Riding with purpose

28 September 2012

What an Olympian decides to do after the Games are over says a lot about their character. Some seamlessly slip back into the arms of family and friends, return to work, uni or even school with Olympic gravitas, and for many it is hard to weigh up the options of where to go or what to do next.

For Australia’s male modern pentathlon representative Ed Fernon, riding his horse the 1100km journey from Braidwood NSW to Melbourne seems like the perfect choice.

Fernon endeavours to replicate the tale of Archer, a famous racehorse and the inaugural winner of the Melbourne Cup who is said to have been walked from NSW to Melbourne to win the Cup in 1861.

Evidence indicates the legend may be a myth, but that just spurs challenge-hungry Fernon even more- that, and raising awareness for a cause close to his heart: depression.

After seeing his mother suffer from depression for over ten years, Fernon is determined to raise money for the Black Dog Institute- a leader in advancing the understanding, diagnosis and management of mood disorders by raising education and training standards and research.

“I am driven to do this because a close family member has suffered from depression over the last ten years. Following the Legend of Archer will raise funds for the Black Dog Institute, an educational, research and clinical facility offering specialist expertise in mood disorders,” the 24-year-old said.

Less than four years ago Fernon was an average college kid at Sydney University with what could have been dubbed a “crazy” dream to become an Olympian. He picked the five-discipline sport of modern pentathlon having never tried fencing or shooting before in his life. Less than two months ago Fernon lined up at the London Olympic Games where the slogan read “Inspire a Generation.”

Fernon finished 27th at the Games, but like so many athletes, the road just to get to the Games was monumental itself. Now Fernon, a former jackaroo, will ride across Australia’s toughest mountain terrain.

The course begins on October 1st at Archer’s birthplace at Jembaicumbene just outside of Braidwood, Fernon will then ride along the National Bicentennial Trail at Yarralumla and then on to Melbourne in time for the Melbourne Cup on November 6th.

Deputy Chef de Mission of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team and modern pentathlon Olympian Kitty Chiller will accompany Fernon for a small part of his trip.

You can follow the journey at the website:

Taya Conomos