As almost 3000 Australians attempt to complete a gruelling 100km trail in 48 hours for Oxfam Australia, Melbourne TRAILWALKER 2011 has already been a record breaking event with the first team Yelttum Meat home in only 10 hours 23 minutes more than an hour and 19 minutes faster than their nearest rival Phil lost his insulin pen.
Starting at 8.30am, the team of four Rohan Day (from Aspendale Gardens), Clint Van Beveren (from Elwood), Chris Wight (from Fitzroy North), and Michael Clarke (from Lilydale), crossed the finish line to break the current record set in 2009 by 12 minutes. The team previously set a TRAILWALKER record in 2008.
Rohan Day, from Aspendale, said that the team ran the entire 100km and attributes their success to the ongoing training they have done since the beginning of the year and a fantastic support team of five people.
“We are ecstatic to break the Melbourne TRAILWALKER record but we couldn’t have done it without our support crew who have been training with us since beginning of the year. We are extremely lucky to have one dedicated support crew for each runner. It’s a collaborative team win,” Mr Day said.
Oxfam TRAILWALKER Melbourne challenges 700 teams of four to walk 100 kilometres from Jells Park in Wheelers Hill to Wesburn Park in the Yarra Valley in under 48 hours and raise at least $1000 each for Oxfam Australia.
The first team to complete the 100km course – having set off in the first wave at 7.00am – was Phil lost his insulin pen. Two members, Stephen Whitehead and David Overend, were part of the fastest team in 2010, and broke their personal record by 47 minutes by running the 100kms in 11 hours and 42 minutes.
Despite the surprise of having a later starting team covering the course quicker, team member and Mount Waverly resident, Steve Tabone, said he was very happy with the team’s results.
“We had no idea there was a team that fast behind us until the last 15kms. But it pushed us to run even faster to reach the finish line. It has been a great day and we are extremely happy with our result and for team Yettlum Meat,” Said Mr Tabone.
Victorian Shadow Treasurer and Minister of Industry Tim Holding MP and Team Holding also performed a personal best by finishing the 100km endurance event with a time of 13 hours and 28 minutes, two hours and 24 minutes ahead of last year.
Mr Holding said he was ecstatic with his team’s effort and the overall spirit of the event.
“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.
“It’s been rewarding not only to achieve a personal best time but to help Oxfam Australia raise much needed funds for people living in poverty both at home and overseas,” Mr Holding said.
Finishing the trail in fourth place, Crew Crosbie Girls team were the first all women’s team to cross the in 12 hours and 24 minutes.
In a doubly impressive feat of endurance, a dedicated team of Papua New Guinean runners called Trek96 finished the event in sixteenth place, after running 96km of the Kokoda Trail on Sunday March 27 before catching a plane in time to participate in Oxfam Trailwalker and run another 100kms.
The 2011 event has already raised $2.3 million to support Oxfam’s work. Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said Australians could help the agency reach its $3.0 million target by showing their support for teams taking part.
“To walk 100kms in less than 48 hours is an astonishing achievement. These are 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,” Mr Hewett said.
Oxfam TRAILWALKER has raised $30 million for Oxfam Australia’s work over the past 12 years, supporting the organisation’s work which includes providing water and sanitation, health, emergency response and food security in countries across South and East Asia, Southern Africa, the Pacific and Indigenous Australia.
Friends, family and fans can check on the progress of teams, or make donations, through the Oxfam TRAILWALKER website www2.oxfam.org.au/trailwalker/melbourne/
Note to editors:
Whilst the elite level runners are already home, the bulk of endurance walkers are still on the trail with the 48 hour deadline not until the early morning Sunday. Participants still on the track include:
• 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 $40,246.
For more information or to interview Oxfam TRAILWALKER teams, please Oxfam media co-ordinator contact Charlotte Greig on 0404 111 919.