Australians taking extraordinary steps to raise millions for Oxfam Australia

Events, Media Releases, Oxfam Trailwalker article written on the 31 Mar 2011

Tomorrow almost 3000 people will set off on a 100km charity endurance challenge to raise around $3 million for Oxfam Australia’s work helping people around the world out of poverty.

The annual Oxfam TRAILWALKER Melbourne starts at 7am tomorrow (Friday April 1) and will continue into the early hours of Sunday morning as 700 teams of four try to walk or run a 100km trail from Wheelers Hill to the Yarra Valley in under 48 hours.

For at least two participants from different teams the 100km challenge will be even harder. Peter Edwards and Ben Phillips are both visually-impaired.

Walking with his trusted guide dog Barry, Melbourne resident and captain of the Young Visionaries team, Peter Edward believes his training regime of walking 15 to 17 hours a week, has put him in good stead for finishing the event.

“I’m really excited to be helping Oxfam Australia raise much needed funds for people living in poverty. I have been wanting to do this event for so long and know I have put in the hard work to make it all happen,” Mr Edward said.

NSW resident Ben Phillips, who plays for the Australian Blind Cricket team, hopes his efforts will demonstrate how anyone can achieve something remarkable with the right passion and commitment to a task.

“Oxfam Trailwalker is all about teamwork and working together to achieve a goal. I’m lucky to have three guys with me who are absolutely dedicated to making sure that I cross the finish line,” Mr Phillips said.

Also in Ben’s Tigers team is Senator the Hon John Faulkner who is taking part in his eighth Trailwalker.

Another political identity also taking part is Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Industry Tim Holding MP, who will participating for the second time in the Melbourne event.

Melbourne TRAILWALKER also marks a special occasion for Oxfam Australia with Executive Director Andrew Hewett taking up the challenge to participate in the event for the first time.

“Oxfam Trailwalker is truly an exhilarating experience. The seemingly endless hours of training and blisters I have already endured makes me appreciate even more the efforts our participants over the 12 years of Trailwalker events.

“Walking 100kms is a remarkable achievement and it never ceases to amaze me how far people go to help others in need,” Mr Hewett said.

Mr Hewett said the continuous commitment of participants to partake in such a rigorous event proves the generosity of spirit Australians have in giving to those less fortunate.

“Oxfam Trailwalker is all about everyday Australians who challenge themselves to the limit to raise money for Oxfam’s work to help people around the world find lasting solutions to poverty.

Despite all the recent major catastrophes over the last year it is due to the outstanding commitment from our participants we are hopeful we can meet the $3 million target which is so important to the work we do around the world,” Mr Hewett 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 $30 million for Oxfam Australia’s work to help communities around the world overcome poverty and injustice.

Notes to editors:
A number of Oxfam TRAILWALKER teams are available for interview including:
• Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Industry Tim Holding MP who is walking with Team Holding.
• Inspirational Peter Edwards is visually impaired and will be walking with his guide dog Barry and his team the Young Visionaries.
• Andrew Hewett, Executive Director of Oxfam, will be walking the trail for the first time with his team Old Flames 1.
• Team Yes We Can who are currently the highest fundraising team, to date having raised just over $32,366.
• Team Tigers (called Easts Masters at TRAILWALKER Sydney) who have collectively raised over the years $200,000 for Oxfam Trailwalker. Australian cricketer and team member Ben Phillips has the added challenge of walking the event blind.
• The oldest participant Ian Bell aged 75 who is walking with his team Park Vic Mascots.
• Police Constables Sarah Bartorelli and Sergeant Sharon Matheson from the LaTrobe area who are walking with their team Whoops A Daisy.

Teams set off on Friday 1 April in three waves at 7.00am, 8:30am and 10:00am starting at Jells Park in Wheelers Hill. The first teams are expected home 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 2 April.

Get involved:
People can continue to sponsor teams and see live results of teams’ progress over the weekend at
Registrations for the Sydney TRAILWALKER event open on April 7, which will take place from August 26 – 28 2011.
For more information, to attend, or for interviews, please contact Charlotte Greig on 0404 111 919.