A Navy veteran and his friend have completed four marathons in four states in 38 days to provide financial support for those who have served our country and their families.
Murray Bruce and Singh Talwar commenced their extraordinary effort in Canberra September 7, joined by a group of 100 for their last 10km, including Federal Ministers the Hon Richard Marles, the Hon Matt Keogh and the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite.
They completed the inspirational feat at the weekend, carrying a Bravery Trust banner onto the MCG as they crossed the Melbourne Marathon finish line.
Mr Bruce said there many new friendships made along the way, thanking the volunteers and running crews who supported him and Singh in each of the states – Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
“We started at 2am in Canberra, running through all the State Capital avenues as a symbol of our ‘Bravery Trek’ uniting Australians to show support for all who serve in the Australian Defence Force. To see 100 fellow runners, politicians and sponsors, waiting for us at Parliament House at 6am to join the last 10km was quite overwhelming,” Mr Bruce said.
“The start at Brisbane was also a highlight – it was an emotional start at the 42 for 42 Afghanistan Memorial Garden honouring the 41 soldiers of those who lost their lives in Afghanistan and the 42nd soldier who took their own life when they returned. We stopped each kilometre of the marathon to reflect on those 41 soldiers and paid respect to the 42nd when we finished at Gallipoli Barracks.”
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.
Mr Talwar reflected the immense pride he had running into the MCG at the finish of the epic Trek.
“We were uplifted by runners along the route within each and every run. We were inspired to see people step outside of their comfort zones regardless of how far or how fast they were running,” he said.
“In that environment it’s easy to see what a small bit of encouragement can achieve. In these difficult financial times, it’s great to witness the helping hand Bravery Trust can afford to current and ex-serving members of the ADF 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 person 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.”
Bravery Trek is a virtual event meaning anyone anywhere to help make a difference in the lives of others. The Bravery Trek challenge continues until the end of this month.
“Some people run physical marathons, some people walk to work for the month,” she said.
“Murray and Singh have run marathons in all four states; we have a crew onboard ADV Cape Fourcroy cycling a distance challenge using stationary exercise bikes; and we’ve even had one veteran run 4 marathons in 43 hours as part of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc event in France!
“But of equal value to us is the 200 other community champions, who signed up to quietly complete their own Bravery Trek, in their own way, in their own community.
“We all have an obligation to show pride and gratitude for our veterans and this will one way we can nurture that ethos and show our support for those who have served our country.
“The distance isn’t important; this is about every participant showing their respect for our veterans and the sacrifices made during service and raising funds to help when some veterans fall on hard times.”
Bravery Trek is aligned to Veterans’ Health Week and runs until October 31. Donate or register at www.braverytrek.com.au