35 MARATHONS, 22 DAYS: Veteran's epic run for PTSD charity
WHEN someone really pushes themselves to the limit, we call that a marathon effort.
Enter Wayne McMurtrie.
The Mackay man arrived in the Gladstone Region on Saturday, just over a week into his effort to run the equivalent of 35 marathons in 22 days.
He is running from Brisbane to Winton to support veterans' charity PTSD Resurrected.
The route is a reversal of the path taken by enlisted men after signing up for World War I.
Mr McMurtrie is a veteran himself, having been deployed twice to East Timor and twice to Afghanistan in the 2000s.
He said what many veterans missed about their time in the army was having a "tight-knit group of people that have always got your back".
"It's something not a lot of people understand, let alone get to experience," he said.
"You see some amazing acts of human kindness, but you also see such depravity, the acts of absolute monsters.
"Everyone saw those things together, so you don't need to say much when you're having a bad day ... the guy next to you had the same experience."
Mr McMurtrie said some veterans had trouble transitioning from that environment into civilian jobs where it felt like "every man for himself".
"You go from a high-pressure and high-noise situation to something which can still be high pressure, but you don't see rhyme nor reason to it," he said.
"A lot of veterans go, 'Well you're all just a pack of...' and they just give up.
"We train our troops to go to war, but we don't train them to come home."
In 2015, Mr McMurtrie was made redundant from a resources job in Western Australia, and had what he described as a "relapse into PTSD".
That's when he discovered long-distance running.
"It gave me back that community feeling," he said.
"Whether it's a training run or a social group or even an individual race, you're all going through that experience with everyone else.
"I think everyone needs that purpose. It doesn't have to be running, it could be crocheting or fishing with the boys."
This month, Mr McMurtrie's purpose is raising funds and awareness for PTSD Resurrected, which runs courses for veterans, their families and first responders aimed at helping them overcome trauma.
And he's winning hearts and minds along the way.
Chris Ownsworth from Ownsy's Retro Cafe at the Benaraby Bridge Rest Stop donated 50c from every coffee he sold on Saturday to the cause.
"If he's going to run all that way, he needs all the help he can get," Mr Ownsworth said.
"I was just in awe when he pulled up ... if it was me I'd be on all fours rolling around on the ground. He looks like it's just another day in the office.
"All the respect to him."
To contribute to Mr McMurtrie's fundraising effort, go to ptsdresurrected.org