A navy veteran will run 50km this Saturday, the first day of Veterans’ Health Week, to raise vital funds for veterans who have fallen on hard times.

Murray Bruce had planned to be in America running the Leidos-sponsored US Marine Corps Marathon but, with international travel on hold, has turned his focus to Bravery Trek – a virtual 100km challenge raising funds for national military charity Bravery Trust.

Despite limited preparation due to exercise time limits in the ACT, Mr Bruce has vowed to add further challenges (and pain) to Saturday’s marathon in aid of veterans, promising an extra hill for every $1000 pledged.  The first $1000 has been secured and will see him run up One Tree Hill 855m above sea level; by $5,000 he’ll add in Mount Ainslie at full marathon distance.

Mr Bruce said it’s a small gesture that will hopefully have a big impact on the lives of veterans who need help.

“You see different stories of people who leave the Defence Force, hit tough times and have mental health struggles. You don’t hear so much about their financial struggles, but we know it’s not far behind. And these issues persist – people who service often carry a legacy for a lifetime” Mr Bruce said.

“It’s not just about those who have put their own lives on the line to serve our country – it is equally hard for their families.

“As a nation we have a commitment to support not only veterans, but also their loved ones that made sacrifice to support them and to make sure they’re not going without.  With COVID and lockdowns impacting employment opportunities, the challenge for many families is even greater.” 

Mr Bruce left the Navy in 1996 after 10 years of service largely in submarines including HMAS COLLINS.  He has forged a successful industry career since leaving the ADF and is currently Vice President of Science, Engineering and Technology at Leidos – a foundation partner and sponsor of Bravery Trek. 

Bravery Trek is a key annual event for Bravery Trust to raise money to support veterans injured or who sustained illness during service, and their families. 70% of veterans who receive support from Bravery Trust are aged 50 years or younger.

Chief Executive Officer Belinda Wilson said Bravery Trust recognised no two Australian veterans are the same and provided an individual service tailored to each unique journey.

“Australian veterans are some of the proudest people, but sometimes they are faced with unexpected challenges, made worse by injury or illness,” Ms Wilson said.

“Bravery Trust provides an immediate financial safety net for veterans and their families facing hardship, and works with each veteran and family to upskill, empower and improve lives.”

If you, or someone you know, is a veteran who has an illness or injury as a result of service and is experiencing financial hardship, contact 1800 BRAVERY (1800 272 837) or email ask@braverytrust.org.au

Bravery Trust is a registered business name of the Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust, a nationally registered charity.