ADF personnel on deployment with Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633) in the Middle East late last year raised $1650 for the not-for-profit organisation 42 for 42 in a marathon effort.

Personnel took part in the 42-hour challenge, each running or walking 42km over a 42-hour period starting in the morning of November 14.

This was the first time the challenge had been held in the Middle East in the fundraiser’s five-year history.

The charity 42 for 42 supports the families of the 41 Australians killed in Afghanistan, along with those of the 42nd veteran representing those who have taken their own life or struggle with mental illness.

The organiser of the JTF633 event , Sergeant Nicole King, said 42 for 42 was a charity close to her heart.

“I was deployed on Operation Slipper in 2011-2012 and have seen first-hand how the war in Afghanistan has affected numerous ADF personnel,” Sergeant King said.

“And we have lost too many friends upon their return home.”

Sergeant King said she was in two minds about what kind of challenge to set.

“I was debating whether to make it a cardio or weightlifting event, thinking maybe I could put out the challenge to see if people could lift 42,000kg over 42 hours,” Sergeant King said. 

“But an event was held earlier for another charity, led by Warrant Officer Class One Kelly Hammant, challenging members to complete a 42.2km marathon in 42 hours.

“Inspired by the inclusive nature of the distance event, I chose to go with a marathon, and leave the weights to a later time.” Scheduled to coincide with events held in Brisbane, the challenge participants at Camp Baird were not limited to putting on their running gear.

 “Members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, completed the entire 42km event wearing 42kg packs,” Sergeant King said.

“Their efforts replicated the challenge undertaken along the concourse at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.”

ADF personnel in the Middle East taking part in the 42-hour challenge. Photo: Tristan Kennedy

Events also were held at Gallipoli Barracks where members from the 6th and 7th Brigades performed a cardiovascular endurance activity for 42 hours, using stationary cardiovascular equipment such as bikes, rowing machines and treadmills.

Sergeant King said she was touched by the response to the 42 for 42 fundraiser from across JTF633.

“I’m so glad that so many people here at Camp Baird expressed an interest to support this great cause,” Sergeant King said.

“I think the issues highlighted and supported by 42 for 42 are things a lot of people can relate to, which has helped generate such amazing support. Thank you everyone.”