Thursday, June 27th, 2019 - The Press Gallery

Covering 42km of Adelaide beaches and coastline on foot is a marathon effort and that is what hundreds of enthused people will do on Saturday July 27 in support of our veterans and emergency services for the annual SmartBar Australia Walk for a Veteran with PTS.

And they are set to be rewarded for their astonishing efforts with The Superjesus frontwoman Sarah McLeod and Olympic legend Steven Bradbury part of the packed after walk entertainment.

Born out of the rigors of Army pack marches where fully laden soldiers cover incredible distances, the SmartBar Walk for a Veteran with PTS covers the 42km stretch from Seacliff to Largs Bay and return to Henley Beach.

The distance is in honour of the 42 Australian Defence Force personnel killed in operation in Afghanistan. The cause is to raise awareness and money for programs for veterans and emergency services personnel with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS).

SmartBar Walk for a Veteran with PTS has grown year on year from a stoic three walkers in its event to last year, attracting more than 350 walkers in 2018 in a superb show of support for our servicemen and women.

This year’s event, boosted by the support of South Australian based vehicle protection system producer SmartBar Australia and the drive of SmartBar General Manager Kevin Baker, is expected to attract more than 400 walkers along the beaches across the day.

Hosted by, and supporting the Henley and Grange, and Largs Bay RSL clubs, funds raised by the walk are donated to the two clubs as well as the RSL assistance dog program Operation K9, and The Road Home Wellbeing Program which offers assistance to veterans and emergency services personnel.

Heroes on the Homefront - supporting veterans and their families on the ground in SA with social events and care packages among that support, is another beneficiary of the event.

Mr Baker, himself a former SAPOL Star Group officer who also served in conflict in Iraq, says the alignments with SmartBar Australia and the Walk for a Veteran with PTS event were many, but of particular note was the efforts each made towards improving safety - physical and mental health - of valued members of the community.

Event founder Chad McLaren, also a former serviceman who served in East Timor, said the valued sponsorship and acknowledgement of SmartBar Australia of the walk was driving this year’s walk on Saturday, July 27, to be bigger and better than ever.

“This event has been building year-on-year and that is largely a result of the respect people have for our veterans and emergency services personnel and the recognition that a bit of effort by taking part in the Walk for a Veteran with PTS goes a long way to helping those in need of specialist services,’’ Mr McLaren said.

Walkers set off from Seacliff at 6am, with rest stops along the route and lunch at Largs Bay RSL before a return to the finish at the Henley and Grange RSL club.

The stunning light horses from the Barossa Light Horse Historical Association will once again join in the walk during the day, along with soldiers from 7RAR based in Edinburgh and a large contingent from the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service.

SA Premier and Minister for Veterans Affairs Steven Marshall is the Walk’s patron and will again participate this year. And when the walk is over, the fun really starts at the Henley and Grange RSL club with live entertainment, displays and food and beverages to welcome the walkers in ahead of some cracking tales of overcoming the odds to win from Australia’s first Winter Olympic Gold Medallist, “Last Man Standing” Steven Bradbury.

“Lets get around the people who serve our nation and communities and say thank you, and help get them back on track,’’ Mr McLaren says.

You can either donate or commit to walking 14, 27, or 42 kilometres by signing up through: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2019-smartbar-walk-for-a-veteran-with-pts-tickets-53898767665

or you can donate or support an individual or group fundraising effort at:

https://www.mycause.com.au/events/veteransmartbarwalk

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Covering 42km of Adelaide beaches and coastline on foot is a marathon effort and that is what hundreds of enthused people will do on Saturday July 27 in support of our veterans at the annual SmartBar Australia Walk for a Veteran.

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