Our Gary's great Commonwealth Games honour
NEVER one to shy away from making an extra tackle or gut-busting run during his playing days, Gladstone's Gary Larson is feeling a little apprehensive about running in the Queen's Baton Relay.
Humbled to be chosen as one of 23 baton bearers in the wider Gladstone region, Larson was secretly nominated for the honour by his wife, Kate.
"My wife nominated me and it was a surprise," Larson said.
"I honestly don't know how it came about but my wife has written a nice letter. She wrote a little bit about what I've done in my life and career and where I'm from.
"I got an email last week saying I'd been nominated.
"I'm pretty humbled about it actually and I'm really looking forward to it."
However, the 50-year-old has some reservations about the run, scheduled for March 24, with multiple knee surgeries during a 250-game first-grade career spanning from 1987-2000 playing on the mind of the former North Sydney, Queensland and Australian great.
"I hope I'm not running because I can't - I've got two dicky knees," he said.
"When it comes to running I might have to put the bionic knees on."
Born in Gladstone Hospital and having grown up in Miriam Vale, Larson starting playing rugby league from six years of age.
Having achieved everything in the game bar winning a premiership, Larson's post-playing career took a turn in November 2013 when diagnosed with prostate cancer.
It was a battle the father-of-two adult children would eventually win, but it also spurred Larson into educating the community about men's health issues.
Unfortunately, shift work at the Gladstone Port Authority takes up a big part of Larson's life, so he doesn't get to speak publicly as much as he'd like.
"If I'm asked to do functions or speak about what I went through and what men should be doing with their health I'm keen to jump on board," he said.
About 3800 Australians will carry the Queen's Baton on its 100-day journey across the nation in the lead-up to the April 4-15 Commonwealth Games.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games Baton bearers were nominated by their peers for achievements and contributions to their community and inspiring others to be great.
The Queen's Baton Relay continues to connect the Gold Coast with the entire Commonwealth.
Already the Baton has been passed between thousands of people across Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe, building excitement for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
The GC2018 Relay is the longest and most accessible in history, travelling through the entire Commonwealth for 388 days and 230,000 kilometres.
The Baton engages with all Commonwealth nations and territories of Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania for 288 days before it arrives in Australia for a further 100 days.
The Baton arrives into Brisbane on Christmas Eve and approximately 3800 Baton bearers will carry it through every state and territory in Australia.
The Relay started on Commonwealth Day, March 13, 2017, at Buckingham Palace when Her Majesty placed Her message inside of the Baton.
The distinctive design of the GC2018 Queen's Baton captures the boundless energy of the Gold Coast. In form and inspiration, the Baton is a symbol of our past, present and future.
The Queen's Baton arrives on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on April 4, 2018, where the Prince of Wales will remove Her Majesty's message from the Baton and read it aloud to declare the Games open.