Tomorrow almost 3000 people will set off on a 100km walk – more than 25 laps of The Tan – in an effort to raise $2.7 million dollars for Oxfam Australia’s work to help people around the world who live in poverty.
The annual Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne will start from 7am tomorrow (Friday April 16) and will continue into the early hours of Sunday morning as 700 teams of four endeavour to walk or run a 100km trail stretching from Wheelers Hill to the Yarra Valley in under 48 hours.
Among the participants is Minister for Water, Finance, Tourism and Major Events Tim Holding MP who said he was looking forward to enjoying some of Victoria’s great parks and trails while supporting a great cause.
“It’s fantastic to be a part of Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne, one of the toughest endurance walks and an event with such a long history and strong community following,” Mr Holding said.
“I’m really excited to be helping Oxfam Australia raise much needed funds for people living in poverty both at home and overseas.”
Visually-impaired former Paralympian Nicholas Gleeson will also be walking the 100km trail in a team with Defence Minister Senator the Hon John Faulkner.
Although he is the only visually impaired person to have reached the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, Mr Gleeson said he was looking forward to doing his first Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne.
“I am particularly looking forward to the team spirit of Oxfam Trailwalker and I’m lucky to have three guys with me who are absolutely dedicated to making sure that I cross the finish line,” Mr Gleeson said.
Oxfam Australia spokesperson Leigh Stewart said Oxfam Trailwalker was a true test of endurance and certainly no walk in the park.
“These are everyday Australians who are challenging themselves to the limit to raise money for Oxfam’s work to help people around the world find lasting solutions to poverty,” Ms Stewart said.
Originally conceived as a military training exercise by Gurkhas based in Hong Kong, over the 12 years of Oxfam TRAILWALKER in Australia walkers have helped raised over $29 million for Oxfam Australia’s work to help communities around the world overcome poverty and injustice.
Organising Oxfam TRAILWALKER relies on the support of its principal sponsor global financial organisation State Street as well as 2800 people who act as support crew for teams and 800 volunteers who work as trail marshals, drivers, cleaners and physiotherapists over the three days.
Teams set off on Friday April 16 in three waves at 7am, 8:30am and 10am starting at Jells Park, Wheelers Hill. The first teams are expected around 7.30pm on Friday evening at Wesburn Park in the Yarra Valley and the majority of teams will cross the finish line from 7am Saturday April 17.
To cover this event or for interviews with Leigh Stewart or Trailwalker teams, contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on 0407 555 960.
For radio updates direct from the trail with Team Holding’s team call Sebastian Zwalf on 0411 306 607, or updates from Nicholas Gleeson’s team call Max Bryant on 0438 771 810.
For more information, to sponsor or follow the progress of teams visit: www.oxfam.org.au/trailwalker/melbourne