There were cheers and tears outside McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon at the finish line of a 150 kilometre trek in aid of the Mark Hughes Foundation.
A group of 26 dedicated athletes, mates and family members made the grueling walk from Sydney to the stadium over three days, arriving ahead of the Newcastle Knights clash against the New Zealand Warriors held during Beanies for Brain Cancer round.
The feat managed to raise more than $100,000 for the Mark Hughes Foundation to support brain cancer research.
The "The Big Three" walk was organised by Newcastle locals Luke Alexander, Nathan Hill and Ethan Coker.
"Three months ago I asked a couple of mates if they were keen to walk from Sydney to Newcastle to raise funds and awareness for brain cancer," Alexander said.
"I guess the inspiration behind it was I had a football coach many years ago now who passed away from brain cancer and being a Newcastle boy I've obviously known the amazing work the Mark Hughes Foundation does so I decided to walk from Sydney to Newcastle.
"It was a simple idea and I started reaching out to some former athletes and the response was incredible, which is a credit to Mark Hughes and the foundation.
"It kind of snowballed into what it is now - something really special."
The event started with a five kilometre launch day in Sydney on Wednesday, with a host of celebrities in attendance including Simon and Anthony from The Wiggles, Justice Crew and Andrew Johns.
The trek began Thursday, with Mark Hughes himself talking part in the first leg and the likes of Billy Peden, Chris Lawrence and Todd Lowrie also doing the trek.
One of the participants was former Matilda Rhali Dobson, whose fiance is battling stage three brain cancer.
She said the walk was "exceptionally hard" but the group had a mantra - the pain was nothing compared to what brain cancer patients go through.
"The best way for me to describe it was brutal," Dobson said. "It wasn't just walking on roads it was bush trekking, walking up and down hills.
"I'm looking forward to a hot shower and my slippers because my feet are killing me.
"But it's such a sense of elation finishing with amazing people. Everyone got each other through, no person was left behind."
She said it was also worth it when she saw her fiance Matt at the finish line.
"I had barely crossed the finish line before I went and found him," she said. "I must admit, I sobbed my heart out.
"He's been messaging me the whole way getting me through it."
Chelsea Hill and her mum Amanda Duncan were part of the support crew who travelled alongside the walkers by vehicle.
"We had intermittent stops along the way, four support cars, tubs with all their things, food, rub downs," Chelsea said.
"There was about 15 stops ranging from grabbing a drink of water to not wanting to get back up again."
Chelsea's husband Nathan was one of the organisers and participants, while Amanda's husband and Chelsea's dad also did did the 150km. Chelsea's four-month-old son Ellis was also part of the support team.
"The boys were all calling Ellis the MVP," Chelsea said.
Chelsea said it was a mammoth effort from all involved.
"$100,000 - how incredible," she said. "A lot of them at points wanted to give up but they knew the reason why they were doing it so they kept going."