On Sunday 15 November, a team of us will be doing the 21 kilometre Point to Pinnacle run in Hobart to raise money for World Vision.
The team will be running in honour of my grandfather, Keith Leigh, a Methodist Minister who died while running up Mt Wellington in 1970. Keith was raising money for the “Methodist Million”.
Registrations for the run opened on 1 August, and are likely to fill up within a few weeks. If you would like to join the run, please register here (choosing 'Keith Leigh Runners' as your team), and then email [email protected] to let me know you're on board.
A Mercury writeup of the story is here, and more information about Keith is below.
Rev. Keith Leigh was a leader of the Methodist Church of Victoria and Tasmania. Keith was strongly committed to helping others in need, both locally and internationally. He was an active supporter of the Methodist Million campaign, an overseas aid program that supported training at a Fijian Agricultural School, a Tongan Technical workshop, Papua-New Guinea fisheries, Tongan Beef Cattle as well as projects in the Philippines, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Ceylon and the Middle East.
After serving in the Pacific War theatre, his passion for meaningful development never waned. Keith was an active member of St. Stephen's Harriers. As a long-distance runner, and former record-holder, he organised a 24 hour runathon in Melbourne to help reach the million dollar aid target. That amount was a most ambitious goal in the 1960s.
In 1970 the Methodist Church held its annual conference in Hobart, for the first time in many years. At the conclusion of the Conference, Keith arranged for a run from the Springs to the summit of Mt. Wellington, the majestic and tranquil mountain overlooking Hobart. The run was to raise funds for the Methodist Million, was publicized by Hobart TV, and sponsored by a number of Tasmanians, including the Cascade Brewery. Cascade sponsorship contained a nice irony, given the Methodist “wowser” image at that time.
On October 22, 1970 a snow storm hit the mountain during the run, and Keith died running -- not far short of the Summit. His death was reported on the front page of the Hobart Mercury the next day – though in a further irony, the paper erroneously said that he had been doing the run as a “wager” (Methodists had a strong aversion to gambling!).