Kyneton homecoming a truly ‘big’ moment

Joel Bertoncini is glad to be home.

Joel Bertoncini’s homecoming was fit for a hero as he ran through Kyneton’s crowded main street on the final leg of his journey from Sydney.

Hundreds turned out to cheer on Mr Bertoncini last Wednesday as he completed his 900-kilometre trek in 15 days to honour a man who gave so much.

He started his Doing it for Big Pete campaign after his best friend’s father, Kyneton businessman Peter Connor, died of cancer in 2009. Mr Bertoncini, 30, said the death of ‘Big Pete’ jolted him into taking control of his own health.

‘‘When he died, it was a bit of a wake-up call,’’ he said.

Mr Bertoncini left Sydney on October 13, passing through towns including Mittagong, Gundagai, Holbrook and Broadford before arriving in Kyneton on October 27, the anniversary of Mr Connor’s death.

“Peter had meant so much to me, so I vowed to do as much as I could to raise awareness about the disease that took his life,” he said.

Mr Bertoncini also ran a video blog thanking his supporters throughout the campaign.

He shed more than 40 kilograms and clocked up more than 4000 kilometres of training before making the hard trip home from the Sydney Opera House to his hometown, raising money and awareness for the Cancer Council.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in my epic run … the support crew, sponsors, my running coach, Gordon Muir, my friends and everyone who ran with me along the way,” he posted on social media.

The Doing it for Big Pete campaign is still taking donations online.