2021 Walking Off the War Within

April 21, 2021

Nathan Shanahan

This weekend, St Patrick’s College is once again playing host to one of Ballarat’s biggest and fastest growing community events – Walking Off the War Within.

The event was inaugurated four years ago in honour of Old Collegian Nathan Shanahan (SPC 1988-93, pictured), a returned soldier and firefighter who sadly lost his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and took his own life in December 2016.

Prior to his death Nathan had tried to raise awareness of the plight of men like him by embarking on a walk from Mildura to Adelaide, carrying a 20kg backpack in an effort to walk off his own war within.

This week, with the Federal Government announcing a Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicides and in the lead-up to Anzac Day on Sunday, it has never been a more appropriate time to rally around this cause.

On Saturday morning, from 8.30am, we are expecting up to 2000 people to attend the College to be involved in this event and to engage in community discussions around mental health. The event is especially popular with members of the emergency services in Ballarat, many of whom walk proudly in their uniforms.

Participants can choose to walk as much or as little as they like as they embark upon the 2km circuitous route through the College grounds (see map below).

The ultimate challenge is to walk 20km or ten laps, carrying 20kg!

Adding further colour and excitement to the day, there will be food stalls, petting zoos and emergency service displays. Our boarding students, along with those from Ballarat Grammar and Ballarat Clarendon College, will also be volunteering as course marshals on the day.

With excitement, the College will also be host to two emergency service helicopters, including the Westpac Rescue chopper and one firefighting aircraft, both of which will land on the Hill Oval at 4pm on Friday and are expected to depart at 2pm on Saturday.

We would love for as many members of our community as possible to be involved in this event. To register your interest or for more information simply visit this link.

We hope to see you there.