By Stacey Leasca
January 15, 2020

By now, the world is well aware of the devastating fires raging across Australia. Thousands of homes have been lost, over one billion animals have died, and an untold number of humans have perished. To put it simply, Australia needs our help. Luckily, that’s as easy as lacing up your running shoes.

In an effort to make assisting and donating easier than ever, Melbourne-based ultramarathon runner, Samantha Gash, and Nic Davidson have created a virtual Relief Run that anyone in the world can partake in.

Smoke fills the sky from the back burning in the Nowra region of New South Wales on January 15, 2020.
| Credit: SAEED KHAN/Getty Images
Sedated Koalas sleep in baskets after being treated at a makeshift field hospital at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park on Kangaroo Island on January 14, 2020. - Hundreds of koalas have been rescued and brought to the park for treatment after bushfires ravaged the island off the south coast of Australia.
| Credit: PETER PARKS/Getty Images

From January 18 to January 19, runners, walkers, or anyone wanting to give can sign up for the global relief run and donate to an excellent cause. One hundred percent of the $50 AUD fee will go directly toward the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

A bushfire burning on the South Coast of New South Wales
| Credit: Getty Images

To take part in the race, participants can run or walk anywhere in the world at any time over the weekend. Participants can also choose between a 21.1-kilometer (half marathon) or five-kilometer option. As the duo says on the race page, “We welcome runners of all abilities to join us for this important cause.”

As of January 15, more than 9,400 people had signed up to run the race, raising more than $560,000 in the process.

The cause, the duo further explained, is the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, which has already deployed 1,285 trained staff and volunteers to disaster-affected communities in Australia.

“In more than 69 evacuation and recovery centers, the Red Cross emergency teams have been ready to welcome people who have fled from the fires,” the event page explained. “Ready to listen, ready to comfort. Ready to help arrange emergency accommodation or locate a missing loved one through their Register.Find.Reunite service.”

Taronga Zoo's Vet nurse Fle Evans releases a Red-Necked Wallaby joey from its pouch during a tour of the Taronga Zoo's Wildlife Hospital at Taronga Zoo on January 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The Federal Government has granted $1 million to support ongoing efforts to help conservation-based zoos like Taronga care for injured and displaced wildlife in the wake of the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia.
| Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

This service will continue to serve people until it's no longer needed. Sign up to run here.