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Firey's outback marathon challenge

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Hallam CFA firefighter Shayne Egan is set to run his fifth marathon for 2019 in aid of raising awareness and funds for Walking Off The War Within - a movement that raises awareness of mental health and PTSD. 

Firey's outback marathon challenge

Shayne with his sons after completing the Canberra Marathon

Walking Off The War Within was started in memory of Nathan Shanahan, a CFA firefighter and returned soldier from Ballarat who was a fierce advocate of ending the stigma associated with mental health. Sadly Nathan lost his battle with PTSD in December 2016.

In recognition of Nathan’s journey, Shayne will take on the iconic Australian Outback Marathon in central Northern Territory on 27 July. Now in its tenth year, the marathon crosses unsealed roads, bush tracks and soft-sand trails and provides views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

A firefighter for 12 years, Shayne said people, especially those working in emergency services, needed to make their mental health a priority.

“I’ve chosen to support Walking Off The War Within because it was started by a firefighter, and while it’s an extremely rewarding and enjoyable career, there are pressures and issues that are specific to emergency services personal that can impact on our mental health,” Shayne said.

“But in saying that, I feel we’re now so much more aware of the impact our work can have on our wellbeing and are more likely to seek support.

“The stigma is decreasing, and there is so much support available. People also go out of their way to help if they see someone is struggling.”

Marathon running is something new to Shayne, who took up the pursuit in 2018 after an injury.

“I had always through about running a marathon but never had any idea how to go about it,” Shayne said.

“In early 2018 I had an accident at home that put me in hospital. I was told that I was extremely lucky to have not done any lasting or serious injury.

“It was a big wakeup call; it made me realise more than ever how quickly life can change, so I got back into running.

“There’s a proven link between exercise and positive mental health, and I think being more active has set a good example for my sons. It also helps me in my job and how I engage with my shift mates.”

The Outback Marathon will be Shayne’s fifth marathon raising money and awareness for Walking Off The War Within.

Find out more and donate by visiting the Walking Off The War Within website.

This week is Men’s Health Week, a good time for the men in our ranks to refocus their attention on their health and wellbeing. Find out about the support available to CFA people.

CFA Wellbeing Support Line

If you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know, contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line on 1800 959 232 to access free, confidential support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Wellbeing services are available to all CFA volunteers, employees and their immediate family members. 

The support services include the Member Assistance Program with Psychologists and Counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Programs, Chaplaincy Program, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Let Me Know web-based app, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as other services provided by the Organisational Wellbeing team.

To view the complete range of services visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing