Isak Ketsakidis runs from Wollongong to Greenfield Park to Assyrian community

'I like to help': Isak Ketsakidis has been running ultra-marathons for charity for the last 20 years. His two-day run to Greenfield Park will be his final run.

'I like to help': Isak Ketsakidis has been running ultra-marathons for charity for the last 20 years. His two-day run to Greenfield Park will be his final run.

Isak Ketsakidis was hurting from head to toe.

His hamstrings were about to explode and he was experiencing sunburn (yes, in the middle of winter). 

Pain filled his entire body after running from Wollongong to Greenfield Park at the weekend to raise money for the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO).

But, in what was his final charity fun run, the 43-year-old said one thing was driving him to make it to Greenfield Park's St Hurmizd Cathedral.

“As much as I was hurting, it’s nothing compared to what the Assyrian community have gone through and what are still going through for being persecuted for their Christianity in Iraq and Syria,” he said.

“I was determined to finish the run. I have wanted to do it for two years as an extension of goodwill from the Greek Pontian community.

“I was carrying a heavy heart thinking about the Assyrian community and as I was running through Fairfield people were reacting to that. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Running for charity is nothing new for the Melbourne man. After battling illness early in his life he has spent the past 20 years running marathons to support the people who helped him.

His latest and final reason to trap on the running shoes came out of learning of the Assyrian situation via social media.

Strong bond: Isak Ketsakidis and local political candidate Milan Maksimovic display their counties flags. Milan helped Isak on the second leg of his run.

Strong bond: Isak Ketsakidis and local political candidate Milan Maksimovic display their counties flags. Milan helped Isak on the second leg of his run.

“I follow the Assyrian community through the churches on Facebook and attended some functions and met the young community and decided to do something,” he said.

“That’s the only way I know how to show my love of the community through my running.

“It made sense to finish at St Hurmizd Cathedral because of the large Assyrian community in Fairfield.”

He began his two-day journey from Wollongong at 9.30am on Saturday and arrived at Engadine at 3.30pm.

On Sunday, he began the second leg of the quite immense journey at 10am before making it to the Assyrian church at Greenfield Park at 4.15pm. 

Mr Ketsakidis said he hopes to raise $20,000 help the Assyrian community in their time of need.