Ultra-marathon runner and Australian Army veteran Wayne McMurtrie will begin a 350km run this October, retracing the steps of the historic World War One 'Men from Snowy River Recruitment March'.
Supported by fellow contemporary veterans, McMurtrie will run the 350km Snowy River Marchers Ultra-Marathon not only in remembrance of the 144 men who answered the call in 1916 taking part in the Men from Snowy River March, but to share awareness of the challenges facing Australia's contemporary veterans.
The seven-day run, beginning on October 27, goes from Delegate to Goulburn and retraces the steps of the historic recruitment march.
Along the way, runners will visit ex-service and sporting clubs, schools, community groups and emergency service organisations sharing stories of the original Men From Snowy River, but also their own unique lived experiences and the tools and resources that helped them overcome their own challenges as they transitioned from service to civilian life.
In Goulburn, the runners will meet the RSL Sub Branch at a Soldiers Club function on November 2. They will then have a rest day before visiting schools, including Goulburn High, the site of the old Army camp.
The Men from Snowy River March began in Delegate on January 6, 1916 with 12 men setting out on the long trek to Goulburn, gathering more recruits en route.
With the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 after nearly two years of fighting on the front, their war was over.
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Out of the original 144 men who marched into Goulburn in January, 1916, 75 were wounded, 39 were killed and 15 of these lie in unmarked graves.
By April 1919, six months after the guns on the western front had fallen silent, members of the 55th Battalion (Bn), 14th Brigade, 5th Division, AIF were still encamped at Marchienne Au-Point awaiting their redeployment back home.
The Men from Snowy River did not return home as one group as they had left in 1916. Once home, many veterans returned to the family property, to former employment, or to the task of finding work. For those still recovering or suffering permanent injury, the latter was not an easy task.
A spokesperson for the march said the "isolation, loneliness and worthlessness" many of them felt was similar to the challenges facing Australia's contemporary veterans.
"All too often it is the physical and psychological trauma experienced during service that becomes a barrier to gaining employment, not just in the eyes of the veteran, but in the eyes of potential employers," he said.
"...Running the 350km route, we aim to provide members of the veteran community the opportunity to learn more about Australia's rich military heritage, share their lived experiences with other veterans, first responders, their families and the broader community, helping to decrease social isolation, creating a sense of self-worth, identity, passion and purpose."
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