It was a tough week for Geelong’s Clinton Meehan when we spoke with him in January. The fifth anniversary of his stepbrother Lewis’ passing and a time of mixed emotions. Lewis Marnell was a professional skateboarder for both Nike SB Team and Almost Skateboards, and his crew and fans definitely haven’t forgotten the Aussie legend. To mark the milestone, Nike released a Lewis Marnell signature skate shoe and tribute events included a skate jam in Lewis’ home city of Melbourne and a short film premiere by Nike SB.
While the anniversary left Clinton (below) feeling emotionally exhausted, he’s also thrilled that there is so much happening to keep Lewis’ memory alive. In fact, he’s been busy planning his own tribute…
“Lewis was influential to so many people, in Australia and around the world. Even five years later we still get approached by people who knew him, sharing wonderful stories about him”, said Clinton. “He was very generous with his time, and would chat to anyone and everyone.”
“If Lewis walked into a room, heads would turn. He had such a genuine presence.”
Lewis had both turned 30 and gotten married in the weeks before he unexpectedly passed away from a type 1 diabetes hypoglycaemic event.
Despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10, Lewis made it to the top of his game as a professional skateboarder. He knew as a child he wanted to make a career out of skateboarding and was determined to do it. In 2008, Lewis was on the world scene officially making a living as an athlete. He never let his type 1 diabetes get in the way of his dreams, but was always very mindful of the extra preparation involved in managing the disease. Those around him were always very supportive and looked out for him too.
Lewis’ passing affected Clinton profoundly, and he spent a couple of years struggling under the weight of his grief. It was on a family break in Queensland with his stepmother (Lewis’ mum) that Clinton started tossing around ideas to channel his grief by doing something to honour Lewis, and make a difference for others with type 1 diabetes.
He settled on running from Sydney to Melbourne. 21 marathons in 21 days, or an “ultra run” as he likes to call it. Clinton didn’t have a huge running background at the time. He started dabbling in running in 2016, as an outlet for work stress. But, certainly not anything like the 900km distance from Sydney to Melbourne. In his preparation, Clinton must eat, train and look after his body like a professional athlete would, in order to go the distance. He needs to juggle this lifestyle with fundraising towards his goal of $50,000 for JDRF and a demanding management job in the hospitality industry.
On 4 April, Clinton will set off from Sydney’s Opera House, arriving 21 days later at Melbourne Museum. The museum was one of Lewis’ favourite skating spots, and is iconic in the skating community.
For Clinton, it will definitely be a lonely and emotional journey at times but he says that Lewis is his motivation to finish. And of course, finding that cure for type 1 diabetes so that no more families have to go through what his has.
Support Clinton and the Run 4 Lewis Clinton has already had responses from supporters who would like to run some of the distance with him. He welcomes the company, and you can contact him via Run 4 Lewis Facebook or on instagram @run4lewis to find out when he’ll be passing through your town. Clinton’s Running Schedule will be online over the coming weeks.
But most of all, Clinton needs your help in reaching his $50,000 fundraising goal. Visit Clinton’s personal fundraising page here.