Men­tal, phys­i­cal chal­lenge

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

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. my­

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.


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