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Southern United defender commits to a cause other than football

Committing to a cause isn’t something that is hard to do for Southern United defender Reyne Black.

The four-time Mid North Coast Premier League winner with Forster-based club Wallis Lake played for six seasons between 2014 to 2020.

He admits he was lucky to have been part of four premiership-winning sides over that time.

The opportunity to play Coastal Premier League Men’s for new boys Southern United arose in 2022 which was too good to pass up.

But earlier this month he remained committed to a different cause – raising funds and awareness for people suffering from paralysis.

It’s why he took part in the Wings For Life World Run three years ago when friend Chey suffered a spinal cord injury.

The event is suited to anyone with any level of fitness – from people in wheelchairs to walkers and distance runners.

While the time of the race is less than ideal – it takes place at 9pm in eastern Australia on Mother’s Day – Black said it was the least anyone could do.

“There are plenty of excuses for people not to do it, but it’s that easy. It takes half an hour out of your life to raise a bit of money,” he said.

“It can be a test of fitness, but more importantly it’s to raise awareness that spinal cord injury can be curable.

“People see a wheelchair and think ‘it’s impossible’ and you can’t do anything, but we’re showing now with medical research that it can be, it’s just more about how much money does it cost.”

Since 2019 the event has grown from five people to more than 50 this year and the aim is for more than 100 next year.

The $15 entry fee is donated to the foundation.

Some people were caught after 35 minutes, while others were walking or running for more than 90 minutes.

The worldwide winner took more than four hours to be caught.

“It tells you every 500 metres that you click over and in terms of the Catcher Car it says ‘I’m three kilometres behind, I’m two-kilometres behind, I’m 200 metres behind’ and then it says ‘you’ve been caught, your race is over’. It’s all automated.”

He said his friend normally takes part in the event, but had recently had a baby so couldn’t this year.

She was pleased to see it starting to take off.

“It’s really important for her and her husband to see an end to spinal cord injuries being incurable,” Black said.

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