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Bryce’s Brissy birthday extravaganza – 60 years, 60 kilometres, 60 friends


We’re unsure if this balloon arch in Brisbane’s CBD was put up in honour of Major Bryce Davies’ birthday, but it didn’t matter!

BY LAUREN MARTIN

 

There may never have been a birthday party quite like it!

 

Major Bryce Davies recently turned 60, and to mark the occasion he devised an ambitious plan: to run for 60 kilometres through Brisbane with 60 friends.

 

He decided to link his regular running trails and local park-run course, but that’s not all – he invited all his buddies (runners and non-runners) along for the fun!

 

Bryce is a keen runner and loves to join and create healthy communities as part of his role as a Salvation Army Faith Communities Development Coordinator in Queensland.

 

“I was fearful that 60 kilometres was just too far for me, and so I knew I would need a lot of encouragement,” he said.


Friends from as far as Melbourne, Sydney and Wollongong joined Major Bryce Davies on his ‘60km for 60 years’ birthday run in Brisbane on 4 May.

So, months before the event, friends, family and people from the multiple running groups that Bryce attends received a message inviting them to ‘sign up’ for Bryce’s birthday.


Upon clicking into this strange request, the invitee was taken to a spreadsheet where they could nominate which parts of the 60km route they would like to run (or walk), what checkpoints they could attend to cheer the runners on and enjoy cake and refreshments (there was even a Salvos coffee van involved!) and, of course, how they could purchase an event t-shirt.

 

Participants were also encouraged to donate to The Salvation Army’s ‘Houses of Hope’ project in Brisbane. 


Sixty runners joined Major Bryce Davies throughout the day during his 60km birthday run.

The day finally came, and it was an extravaganza like none other! Sixty people took part in the course from three different Brisbane running groups, as well as people from Streetlevel Salvos, Bayside Salvos, North Brisbane Salvos, the Salvos Recycled Bike Workshop and other groups Bryce is a part of, including Carindale Rotary Club, the Men’s Walk and Talk group and the Watson Street Community Garden.

 

The youngest participant was nine, and the oldest was over 80!

 

Bryce, who sported a pink tutu during his run, said there were many highlights from the day, including a surprise marching band at the Thompson Running Club oval that played the Rocky theme music as Bryce and his crew ran through.

 

“The support from my daughters (Eliza and Georgia) and their partners (Alex and Tracie) was epic,” he said. “Best support crew and event organisation I could have hoped for!” The catering was also ‘next level’, with birthday cakes at every checkpoint, a sausage sizzle and an endless supply of chips and lollies!


Major Bryce Davies’ ministry is to build Kingdom Communities within existing groups and organisations. His birthday run combined different running groups that he is part of from Brisbane.

Participants experience


One participant, Kristen, met Bryce at the Toohey Trotters running group and said it was really special to celebrate Bryce’s birthday with him.

 

“This is amazing, and it’s such a reflection of Bryce to bring all of these people together – and the spirit of generosity ... there is so much food, there’s music, there is just a lot of joy, and it is a great honour to be here with Bryce. He is really inspiring. He inspired me to do a 50km run for my 50th birthday actually!”

 

Another participant, Tara, says Bryce is an inspiration. She met him through the Toohey Trotters running group, and now they co-host a trail-running podcast together. “It’s something I had wanted to do for a while and then when Bryce and I were talking, we thought we should just do it together!”


At the end of a 12-hour, 60-kilometre run, Major Bryce Davies jumped straight into the South Bank public lagoon pool!  

Participant Adrian met Bryce at TEEs running club and says he and his teenage daughter love running with Bryce. “Bryce is so easy to talk to and get along with … we just struck up a conversation and friendship from there.”

 

Bryce says there is great power in community, and his 60th birthday showcased this. “My ministry as a Salvo officer includes a passion to help build community in existing groups and to help nurture the culture of love and support that reflects the unconditional love of Christ,” he said. 

 

“This event demonstrated to me that this strategy bears fruit and achieves the sorts of Kingdom outcomes that are plain to see and make an impact. It is my hope that my life is a witness to the way of Jesus and encourages people to live with the same sort of spirit and to be curious about how this might play out in their lives, too.”

 

Fellow Salvation Army officer Major Brad McIver agrees, saying, “One of the reasons I wanted to come today was to meet all of these great people because wherever he goes, Bryce is a real connector of people, so that’s the thing I love the most.” 


A cake to celebrate Major Bryce Davies’ 60th birthday during his 60km running event.

The event raised more than $2500 for the ‘Houses of Hope’ project, a Salvation Army initiative to secure private rental accommodation for suitable applicants in need, with a commitment to assist that person for 12 months with a rental subsidy.

 

“During that time, the person lives in a safe environment with wrap-around support from a Salvation Army case management team,” says Bryce, adding that he has personally met some of the recipients of the ‘Houses of Hope’ support and has been greatly encouraged by the ministry, which results in transformed lives.

 

Bryce says he couldn’t have pulled off his ‘60kms for 60 years’ birthday running event without the support of his wife, Sue (left), and his daughter, Eliza.



 

 

 

 


 

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