Michael Tynan Challenge for medical research started early at the Wollongong Innovation Campus on Saturday

Madeline Tynan joined a celebrity field of walkers for the start of the 2017 Michael Tynan Memorial Challenge at the Wollongong Innovation Campus early on Saturday morning.

Perfect weather met 200 participants for the start of the second annual walk and drive from the University of Wollongong just before 8am to raise funds for the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation.

Start of the Michael Tynan Challenge 26km Coast Track Walk. Video: Greg Ellis.

The walk saw around 150 people, including many high profile fundraisers, bused to the Otford Lookout for the start of a 26km walk along the coast track from Otford to Bundeena. 

After registering at the innovation campus everyone was ready to try and match last years fundraising of more than $500,000.

The car rally headed south for a driving challenge that involved them following clues and solving puzzles.

The plan was for both both groups eventually finish around the same time at Cronulla on Saturday evening where a celebratory function signals the culmination of another successful day of fundraising for medical research.

Madeline Tynan welcomes walkers and car rally participants at the Wollongong innovation campus at 7.30am on Saturday. Video: Greg Ellis.

Ms Tynan said the the idea for the challenge came about after her late father Michael Tynan died in early 2016.

His wife Annette Tynan joined the car rally on Saturday with other members of the family and said he would have been so amazed and impressed by everyone’s contribution.

She said he would have been very proud.

“He was very involved in the community for many many years actually,” she said.

Mr Tynan was also an early supporter and benefactor of the medical research foundation established a decade ago.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman is walking the Coast Track for the second time this year and said he was excited by the whole event and spirit behind it.

“It is the perfect location for such an incredible event,” he said.

Ms Speakman said he was thinking about the passion, integrity and generosity Michael Tynan displayed during his life as inspiration for Saturday’s walk.

The inaugural Michael Tynan Challenge in 2016 raised more than $520,000 and was held over two days. This year it is being held on the one day but its is hoped a similar amount will be raised.

Walkers on Saturday included Attorney General Mark Speakman, Sutherland Shire Council mayor Carmelo Pesce, Optus chair and SSMRF director Paul O’Sullivan, SSMMRF chair Professor John Edmonds, St George Bank Business Banking general manager Cathy Yuncken and UOW Government Relations director Canio Fierravanti.

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