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March 14, 2024

Together: the brothers who ran across Kangaroo Island

A Cape-to-Cape running film featuring brothers Angus and Jackson Bruce raised over $30k for Canteen Australia. The duo sat down with CityMag to share the highs and lows of their 160km journey.

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  • Words: Sharni McPhail
  • Picture one: Angus (Left) and Jackson (right)
  • Picture two: (L–R) Justin, Angus, Ashley, Declan and Jackson. Taken by Alex O'Brien
  • Pictures: Declan Hartley-Brown, Ashley Swallow and Alex O'Brien

Angus and Jackson Bruce, two brothers with a passion for running, have always wanted to take on a big challenge together.

When younger brother Jackson found out about the Fastest Known Time (FKT) route ‘Cape-to-Cape’ on Kangaroo Island, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Both brothers love pushing themselves to see what they can achieve, so setting a FKT together was a no-brainer.

Plus, the idea of running across an entire island just sounded cool.


Together: a short film
Watch it on YouTube


Their journey was documented in a short film, titled Together, which premiered in December at Piccadilly Cinema to an audience of over 200 ticket-holders.

This picture: Alex O’Brien

The duo and their film production team reunited over Zoom after the screening, and a year since the run to reflect on the journey with CityMag.

Ironically, Jackson was on a run during the call.

Despite the distance, it felt as though no time had passed since the mates were together on Kangaroo Island.

The 20-minute film features Angus and Jackson running across Kangaroo Island from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape for Canteen Australia.

“Cancer touches everyone’s lives in one way or another,” Angus says.

“I guess we just wanted to do our little bit to help out.

“And what better way than to suffer for 24 hours running across an island?”

This picture: Declan Hartley-Brown and Ashley Swallow

Before the brothers took on the challenge, only one person had completed the Cape-to-Cape run but did so in reverse (running west to east).

The previous runner did so unsupported – meaning you go it alone, with no external support, carrying everything needed from start to finish except water, which can only be obtained from natural sources and public taps along the trail.

The previously held completion time was 22 and a half hours.

That was the time to beat.

The director, Declan Hartley-Brown, has been friends with the brothers for years, having photographed and filmed their individual ultras.

“When they came to me with this [Cape-to-Cape run], I thought, yeah, we’ll just make something similar, just a small little video documenting it,” Declan says.

“As time went on, we realised, ‘nah, there’s a big story here’.”

The crew set out on March 25, 2023 with overwhelming support from the community.

“We had some weird moments out there,” Angus says.

“There were times where I don’t even think we were saying anything. We just knew what the other person was thinking. Jacko would start singing a song at times, and I’ll be like, when did we sing that out loud?

“I think we’re just very in tune, which helped to ride those highs and lows together.”

Only 8km into the run, Jackson injured his Achilles tendon.

“Some tough hours early on,” Jackson says.

“But it was just a matter of pushing through. During those dark times as well, you’re drawing other things for inspiration.

“I used to work with a boy who couldn’t run and teaching him how to run, just watching the joy that it brought him – I remember thinking that I’ll never take running for granted ever again.”

The crew chilling out on the trail. This picture: Declan Hartley-Brown and Ashley Swallow

The team was followed by friends and production crew: Declan, producer Ashley Swallow, and second camera, Justin Broughton. They would stop every few hours for a break, tending to injuries and having a bite to eat.

“The boys had been running all day and into the night and then into the following morning. We were all a bit delirious,” Justin says.

“We [the production crew] were thinking, ‘if we’re this tired, how on earth are they still going when they’ve been running this whole time?’

“That’s what sticks out to me – the fact that we were so tired and they had been running the whole time.”

At 8:37am, 20 hours and 37 minutes since setting out, the brothers touched the Cape Borda lighthouse to mark the end of an incredible journey.

But it wasn’t quite over, with a 4km walk afterwards totalling the trek to 100 miles/160km.

“It was tiring, but lots of fun to be able to be a part of it,” Ashley says.

“The most memorable moment for me was when they both touched the lighthouse together at the end and then cried with their parents.”

This picture: Declan Hartley-Brown and Ashley Swallow

“It’s a really proud feeling running alongside each other, knowing what we were doing and raising money for such a good cause,” Jackson says.

“If Angus wasn’t next to me, I probably would have pulled the pin.”

The original target was to raise $16,000 but the brothers surpassed that before they had even started the run.

The film premiered at Piccadilly Cinema. This picture: Alex O’Brien

With all ticket proceeds from the film premiere donated to Canteen Australia, the overall amount raised was $30,157.

“It speaks volumes to the fact that everyone has a connection or is touched by cancer in some form,” Angus says.

“Seeing the names and the messages of support – that meant the most.”

While the brothers aren’t planning another big run like this any time soon, they continue running and pushing their limits through personal challenges.

The film can be accessed for free on YouTube on Declan’s channel. More information about Canteen Australia can be accessed through their website.

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