Pete Wilson and his extraordinary accomplishments in pursuit of charity.
Pete is one of those unsung heroes that thinks nothing of what he does day by day other than it’s just another day.
Working for the Westmead’s Children’s Hospital as Major Support manager, Pete has devoted his working life to doing everything from generating recognition of and managing organ donors to acquiring corporate support and fundraising for the wellbeing of children.
As Pete is the kind of guy who never turns down a challenge- he was once dared by a mate to compete in an Ultra Marathon across the Gobi Desert. Without batting an eyelid he accepted the challenge and soon found himself on a journey that would take him across not one but five deserts over the following years and to a career as an Ultra marathon runner. Peter’s journeys have raised over $300,000.00 to help Westmead Children’s Hospital.
Last night I got to speak to Pete about these adventures, his involvement in the Charity Boxing Challenge 2011 and 2012, and about his ever growing family commitment to his loving wife Lani who is days away from the birth of their first child.
Thanks for your time Pete I know you’re a busy man, and congratulations as I understand you’re about to become a father?
“Yeah mate, we’re about to have our first child in the next week or so, I’m excited!”
That’s fantastic congrats to you both!
So, a little bit about your foot races (Ultra Marathons). Can you tell us where you have been?
“Yeah I’ve covered 5 deserts around the world. The Gobi desert, Sahara, Agave, Anacarva, Antartica and Yellow Knife up in the Northern Territories, it’s basically the last stop before the North Pole, up above Alaska.”
“The last one I did in Alaska I got hypothermia, Atrial fibrillation of my heart, and suffered severe frost bite. I managed to keep all my fingers and toes, but I still get monitored for the heart and I’ve had two major operations to fix it, but I did all that boxing training and stuff and never once was affected by it. I suppose boxing is a good thing if you can look at it in that sense. It keeps me fit, keeps me healthy.”
You seem like the kind of guy that goes out of his way to help others, is there anything that has happened in your life that has prompted you to do that?
“Nah, I just grew up like 400m from the kid’s hospital at Randwick and I just figured that I wanted to do everything I can to help. I got involved with Westmead and then I realised there was more I could do by doing crazy events for sponsors. When my mate and I did our first run across China we were probably the first or second Aussies to ever go and do it and now it’s become one of the things that’s on everyone’s to do list. To all those guys who dream about doing something like this I say just do it. My life has been an amazing and I aim to keep going on these adventures, but life has moved on to different challenges for me too”.
So you have competed in both our Charity Boxing events both 2011 and 2012. Can you tell me a little about these?
” I’ve done the two for Matt and Owen Gardner , (so the 2 Kick tactics ones) and one other one for the Fiji rugby league team. My first was The Charity Boxing Challenge 2011, I also did one when they needed a replacement for the Fiji rugby league team about 8 weeks after my first fight.”
So what motivated you to get involved with Charity boxing?
“Peter Morrison first approached me about it. I’ll put my hand up for pretty much anything for charity, and when I saw the blokes doing it back in 2011 I walked around the corner to Kick Tactics and couldn’t wait to get in there. I got some really great mates out of it too.”
What sort of training did you do in the lead up to the event?
“I was doing as much as I could. I trained with Matt and Owen like 5 times a week if I could get there. I was doing a bit of running but I’m sort of limited to what I can put myself through because of the heart problem. If I’m going to run, I wanna run for like 5 hours, not just for an hour or so.”
How does boxing compare to running an ultra marathon?
“Oh mate, it’s completely different. They’re both individual events I suppose but being out in the desert you’ve got no one but yourself. Fighting in the ring, you’ve got yourself but you’ve also got Matt and Owen in your corner plus your friends and family there supporting you. They are both amazing experiences! Most of my life I’ve spent out in the middle of nowhere dodging camels and God knows whatever else.” (laughter)
How did you feel the first time you got in the ring?
“I was nervous! Nervous as all hell, but mate I felt the emotion of it all, it was such a big build up, I always wanted to do it and the first time I ever done was probably incredible to have your family and all your mates there and witness something that was so big and to raise the sort of money that they did.”
You have been involved with events that have fundraised for Network Kokoda, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Bowel Cancer Australia and McGrath Foundation. How does it feel to know you have helped so many people, and is this part of your motivation to get involved?
“Um yeah, but I was also just looking for something else to do. I was raising money for Children’s Hospital in Randwick so when Pete asked me about it I was the first one to put my hand up and say yeah, 100 percent. I think I’m that guy that when people are looking for something stupid that needs to be done, they come to me.”
Honest and modest mate, I love it!
Do you have any advice to give to people who are considering taking part in this year’s event?
“Take part, it’s like life changing. Not only to benefit yourself but the benefit that you give to the charity that they support. Charity’s are fighting for a dollar these days so anyone that puts their hand up and does something for charity is making a world of difference”.
“A lot of guys these days have big bucket lists of things o achieve- like run a marathon or have a box or do something like that and they seem to find work or dramas that seem hold them back. There’s always something that anyone can do these to help. I noticed that more and more women are getting interested in the sport too, and I think that’s great. Last year I think Natalie and Kayleen’s fight was probably the best fight of the night, it was an incredible battle, so yeah if girls wanna do it, jump in!”
So what’s next for the Adventures of Pete Wilson and your pursuit of charity?
“I’m keen to do Molokai one year, it’s a stand up paddle board race from Molokai to Oahu Hawaii. I’m definitely keen to do that and depending on family, and you gotta look after them first, I’d love to the race across America on a push bike too”. “There’s all sorts of different stuff but we’ll just have to wait and see”.
*If you would like to be involved in this years Charity Boxing Challenge please email matt@kicktactics or call 1300 FIT FOR LIFE for further information.