24-hour Workout For Wounded Heroes

RAAF

The military and CrossFit communities have joined forces, raising more than $750,000 to support veterans and first responders, through intense, 24-hour ‘hero workouts’.

Flight Sergeant Maxine Burnett-Prasad, from Headquarters Air Command, established the ’24 Hours of Heroes’ event four years ago, with her Nepean CrossFit gym co-owner and a gym member.

The trio initiated the event to raise money for the charity Wounded Heroes: Australia as well as Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association Inc: New Zealand, and to create a supportive community for current and former military personnel around the world.

“The event consists of 24 ‘Hero’ workouts conducted across 24 hours and each workout is dedicated to a veteran or first responder who has either died in the line of duty or succumbed to mental health issues,” Flight Sergeant Burnett-Prasad said.

“Since 2021 we have expanded the event to 35 gyms across Australia and New Zealand, raising over $750,000, and creating a community of Australian Defence Force, New Zealand Defence Force, first responders and civilians.

“A lot like the military, CrossFit has a sense of camaraderie and looking out for your mates, so my hope is that by running this event in CrossFit gyms within local communities we’ll provide current and ex-serving military members with a place they feel like they belong and can lean on when they leave the military.”

Flight Sergeant Burnett-Prasad said the event, held around Anzac Day, involved teams of six people who rotate through a hero workout every hour.

“At 15 minutes to the hour, we read a briefing of the workout that includes information about the veteran or first responder, their operational experiences and the sacrifice they made,” she said.

“During the event everyone stays at the gym for 24 hours and some try to sleep even though there are barbells dropping all through the night.

“At sunrise, we play the Reveille and observe a minute’s silence to remember those who have sacrificed for our country.”

Flight Sergeant Burnett-Prasad was grateful for the support of her CrossFit “family” when she left the permanent Air Force in 2020 and said she hoped the event would raise awareness among other struggling veterans as another avenue of support.

“This event has truly become bigger than we ever imagined, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings,” she said.

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