A group of local residents smiled as they walked through their discomfort on Saturday evening.
Team MaD took part in the Black Dog Institute's Exercise Your Mood walk around the Sydney Olympic Park precinct to support people struggling with mental health issues.
Sure they had the odd twinge of pain but they knew their discomfort just could not compare to what people living with the dark cloud of mental health experiences each day of their lives.
Well known Nowra Athletic Club members, Mel Mustapic and Darlene Musgrove, entered Team MaD (the M stands for Mel and D for Darlene) and other locals signed up.
The team had 19 members and they all finished the walk, six of the walkers were under 21-years-of-age.
"When Darlene signed me up for the 21km walk I didn't hesitate, knowing our fundraising efforts were going to support the Black Dog Institute," Mel said.
"I was familiar with their work and wanted to support people living with mental health and raise vital funds to aid research.
"We both personally wanted to breakdown the stigma associated with mental illness to encourage others to seek help and not be ashamed."
Team MaD, as of Tuesday, October 15, was on top of the team fundraising leader-board with $14,511.00 and the walk's overall tally stood at $ 141,707.00.
"I was overwhelmed by the response from our local community, supporting our team and providing generous donations," Mel said.
"Our team, at the event, was announced as the highest team fundraiser from over 70 teams and with over $14,500 received in donations we are all grateful for the support."
Mel said it was a fun and challenging event.
"The Black Dog Institute ran a fantastic event with over 500 walkers and countless volunteers who made our experience, amongst the blisters and aching muscles, so enjoyable," she said.
"Having previously run many half marathons the walk was more challenging than I thought it was going to be but I wanted it that way - nothing great comes easy."
Mel has spoken about her own personal mental health journey before and said she knows more about the great work done by the Black Dog Institute.
"I learnt on the night that the Black Dog Institute is the only institute that undertakes research across all ages," Mel said.
"Having personally spoken to a wide cross-sector of ages in our community I understand research for all ages is critical.
"One of the statistics which I personally find heartbreaking for individuals and families is that more people aged between 18-44 will die by suicide than any other cause.
"This breaks my heart especially as I work with so many young people and I know how much suicide has affected people in the Shoalhaven."
So will Team MaD be back next year?
"I'm proud of our team and thankful to the people in the Shoalhaven that got on board with this worthwhile cause," Mel said.
"I'm already keen to do it again next year and I hope more people will join Team MaD."