CAVERSHAM’S Ronnie Hobbs finished a gruelling four-day 239km run last week in an effort to raise money and awareness for the hundreds of returning soldiers who have taken their lives as a result of post traumatic stress disorder.
The former soldier raised more than $13,000 for the Soldier On Foundation, which supports soldiers living with PTSD.
Mr Hobbs took off from his home in the Swan Valley last week and finished his run in Jurien Bay, taking with him a support crew on bikes and two safety vehicles.
He said the experience was one of the most mentally and physically challenging things he had taken on in his life, with the impact on his body “enormous”.
“Each morning I would wake up sore and wonder how I would continue to run,” he said. “I could have given up at 100km, but I kept going and the message to come from this is: soldiers struggling with PTSD, don’t give up, seek help and keep going,” he said
“From the point of view of an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD, they believe that there isn’t help out there but this run proved there is; when I asked people to give, they gave in bucket loads.”
Mr Hobbs said the best thing about the experience was the people he met along the way.
“There were cars tooting at us along the way, which really encouraged me to keep going,” he said.
“The ladies at the Gingin Brook Service Station donated their lotto money and that picked up my spirits.
“A little girl aged about six was feeding cows in a paddock and ran down the driveway to donate her pocket money; that was a real highlight.”
Mr Hobbs said all the money would go to the Soldier On Foundation, which helped with everything from counselling, homelessness and finding employment for returning soldiers.
“By creating awareness and looking out for each other, and encouraging people to seek help we can reduce the amount of people lost to PTSD,” he said.
He said he would not have gotten through if not for the help of the community and his support and safety crew.
“Without my support crew Craig Reekie and Tegan Borstel I would not have gotten through,” Mr Hobbs said.
“Two ex-soldiers flew to Perth to drive in the safety car and Dalby Munro from the Ellenbrook RSL drove behind us.
“The support I received was amazing and I was so happy to have them along with me.
“I’m really proud of what we have achieved.”
If you are struggling with PTSD or know someone who is, contact the Solider On Foundation https://soldieron.org.au.