A group running four marathons in four states to raise funds for Aussie veterans and their families will arrive in Brisbane on Monday (October 2).
Their extraordinary effort commenced in Canberra 3 weeks ago, when 10 dedicated volunteers ran a marathon incorporating all the State Capital avenues as a symbol of their ‘Bravery Trek’ uniting Australians to show support for all who serve in the Australian Defence Force. The runners completed the Sydney Marathon September 17.
Led by navy veteran Murray Bruce, they will arrive at Suncorp Stadium 5am Monday to commence their third marathon at the 42 for 42 Afghanistan Memorial Garden adjacent to Suncorp Stadium and finish at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera. As an added theme, the group will don Collingwood supporter gear when they run Suncorp Stadium and via the Gabba and up the Kokoda Trail to the summit of Mr Coot-Tha!
“Military folk, when they are deployed overseas, they head into enemy territory. Sometimes when they come home, they might have the familiarity of home, but often there is still a sense of being a foreigner in their own country. We’re highlighting their bravery back home and their struggle reconnecting into their own communities,” said Mr Bruce.
“For us, donning the opponent supporter gear is a way to show we understand the challenges faced by veterans, and remind our veterans there is support available through Bravery Trust for those who might need help.”
Mr Bruce is a Bravery Trust Ambassador and Vice-President at Leidos Australia, foundation partner and major sponsor of Bravery Trek. Bravery Trek is a major annual fundraising and awareness appeal held by Bravery Trust, to provide financial support to veterans and their families.
Bravery Trust CEO Belinda Wilson said the Trek was a vital fundraiser, adding that a small amount of money when provided at the most crucial time, can have a huge impact. “We’re preventing homelessness – we are relieving that immediate pressure point for the family – and then our veteran-specific financial counsellors will work longer term with the family or the individual to create a pathway forward.
“We work with veterans and families to address the cause of their financial stress – it may be negotiating with banks to reduce debt, wipe debt, or to consolidate debt, and then our financial fitness coaches work with veterans on that longer term approach.
“It’s the old adage of teaching a man to fish, we provide urgent support when needed but after that, take them on a journey to make sure that they are able to avoid or capable to deal with future crisis.”
While the Brisbane event showcases the extraordinary effort of 4 marathons in 4 states, Bravery Trust Chair Garth Callender, who is Queensland-based, said anyone can join the Trek and help make a difference in the lives of others.
“Bravery Trek is a virtual distance challenge, meaning anyone can join, anywhere, any way.
“This group is running four marathons in four states – but others are cycling their distance challenge using stationary exercise bikes on board ADV Cape Fourcroy; and we’ve even had one veteran run 4 marathons in 44 hours as part of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc event in France!
“People like me are doing it at a slower pace, walking and running with my family, an average of 2km per day for the 44 days.
“The distance isn’t important; this is about every participant showing their respect for our veterans and the sacrifices made during service by veterans and their families and raising funds to help when some veterans fall on hard times.”
Mr Callender said getting people together to raise awareness through Bravery Trek, was a way to initiate and normalise hard conversations about finances and encourage people to reach out for help as soon as their financial circumstances change.
“We know there is an intrinsic link between financial hardship and suicide, and through financial counselling and financial support, we can help to save lives.”
Bravery Trek is aligned to Veterans’ Health Week and runs through until October 31. Register here.