By day, she is a mild mannered administration clerk, mother and grandmother.
But one weekend a year, every year, Trish Sexton turns into a passionate motorist – and no she doesn’t make an annual pilgrimage to Bathurst.
Trish is an incredibly safety-conscious escort driver on the annual Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge – possibly the longest serving in that role. “I guess it’s just about doing my bit for the community,” the mother of three and grandmother of one said.
Each pack of about 20 cyclists on the annual ride is accompanied by pack leaders (fellow cyclists) front and rear, and an escort vehicle front and rear. The ride also is accompanied by three police who help ensure the safety of the riders and that non-involved traffic is not unduly held up.
Mrs Sexton rode the first Cardiac Challenge back in 2007 but a health issue means these days she’s behind the wheel, possibly even helping keep her husband Peter Sexton, a pack leader, safe. “I go to support him and I look at it as my doing a good deed,” Mrs Sexton said.
“You need to keep a cool head and really keep your wits about you – you’re looking in front of you, looking behind you, listening to the radio to see what other traffic is doing. It’s quite exhausting, spending a full day in the car driving and being on full alert like that. You need to think about what other traffic might be thinking and be empathetic to the riders as well,” she said.
“I like to be with the quicker packs because that means I don’t have to change gears as much.
And while not required to as an integral volunteer, Mrs Sexton has now started fundraising as well.
“We have friends with heart issues so it is a cause very dear to us,” she said.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the ride had raised more than $2.5 million for cardiac services since its inception.
“As this is our 10th year, we think it’s going to be pretty big,” Ms Duncombe said.
For further information visit www.cardiacchallenge.com.au.
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