Williamstown’s marathon man easing COVID-19 strain

Brent Szalay Photo: Joe Mastroianni) 209924_02

Goya Dmytryshchak

A Williamstown business owner, who has witnessed the strain of COVID-19, on Saturday ran an individual marathon to raise funds for mental health in the workplace.

Brent Szalay, 40, also achieved a personal goal of running the marathon in under three hours [2h57m], starting and finishing at Williamstown.

Mr Szalay has so far raised more than $8000 via GoFundMe towards his $11,000 target, which would enable 50 small businesses to be trained by Mental Health First Aid Australia.

His own accounting and advisory business donated the first $2,500, which he had vowed to double if he ran under three hours.

Mr Szalay said he was motivated to act after seeing “a huge amount of stress“ among clients suffering the economic impact of coronavirus.

“There’s been businesses closing, and some may not open up again,“ he said.

“There’s been a lot of financial pressure. There was a lot of pressure before the government stepped in.

“There was a period there of a couple of weeks where there was some real downward stress and pressure.

“The stimulus from the government has helped a lot to ease that across the board, but there’s definitely some industries that are still suffering.“

Ten years ago, Mr Szalay ran his first marathon in three hours and 31 minutes.

He immediately set a goal of running in under three hours.

In 2012, he ran the Gold Coast Marathon but 900 metres from the end, at a time of 2 hours and 52 minutes, he mistook a set of traffic lights for the finish line and collapsed to be taken away in an ambulance.

To donate, visit the GoFundMe page, Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces.