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30 June, 2021

Pushing through the pain barrier for Suicide Prevention

OVER an arduous 25-day period, 37 locals known as ‘Somerset Pushers’ completed 54,733 push-ups in what is known as The Push-Up Challenge.

The group raised $848 in aid of suicide prevention, with Lifeline Australia, The Push For Better Foundation, and Headspace the main beneficiaries of the nationwide program.

Each individual, group or sub-group was tasked with completing 3318 push-ups from June 1 to 25 - relative to the 3318 suicide deaths in Australia in 2019.

Somerset Pushers captain, Jayne McKenzie, said it was a hard ask, but that it became easier as the challenge progressed.

“As we got nearer the end, people wanted to do more push-ups,” Mrs McKenzie said.

“People did anything from 25 to 200 push-ups a day.

“Some even did push-ups when they were on holidays, and they sent in photos of evidence that they’d completed their task.”

Many of the Somerset Pushers alternated between their home and the Kilcoy Indoor Sport Centre to undertake their nominated tasks, with 68-year-old Kilcoy resident David Smith going to the Centre three times each week.

Mr Smith achieved his goal of completing all 3318 push-ups on his own, having done a minimum of 130 each day except for Sundays when he allowed himself a day off.

Having battled post-traumatic stress disorder, Mr Smith said: “exercise is the best way to beat it; it gives you a goal.”

Although he already battled a shoulder problem before he undertook the push-up challenge, Mr Smith said the challenge became easier every day.

Another participant, Peggy McMillan, said that she felt toned after doing push-ups on all 25 days of the challenge. She said she started with 35 push-ups each day, before increasing to 50.

With this year having been the first time that the Somerset Pushers took part in The Push-Up Challenge, Mrs McKenzie is already looking forward to taking part again next year.

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