Queensland creates history with the first ever Brisbane Oxfam Trailwalker charity endurance challenge

Media Releases, Oxfam Trailwalker article written on the 15 Jun 2011

Widely regarded as one of Australia’s toughest team endurance charity challenges, this week Queensland will host its first Oxfam Trailwalker event.

As the sun rises on Friday June 17, 1200 Australians will take on the extraordinary feat of walking or running 100 kms in less than 48 hours to raise vital funds for Oxfam Australia’s life-saving work around the world.

Commencing from Mt. Glorious Brisbane, 300 teams of four will walk or run the equivalent of more than two marathons back-to-back to the finish line at Mt Coot-tha and help support people living in poverty.

Originally conceived as a military training exercise by Gurkhas based in Hong Kong, Oxfam Trailwalker is an international event run in over 12 countries around the world and this Friday it will be introduced to Brisbane for the first time.

Over the 12 years that Trailwalker events have been run in Australia, over 35,000 participants have raised $35 million for Oxfam Australia’s work to help communities around the world and in Australia overcome poverty and injustice.

Oxfam Executive Director Andrew Hewett said it was due to the outstanding efforts of everyday Australians that Trailwalker has become Oxfam Australia’s biggest fundraising event.

“Despite all the recent major catastrophes over the last year it is due to the outstanding commitment of Queensland participants and their generosity of spirit that we can hold Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane and raise vital funds for the work we do around the world. I cannot thank them enough for taking up the challenge.

“Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane is expected to be the most challenging Trailwalker held in Australia to date and we expect the spectacular mountainous bushland and fauna will exhilarate our walkers to go the distance,” Mr Hewett said

Minister for Environment and Resource Management Kate Jones MP will officially open the event and said Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane will give people the opportunity to experience Brisbane’s breathtaking parks and trails while supporting a great cause.

“The trail gives people the opportunity to experience the real natural beauty of Brisbane’s great outdoors. It’s a great community event and we are delighted to help Oxfam Australia raise much needed funds for people living in poverty both at home and overseas,” Ms Jones said.

Participants will traverse their way through D’Aguilar National Park and out to Lake Manchester. The trail will then see participants passing Gold Creek and the historic town of Brookfield before the final climb to finish at the spectacular Mt Coot-tha.

The 1200 walkers range in age from 18 to 78 and come from most suburbs in Brisbane and some from across Queensland and interstate. Teams are also travelling from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Christchurch, America, England and China to participate in the event.

Another 700 people will volunteer in roles such as podiatrists, physiotherapists and trail marshals, drivers and another 900 people will lose sleep over the weekend to act as a lifeline to each team, providing them with food, band aids, hugs and clean socks to help them keep walking.

Notes to editors:
Teams set off on Friday 17 June in three waves at 7.00am, 8:30am and 10:00am starting at Mt Glorious. The first teams are expected home around 7.30pm on Friday evening at Mt Coot-tha and the majority of teams will cross the finish line from midday to 6:00pm on Saturday 18 June.

Oxfam Trailwalker is about everyday Australians doing the extraordinary. We have Oxfam Executive Director Andrew Hewett and numerous participants available for interview including:

• A group of school teachers from a Brisbane primary school, who have overcome tremendous adversity after the Brisbane floods to participate and fundraise for Oxfam Trailwalker.
• The oldest participant Bernie Tobin aged 78 years old, from Bundaberg.
• The youngest participant, Brodie Zeller aged 18-years-old, from Brisbane.
• Team Big Foot who has collectively participated in 36 Australian Oxfam Trailwalker events. The Brisbane event will be team member Christine Kings 17th event.
• Team Foxy Oxies 4, a team of Brisbane mothers who have juggled a gruelling training regime and demands of 11 children between them and have raised a huge amount of money for Oxfam Australia’s work.

People can continue to sponsor teams and see live results of teams’ progress over the weekend at oxfam.org.au/trailwalker.

For more information, to attend, or for interviews, please contact Charlotte Greig on 0404 111 919. Email charlotteg@oxfam.org.au