Rob Kolbe celebrates his 50th birthday with a 50km run for refugees
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Location icon Australia

Rob’s 50km run for refugees

UNHCR supporter and avid runner Rob Kolbe celebrated his 50th birthday by running 50km across the Harbour City, fundraising for refugees along the way.

When did you start running?

I started running while I was at school. I enjoyed it but didn’t continue in my 20s and early 30s. I was always scared of running again because I knew I would take it too seriously. And when I did, I became obsessed. The journey involved pushing too hard, doing too much too fast and getting injured. I joined 40 half marathons the year I turned 40, which resulted in a stress fracture in my hip. In 2020, I was determined to be consistent, to do more slow running and just enjoy the process. I have not had an injury since then. My goal is to be fitter and faster at 50 than any other time, and I am on track. Recently, I set my personal best for a marathon.

What do you love about it?

I always feel good after a run, both physically and mentally. I love running with people and I love the communities I run with. I love achieving goals both personally and with others. Recently, I had the privilege of joining a mate who couldn’t run three years ago as he completed his first marathon. I witnessed another mate do his first marathon three weeks ago after a dedicated training block. I also ran with my niece as she did her first half marathon. I shed a tear on all three occasions.

I also love all the things you see when running. We do a sunset run on Sundays each week around the Headland National Park in Maroubra and I am always amazed by the changing environment and sunsets.

There is plenty more to love about running. I think the fact that it is hard makes it even more enjoyable. I am constantly inspired by anyone who runs — big, small, old or young. Running takes determination and effort. Every runner is an inspiration.

Rob Kolbe celebrates his 50th birthday with a 50km run for refugees
© Supplied
Rob finishes his 50km run at the Sydney Opera House.

Tell us about your 50km run. Why did you want to fundraise for refugees?

I really like to run and I really like to hang out with friends, especially while running. So, what better way to celebrate my 50th birthday than to combine those things and help others? Especially because I can do it along the spectacular coast of Sydney’s eastern beaches and finish at the Opera House.

Australia for UNHCR is such an incredible organisation, helping the most vulnerable people in such practical ways.

What would you say to other runners thinking about running for a cause?

Do it. It’s extra focus and motivation that makes running bigger than just yourself. There are so many great causes out there and even if it’s just a little bit, it is all helpful and appreciated.

Do you have any fundraising tips?

I just try to be genuine in sharing the why and if people can support the cause, my job is done.

Why do you think Australians should support this cause?

The stories UNHCR hears, and the circumstances refugees face are harrowing and simply terrible. Australia for UNHCR does an incredible job raising funds for this seemingly insurmountable need.

Are you interested in fundraising for UNHCR? Please click here for more information and helpful tips or contact us at [email protected].