John Hulin defies odds to take on epic challenge

RUNNING and football were a big part of John Hulin’s life back in 2010. But that all changed in the blink of an eye on a Saturday afternoon in March.

Mr Hulin, who was living in Warrnambool at the time, was involved in a horrific accident on Skenes Road near the Port Fairy Golf Club.

He was trapped in his car for an hour-and-a-half – enduring intense pain while he was extracted from the vehicle.

The former Warrnambool youth mayor broke his femur, knee and ankle and suffered numerous cuts and bruises.

DETERMINED: John Hulin in training for a half-marathon in Canberra: "The marathon will be amazing, my biggest achievement since the accident." Picture: Jamila Toderas

DETERMINED: John Hulin in training for a half-marathon in Canberra: "The marathon will be amazing, my biggest achievement since the accident." Picture: Jamila Toderas

Several months after the accident, Mr Hulin snapped the fibula in his other leg.

HORROR SMASH: Mr Hulin was trapped in his ute for an hour-and-a-half after the accident in 2010.

HORROR SMASH: Mr Hulin was trapped in his ute for an hour-and-a-half after the accident in 2010.

Mr Hulin spent 27 long weeks on crutches in 2010 and underwent gruelling rehabilitation.

The 28-year-old, who now lives in Canberra and works for the government as a media advisor, said he was extremely lucky to survive the crash.

ROAD TO RECOVERY: Mr Hulin hits the books with his dog Moritz back in 2011. He studied at Deakin in Warrnambool.

ROAD TO RECOVERY: Mr Hulin hits the books with his dog Moritz back in 2011. He studied at Deakin in Warrnambool.

“Every day I wake up and I’m thankful that I’m alive,” Mr Hulin said.

Eight years later, Mr Hulin has proved doctors wrong and is ready to tackle the 21 kilometre Australian Running Festival half marathon in Canberra in April.

“I had years of rehab, pretty much being told you’re never going to run again, and now I’m pushing for the half-marathon in Canberra,” Mr Hulin said. “I moved up here a few years ago for work, and have slowly been getting back into the running side of things, but it was four months ago, when I saw information about the event, that I thought why don’t I give that a go? So I am.”

Mr Hulin said training for the event had been tough going. “After every run, I’m pretty sore and all that sort of stuff, but my housemate has been pushing me,” he said.

“I’ve been doing a fair bit of mountain bike riding and all that sort of stuff, but never really challenging myself since the accident – I’ve sort of been a bit fearful of hurting myself again, but he’s pushed me pretty hard, and now I’m doing about 35 kilometres a week.”

Mr Hulin is often left with swollen feet and aching joints, but he says it will be worth it if he can finish the run on April 15.

“The marathon will be amazing, my biggest achievement since the accident,” he said.