Australian Defence Force and public service personnel in the Middle East burned off a massive 172,834 calories in a novel fundraiser for Legacy Australia in the lead-up to Anzac Day.

The 12-hour aerobic challenge, Endure for Legacy, was held at Camp Baird, Australia’s main logistics base in the Middle East, on April 15 with 22 mixed and multinational teams competing to expend the most amount of calories.

More than 210 personnel either rode, climbed, ran, or rowed to burn off as many calories as they could.

At the end of the challenge, 172,834 calories had been expended.

Event organiser Squadron Leader Janet Thompson said the challenge provided an opportunity to get together in friendly competition for an important cause.

“Endure for Legacy brought together Australian Defence and public service personnel, Serco contractors and personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force, British and Netherlands armed forces,” she said.

“We even had a team of ADF personnel patch in remotely from the Combined Airspace Operations Centre in Qatar.”

Australian Defence Force personnel in the Middle East region participating in a 12-hour endurance challenge, raising funds and awareness for Legacy Australia. Photo: Sergeant Ben Dempster

Teams could track their progress on a leader board.

A UK team narrowly edged out an Australian Army team for the victory with a combined Australian Army/Air Force team coming in third. 

A combined New Zealand and Dutch team took out the coveted best-dressed award.

Australian Army Corporal Jeffrey Sios, who won the award for the most outlandish male costume, said the day was a welcome morale boost.

“It was good chance to get together for some healthy competition and camaraderie ahead of Anzac Day,” he said.

“And also raise some money for a good cause.”

The event raised more than $7700 for Legacy Australia, with personal donations still being counted.

“This small contribution will assist the organisation in providing care to veterans’ families who live with the loss of a loved one,” Squadron Leader Thompson said.

“It’s a cause that’s very close to our hearts over here in the Middle East and it’s a privilege to be able to support Legacy in their important work.”

Legacy Australia was established in 1923, founded on a promise made from one digger to another to ‘look after the missus and the kids’.

Legacy continues to support families of veterans receive the best possible comfort, support and friendship to ensure they have the same opportunities as others in the community.

Australian Defence Force personnel in the Middle East region participating in a 12-hour endurance challenge, raising funds and awareness for Legacy Australia. Photo: Sergeant Ben Dempster