Unencumbered by the emotional end to his tenure as West Coast coach, John Worsfold has vowed to test his mental and physical capacity to the limit in the New York Marathon in November.
Worsfold, who will be running to raise funds for seriously ill children through the Little Heroes Foundation, says he will confront the gruelling challenge as he ponders his future after his departure from the Eagles.
The 2006 premiership coach, who also led the club to two flags as captain, celebrated his 45th birthday yesterday with an 18km run through the Melbourne CBD. He will continue his regime in Broome, where he will be taking a family holiday from Saturday.
Worsfold, who attended this week's Brownlow Medal count with wife Georgina and had lunch with coaching legend and mentor David Parkin, said he would confront the mental demons he expected to face by tackling the race hard.
"It daunts me because I'm going to push and run it pretty hard," he said.
"That's the challenge, because if you go a little bit too hard early, that last 10 or 12km can be a very long way. If I just went out there and ran it in four hours it would be pretty comfortable, but because I want to push pretty hard, it's a bit of an unknown at what point you're going to start to really struggle.
"But there are plenty of times in your life when you get that big question mark in front of your face and you can only deal with it when it happens. I'm really looking forward to getting over there and having a go."
Worsfold completed a 28km run in Perth last Saturday and then ran another 21km in Melbourne on Monday morning. He ran the 2008 Perth Marathon in just under 3 1/2 hours and is optimistic of improving that time in New York.
The opportunity to compete in the US race came after a radio interview in Adelaide last month with former Crows captain Chris McDermott and his former South Fremantle teammate Stephen Rowe.
McDermott was a founder of Little Heroes and asked his former rival AFL skipper to fill the foundation's allocated position in the event.
"It's just for a good cause and I'm fit enough at the moment," he said. "If I can go and run that race and help that cause in any small way that's a bonus."
McDermott said the foundation, which was formed in 1996, had broadened its funding work from children with cancer to other "finite" diseases.
He was establishing a funding link with a WA hospital and was ecstatic Worsfold would be one of 20 runners who were likely to raise more than $300,000 for the foundation.
Worsfold said he had been busy finishing his work at West Coast and helping to make a smooth transition for the new coach, expected to be named in a fortnight.He said he was unlikely to return to his former profession as a pharmacist and would soon start considering his next career move.