MARATHON man Peter Mahoney spends a lot of time watching his grandchildren play sport. To Mahoney, such freedom and innocence was important, right down to acts like a child doing an impromptu handstand in the field of an under-eights cricket match. This spurs him on to once again run seven marathons in seven days across seven states for child protection organisation Bravehearts. He is training to complete the feat for a fifth time. "Even getting about through the Ballarat winter when I think, do I want to go running a couple of times a week? It totally drives me," Mr Mahoney said. "...It's always on your mind that kids don't all have freedom, love and safety." READ MORE: Mr Mahoney grew up in a household with a violent, alcoholic father and living in Ballarat, he was aware of the impact of clergy sexual abuse on his generation. Running has long helped his mental health, particularly when he became a single dad raising five children in between shift work. After notching up more than 100 marathons, Mr Mahoney said he was seeking more purpose to his running aside from health. To run the Bravehearts' 777 feat gave him a drive to make a difference. Bravehearts supports survivors of child sexual abuse and conducts prevention education to look out for new generations in school-based programs. "Marathons can be a personal thing, which is strange when you're running the Melbourne Marathon with thousands of other people but it's still on you to finish. You're proud to finish," Mr Mahoney said. "I don't think I've accomplished anything more than Bravehearts. You feel you're doing something positive for others." IN OTHER NEWS Mr Mahoney, aged 61, is building back from knee surgery - not related to running - and said the most important thing was he get out on course and finish, even if he had to walk sections. Bravehearts 777 starts June 23 in Perth. Mr Mahoney encouraged others to get involved in a range of Melbourne distances on June 28. For details: bravehearts.org.au/777marathonprotectingkids or to sponsor Mr Mahoney, click here. If you or someone you know needs support: Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.