Special Minister of State John Faulkner and Neighbours actor Ryan Moloney will join a record 2,700 people who are all walking or running 100km in under 48 hours to help raise money for people living in poverty all over the world.
TRAILWALKER Melbourne 2008 will be the largest ever in the nine-year history of the fundraising event. The aim of this year’s Melbourne challenge is to raise more than $2.8 million to support Oxfam’s work in 28 countries, including Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australia.
Neighbours actor Ryan Moloney said friends, family and fellow cast members thought he was “nuts” for undertaking the walk and all the training that was required in the lead up.
“People think we’re crazy, when we’re going on training walks through the night or in the pouring rain,” he said.
“But it’s the challenge that gets us going, the training, fundraising and above all the walk itself.”
Yachting legend John Bertrand AM, who will fire the starting gun at 10am on Friday April 11, said given its long distance the Oxfam TRAILWALKER required great endurance and ranked alongside yachting as one of the toughest team challenges.
“But you don’t need to be a professional athlete to do it,” Mr Bertrand said.
“As well as physical ability, you need mental endurance and a lot of team spirit to be able to walk together for up to two days and two nights.”
More than 2,700 people have signed up for the Melbourne challenge, an extra 300 on last year, with participants coming from all walks of life.
Entrants in this year’s event include teams of nurses, stockbrokers, mothers, baggage handlers and fire-fighters.
Oxfam TRAILWALKER began in 1981 as a military exercise in Hong Kong, and is now one of the world’s largest and longest fundraising extreme endurance challenges. It takes place annually in Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne, New Zealand, UK, Hong Kong and Japan, and will be launched in Belgium in August.
Organising Oxfam TRAILWALKER is an immense logistical challenge, and relies on the support of its principal sponsor State Street as well as nearly 800 volunteers who work in roles such as trail marshals, drivers and physiotherapists.
Brett Long, one of the Oxfam TRAILWALKER Melbourne Co-ordinators said Oxfam worked hard to keep the event environmentally sustainable. “Much care and consultation has also been taken to protect the trail, and minimise the walkers’ environmental impact,” Mr Long said.
Senator John Faulkner is one of the few to have also completed the Sydney Oxfam TRAILWALKER in August 2007, and finished the walk with his team in 32 hours and 41 minutes.
“Oxfam is a really great cause,” John Faulkner said. “Helping with their work is certainly worth any pain and discomfort walkers endure.”
Oxfam TRAILWALKER starts on Friday April 11 and ends on Sunday April 13. Walkers will set off at 7am, 8:30am and 10am from Jells Park in Wheelers Hill on Friday April 11.
About State Street:
Global financial organisation, State Street, is the principal sponsor of Oxfam TRAILWALKER in Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Japan. As Australia’s largest institutional investor and a leading bank and custodian, State Street provides investment servicing, investment management, research and trading services for the world’s largest investors. For more information visit www.statestreet.com.
For more information or to interview Brett Long or Oxfam TRAILWALKER participants, please contact Melany Markham on 0407 515 559