Sydney: Former Australian cricket great Allan Border set off on Monday on a 1,000- kilometer (600-mile), month-long trek up Australia's east coast to raise money for sick and troubled children.
Prime Minister John Howard was on hand for the send-off as Border, 47, left the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) headed for Brisbane, where he hopes to arrive during a break in play in the first Ashes Test between Australia and England on November 7. "I gather there's a fair bit of pain involved, but it's for the right reasons so I'll just have to grin and bear it," Border said before heading off. During a professional career that spanned more than 20 years, 10 of them as captain of Australia's Test team, Border ran up a record 11,174 Test runs and a batting average of 50.56 Before setting off on Monday, Border said he had been inspired to do something for children's charities by English cricket all-rounder Ian Botham and his work for leukaemia research. His trek will raise money for charities helping children with cancer, diabetes and disabilities and a group working with troubled youth. Border will be joined on various parts of his walk by several other well-known Australian sports figures, including rugby league and rugby union greats David Campese, Mal Meninga, Phil Kearns, John Eales and Nick Farr-Jones and world surfing champion Layne Beachley. Howard accompanied Border for a few minutes at the start of the trek, calling the former Test captain "one of the great cricketing icons of this country" and an "all- round good bloke."
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