A group of veterans and supporters are running four marathons in four states to raise funds and awareness of the financial support available to Aussie veterans and their families.
The extraordinary effort commences in Canberra September 7, when 10 dedicated volunteers head off on their first marathon starting at 2am. They’re running 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.
Led by Navy veteran Murray Bruce, the runners will be joined by politicians for the final 10km of their run. Amongst those joining are Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles; Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite and Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Robert Chipman. Mr Bruce is Vice-President at Leidos Australia, foundation partner and major sponsor of Bravery Trek.
The group will also run marathons in Sydney (September 17), Brisbane (October 2) and Melbourne (October 15).
“Bravery Trek is not just for veterans to support veterans – it’s about expanding out the ecosystem in the broader community through community groups, employee groups and corporate sponsors – they’re not just saying thank you to those who serve our country they’re raising awareness of the needs of our vets,” said Murray Bruce.
“We have a whole raft of people who have never served or worked in Defence signing up for the Trek to show their support by raising funds and awareness. It’s important that we expand the number who get involved in the Trek each year given the large number of vets exposed to contemporary service.”
Bravery Trust Chair Garth Callender said Bravery Trek was a virtual distance challenge, meaning anyone could join, anywhere, anyway. “Make the Bravery Trek your own! One group is running four marathons in four states – but this is an event anyone can join,” he said.
“You can choose to run, walk, wheel or swim. Set a distance challenge of four marathons in 44 days – or 1km per day. 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.”
Mr Callender said Bravery Trust provided a financial safety net then worked longer term with veterans and their families, providing financial counselling and connecting them with other support services.
“Finances have long been a hard conversation to start,” said Mr Callender. “Veterans are by nature proud people, who can find it hard to ask for help when needed.
“Getting people together and raising awareness through Bravery Trek, is a way we can initiate and normalise some of those hard conversations 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, commencing September 17 and ending October 31.