Matthew Breen

Founder of Running for Resilience

ACT Nominee Young Australian of the Year 2022

We’ve all had a tough time at some point in our lives that required us to keep moving and not give up. That’s what inspired Matthew (Matt) Breen to establish Running for Resilience – an exercise campaign aimed at empowering people to turn their internal struggles into positive ones through movement.

Matt is open about his own mental health challenges. When he lost his dad to suicide in 2010 and his Mum to ovarian cancer in February 2021, he turned to exercise as a coping mechanism. It helped him feel good about himself and connect with others in a safe and unthreatening environment.

When Running for Resilience began in 2019, it had just 20 participants. Now it regularly hosts anywhere between 60 to 120 runners on the Kingston Foreshore every Wednesday night, with a smaller group on Friday mornings.

But most important to Matt is the number of conversations the campaign has opened up around mental health and the need to support one another.