Ben Castlehow – My On My Feet Journey

In October 2017 I left my hometown to attend rehab for my drug addiction and I was unemployed so I could focus on my treatment. This led to me becoming homeless and it was 9 months before I was able to secure a place to stay.  I began part-time work in 2018 while trying to juggle single parenting and my recovery. I began my journey with the On My Feet charity in 2019 when a friend invited me to join him at Claisebrook parkrun and he introduced me to the team. I felt welcome right from the start. On My Feet gave me encouragement and a social group I could connect to. 

Within a few months I was running regularly and completed a 12km trail run and a 32km trail run with the On My Feet. We ran as a group for the first 16km of the 32km trail run which started at Helena Valley Primary School and went up into Mundaring. It was great to be a part of a team where the camaraderie was tangible and no one was left behind. Then myself and another member ran back from Mundaring to the start. This 32km was the longest distance I had ever run!

At the end of 2021, I shattered my kneecap playing hockey. On My Feet gave me encouragement all the way through my recovery from this injury. I was out for most of 2022 but was given lots of suggestions to help with my mental health as not being able to exercise was tough. 

I enjoyed the training sessions that On My Feet hold on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Wellington Square and have learnt a lot from the coaches and from my peers. There is so much more to running than what I knew. We do warmups, strength exercises, stretching and learn about nutrition. I love that if we pass another participant during our training, we call out and encourage each other. 

My lease in Perth was up at the end of last year and now married, my wife and I were worried about becoming homeless again. But then we were offered our old house in Albany so we moved back at the end of last year. I have been clean of drugs and alcohol for 5 years now and I am fulltime employed as an apprentice boilermaker which will make my second trade!

At the start of this year, I began training for the Elleker Half Marathon in June. My goal was to complete the half marathon in under 2 hours. On My Feet gave me the encouragement and direction I needed and I finished the event in 1h48 35s.  Following this event, I was asked if I would like to do the Sydney Marathon with On My Feet. I felt honoured to be invited. I had never thought I would run a marathon. I have enjoyed the whole process of getting ready for Sydney from the workshops that I attend online, following a scientific training program, the constant support and encouragement from my running mentor and the rest of the team. My goal is to complete the 42.2km in under 4 hours. It has been tough at times, training in the dark or in the cold and rain, but to achieve this goal these challenges must be overcome. Seeing fellow On My Feet participants doing the same, has helped me. I am also grateful for the beautiful scenery I get to see on my runs and I cannot help but take and share lots of photos of the wonderful sights I see on our whatsapp group. Each On My Feet participant training for the event is encouraged by the following slogan:  My Story – My Strength – My Sydney.

I have been enjoying fundraising for On My Feet and have been talking to businesses about the program. The community has been very supportive in helping me raise money for this charity. I believe that the work On My Feet do is invaluable.  If you would like to donate to On My Feet please click the following link: 

Or for my personal On My Feet donation link, go to: