It's a Wrap: The Push-Up Challenge 2023

10 Aug 2023

The Push-Up Challenge 2023 is done and dusted. From 1-23 June, arms across Australia felt the heat (and got stronger), hearts got a bit fuller, and a giant mountain of push-ups was ascended by a 200,000-strong team - all in the name of better mental health.

So, let’s take a quick scroll down memory lane as we recap the moments that made The Push-Up Challenge 2023 the biggest and best one yet.

The challenge was real

The challenge was real: 3,144 push-ups in 23 days.

All in the name of the push for better mental health in Australia - and honouring the 3,144 lives that were sadly lost to suicide in 2021.

And 215,000 people rose to it like a bunch of legends.

Age was no barrier. People young and old took part, with even those too young to walk still finding a way to push. 

Our oldest and wisest participants include the delightful Rose here, 91, busting hers out at the gym... 

And even a particularly senior participant, who needed a change to the birth date options on our registration form to include the 1910s, so she could enter.

push-up challenge

With our powers of pushupery combined, we smashed out over 315 million push-ups together. Sweat dripped off brows, muscles ached. And, thanks to a daily commitment to exercise, our participants got stronger and fitter.

It didn’t stop at the humble push-up, either – people got creative with variations including squats, sit-ups, wall push-ups, handstand push-ups, clap push-ups and more.

People got their push-up on everywhere from Uluru and Parliament House to beside the Thames and even in icy Antarctica.

We learnt 

Aching biceps aside, The Push-Up Challenge 2023 helped us all to brush up on knowledge and understanding around mental health. Each day, a new mental health fact was shared, clueing us in about everything from perinatal mental health, and First Nations psychologists, to the significant benefits of outdoor time and journaling.  

As we learnt, important chats were had and we continued to strive towards smashing stigmas around mental ill-health. 

We bonded

Here at The Push-Up Challenge, connection is a priority – so we were stoked to see so many bonds made and strengthened during the event. Over 30,000 teams were created, seeing groups of mates, family, sports teams, colleagues and schools banding together around one big, sweaty goal.

Our corporate participants really stepped up their game this year, with over 5,400 organisations jumping on board to get behind the cause.

Check out the legendary crew from Northern Star resources getting their push-up on while on the job:

Participation in the schools space also exploded, and we were honoured to have 5,060 schools teams and a total of over 31,000 school participants from 339 schools pushing with us. Some 500  Student Ambassadors jumped on board from every state of Australia, and a special shout-out the exceptional efforts of Cranbrook School in Sydney, who worked hard to raise more than $44,000 for mental health.  

The Student Ambassador Program, which is proudly supported by Push For Better Foundation, is one of the leading national mental health student ambassador initiatives in Australia. As part of the program, we provide Mental Health Awareness Training to all Student Ambassadors, which is a valuable opportunity for students to gain tools and knowledge equipping them to have conversations around mental health with their peers. 

Here are the amazing students from The Hutchins School in Tasmania getting together for mass push-ups:

Speaking of teams, did we mention that we even had seals showing off their push-up form at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour?

We raised awareness 

Importantly, the impact on mental health in Australia was felt wide and far, as we pushed to boost awareness and understanding among the community. Discussions around mental health and the mission behind The Push-Up Challenge were held everywhere from breakfast TV to radio, across the front pages of major newspapers and of course, in thousands and thousands of posts on social media.  

We fundraised

Our efforts to push for better mental health saw individual participants, schools and corporate teams rally big-time in support of fundraising for Lifeline, Movember and Push for Better Foundation.

Our good friends at Northern Star Resources generously contributed a huge $200,000 to our two Dollar Match Days, which certainly added twice the excitement.

Participants encouraged mates, colleagues and families to dig deep for the cause. Everyone gave generously – so generously, in fact, that we raised over $14.7 million for mental health. We’re so proud of everyone’s incredible efforts to bring home this stellar result.

The crucial funds we have raised in 2023 will make a real difference to mental health programs and services for Australians most in need, via the three mental health charities our fundraisers supported through the event:

Funds raised are supporting Movember’s work with the Ahead of the Game program, which strengthens mental health literacy and resilience of boys and young men through sport and interactive workshops.

Funds raised are supporting the work Lifeline is doing to ensure that its critical support services are accessible to anyone who needs them – anytime, anywhere.

Push for Better Foundation
Funds raised are supporting the work Push for Better Foundation is doing supporting mental health research and the early intervention and prevention of depression, anxiety and suicide.

In just seven years, The Push-Up Challenge has become the largest mental health and fitness event in Australia.

Following the 2023 event, we've now raised over $40 million for mental health research, programs and services, with over 400,000 people pushing for better mental health and completing more than 900 million push-ups.

Together, we’re making a real difference to mental health in Australia.