Mental, physical challenge
As a personal trainer who dedicates hours of time to helping people achieve their goals, Danny Kennedy is well aware of the connection between physical and mental health.
He is also well aware he will need to call on both physical strength and mental grit to complete an epic challenge alongside client and Olympic gold medallist Michael Klim.
The pair will push a weighted sled for 24 hours from 6pm on Friday night.
Mr Kennedy, who grew up in Horsham, operates Danny Kennedy Fitness in Albert Park, Melbourne.
He said since starting his business a few years ago he had been considering ways to test his physical limits while raising money for an important cause.
“I wanted to make it something outrageous,” he said.
“Initially I was going to do a run, but then I decided on the sled push because it’s something different and no one else has really done it.
“Once I decided on that I started to put some plans in place.”
The sled weighs 60 kilograms and is topped with a 20-kilogram plate weight.
“Michael and I will be the two main ones trying to push it for the whole 24 hours, up and down a 30-metre track,” Mr Kennedy said.
“We’ll have two to four people every half hour to an hour doing it with us to help get us through.”
The challenge will raise money for mental health programs and awareness, specifically depression and anxiety.
Mr Kennedy said the pair had already raised $800 towards a $10,000 goal for beyondblue, the national depression initiative.
He said he wanted to raise awareness of the work beyondblue did to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.
“I chose beyondblue as my cause because I have an interest in mental health,” he said.
“In sporting circles it’s become more common for people to talk about their struggles with depression.
“For the past 12 to 18 months I’ve been training a client who is also a good friend. He recently told his family and friends he’s been suffering from depression.
“I saw the benefits in him being able to tell people about what he was going through and it’s one of the main reasons I want to raise awareness of the importance about speaking up about mental health issues.”
Mr Kennedy said he and Klim would need support from friends to complete their challenge, drawing parallels with mental health struggles.
“Not only will pushing a sled for 24 hours be physically hard, it will also be mentally challenging,” he said.
“My aim is to bring awareness to the fact that as hard as things might seem, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and physical exercise can be a great way to turn things around.
“Anxiety and depression are debilitating, but if there’s one thing you should know, it’s that you’re never alone.”
Mr Kennedy’s 24-hour sled push challenge will be at Dieter Roylante’s Meister Athlete Gym in Melbourne from 6pm on Friday, to 6pm, Saturday.
People can donate in person throughout the challenge or online at www. mycause.com.au/page/162865.
EPIC CHALLENGE: Personal trainer Danny Kennedy, of Horsham, right, trains Olympic gold medallist Michael Klim ahead of the pair’s 24-hour sled push challenge to raise money for beyondblue.
Picture: MIKE BAKER, AUSTRALIAN MEN’S HEALTH MAGAZINE