal this year is $10k. As wonderful as the donations are, getting guys to talk openly and honestly about their health is so much more important to me. If doing this run prompts one man to speak openly about their health then I would consider the run worth it. If you’d like to help out you can find my mospace link to donate on my profile page.
After deciding only two months ago to complete his own version of an ultra-marathon, Hampson engaged professional endurance athlete and former Australian Survivor (2017) contestant Samantha Gash to assist and prepare him in his quest.
Gash, who became the first woman to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam (four 250km desert ultramarathons in one calendar year), has been a strong sounding board for Hampson.
“She was a little hesitant at first but Samantha thinks I can get there although I’ll be sore for weeks after,” Hampson said.
“There’s nothing stopping me doing it and at the end of the day. If I can’t run I’ll walk and if I can’t walk I’ll crawl to the finish line.”
Post-football, Hampson estimates he was running around 3km per week, but in the last six weeks since commencing training he is now running closer to 40km per week to build his endurance base.
“As a footballer you don’t do those long, conditioning runs… you might run 10km or 15km a game but it’s stop-start” he explained.
“It’s remarkable how quickly your body adapts to the distance and fitness required.”
While his family and friends are supportive of Hampson’s endeavour, it hasn’t been without some shocked responses.
“People think I’m an idiot and, you know what, they’re probably right,” he joked.
Despite some people concerned with Hampson’s ability to finish the run, he believes his time on Australian Survivor and in the AFL system has equipped him with the right mindset to overcome the physical exhaustion he will face.
In his last two seasons of AFL, Hampson was restricted to zero games of senior football as a result of injuries and form.
Spending significant periods of time in the rehab group and away from main training meant he had to tap into his mental strength and ability to push his body beyond limits.
“I was pushed to places I have never been before both physically and mentally when I was in rehab,” Hampson said.
“To then get a chance to go on Survivor and play a game where your life hangs in the balance of whether or not you can hold onto a 60kg weight longer than somebody else, you have to find a different headspace to tap into.”
Hampson, who will be supported by his wife Megan and two children River and Rosie, is expecting to have some familiar faces running alongside him for periods of his journey.
Current Richmond players Alex Rance and Shane Edwards along with former Tiger Ivan Maric (now in a Player Development Role at the Tigers) have all expressed their interest in joining Hampson to help keep his mind fresh.
“I don’t know if they’re all talk but it’ll be great to have their support and make the run go a bit quicker,” he said.
Throughout his career and experience on Survivor, Hampson has learnt more about himself than what he could have ever imagined.
“I’ve realised recently that I have to challenge myself, to be pushed in some way to fulfil that side of me,” he said.
“Even though in this run I’ll be competing against myself, I feel like it’s something I have to achieve.”
You can donate to Shaun’s Movember campaign here.