The faces of the fallen in Afghanistan appeared on the big screen at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, as soldiers from 6 Brigade circled the concourse.
CAPTION: A piper leads the participants at the start of the 8th annual 42 for 42 event at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Story by A piper leads the participants at the start of the 8th annual 42 for 42 event at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Story by Private Nicholas Marquis. Photo: Warrant Officer Class Two Kim Allen.
Some carried packs, others wore bomb disposal suits during the 42-hour walk in mournful memory of those who never returned.
Every step taken was a tribute in their honour in the annual 42 for 42 event, now in its eighth year.
Coming to the stadium from work, after being up before sunrise, Lance Corporal William Guy was ready to complete the full 42 hours.
“For the first three hours, I was crushing it, I thought it was going to be easy,” Lance Corporal Guy said.
“I went there to challenge myself and see what my body was capable of, to prove to myself that I am capable of pack-marching for 42 hours with minimal breaks.
“It turned out to be much more of a humbling experience than I thought it would be.”
Taking part in his second consecutive year, the member from 1 Military Police Battalion said he wanted to “put in the hard yards” for those who died overseas.
With his pack at almost 40kg, Lance Corporal Guy set off on two-hour and three-hour stints and only a couple of half-hour naps.
He was the only participant from his unit and one of a handful to complete the event in full.
“I got to the point of if I sat down, I would just knock out straight away,” he said.
“I really felt for the people there who had lost someone. I was backing them and there for them in the hour of remembrance of their family member.”
Completing 107km in 42 hours, Lance Corporal Guy read the stories of the fallen as they appeared on screen and said, after crossing the finish line, he couldn’t believe he made it.
“It was a big accomplishment. Being a father myself, like some of them were, I feel like I had to be there for them,” he said.
Lance Corporal Guy raised $400 during the event, with proceeds split between the 42 for 42 charity and Soldier On.
42 for 42 represents the 41 soldiers who died in Afghanistan, and an additional one representing those who died by suicide and those who have returned with mental illness or injury.
Former Commander 6 Brigade and patron of the event, Major General Susan Coyle, who has been a supporter since its inception, participated for the first time this year.
The 42 for 42 charity opened an Afghanistan War Memorial in Brisbane in 2021.
“I have got to know a number of the families of our fallen and many current and former serving veterans,” Major General Coyle said.
“I walked with Bree Till, widow of Sergeant Brett Till, in the early hours of the morning.
“Bree was truly grateful to the many who walked during her late husband’s allocated time, with it being her first time attending as well.
“What they [42 for 42] have created is important, as it’s a reminder of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.”