by Alison Houston
IT MAY be more of a hobble than a run, but nothing is going to stop 2017 Central Coast Citizen of the Year Lester Pearson taking part in the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay on Saturday, February 3.
Lester, currently fighting a back problem, said he felt "very honoured" and it was "very humbling" to have been chosen as one of 17 runners to carry the baton across the Coast.
The 64-year-old, best known for his role in starting up suicide prevention program Save Our Kids, said the baton's journey through the Coast was all part of "the euphoria" of the Games.
"It's just part of the Australian culture to enjoy being part of that great sporting moment whether you're a spectator, in the baton relay or an athlete," he said.
Council director Connected Communities, Julie Vaughan, said that as a huge international event, the baton relay gave the Central Coast a chance to "shine on the world stage".
Hence the baton's route will highlight a number of the Coast's key assets, starting at 11.30am at the arts/cultural precinct at Laycock Street Theatre, moving down Mann St to an official ceremony at Central Coast Stadium, where Central Coast Council is hosting a free family fun day, before completing the final leg along the waterfront to the pool and then heading to Sydney.
This is the first time the Coast has been part of a baton relay, which in this case started at London's Buckingham Palace on March 13, 2017 and will travel for 288 days and 230,000km across Africa, the Caribbean, Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania, including a 100-day stint through Australia to promote the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games from April 4-15.
The Coast's family fun day will be a community-focussed picnic with live local music and other entertainment, and "geared towards the water, community, togetherness and healthy living and food, with the key goal for participants to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event".