2000 walkers push through the Sydney darkness for Oxfam

Events, Media Releases article written on the 27 Aug 2011

Five hundred teams of four walked through the night in an attempt to complete the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney challenge and raise vital funds for Oxfam Australia work around the world.

Commencing from Brooklyn, Sydney at 7am on Friday August 26, Oxfam Trailwalker teams have now been on the bush trail for more than 24 hours, with the majority expected to finish this endurance charity event, between the hours of Midday to 6.00pm at Georges Heights Oval, Mosman. They will be greeted by hundreds of friends and family members as they complete the trail in under 48 hours.

Oxfam Trailwalker Manager, Andy Mein said the determination of participants to finish what is widely regarded as one of Australia’s toughest charity challenges is truly inspiring.

“Walking 100kms in 48 hours is challenging enough, but walking in darkness on a bush trail pushes the boundaries and is an extraordinary feat. It demonstrates the outstanding commitment and effort of our Oxfam Trailwalker participants.

“Oxfam staff will be joined by teams’ families and friends to cheer them across the line and thank them for the amazing fundraising and training effort they have put in over the past months to raise money for Oxfam Australia and for people living in poverty”, Mr Mein said.

While the majority of participants are still dealing with the onset of fatigue, sore feet and blisters, as they walk toward the finish line, Quality Meats will already be enjoying a well earned rest having run the 100km trail in only 12 hours and 9 minutes to be the first team to cross the line at 7.09pm on Friday evening.

This is back-to-back success for Quality Meats who were the first team home in 2010 in what still stands as a course record of 12 hours and 7 minutes.

Chris Turnbull (St Leonards), Jonathan Worswick (Alexandria), Jonathan O’Loughlin (Birchgrove) and Richard MountStephens (Killarney Heights), who make-up this dynamic team of ultra fit runners were ecstatic by their time.

“It would have been added bonus to break our time but we had a brilliant day, the atmosphere on the track was buzzing and we are ecstatic by our win. It’s a great event as we get to do what we love to do (run) and help raise money for Oxfam, Mr Turnbull said.

“We really like to thank our support crew and our donators who allowed us to run in this fantastic event,” Mr Turnbull added.

Their support member and Ultra Run blogger Marcus Warner, who have been tracking the boys all day, believed their fast pace was due to their intense training regime.

“We train throughout the year and run on average around 25kms a day to keep us fit,” said Mr Warner.

With more than $2.8 million donations already pledged, Sydney Trailwalker participants are continuing to fundraise towards a target in excess of $3.2 million to help Oxfam’s work with people living in poverty.

The Sydney trail features the well-known Great North Walk and the Harbour to Hawkesbury Walking track. Throughout the 100km, teams tackle interesting and challenging terrain, featuring single track sections, hills and rocky trails. At the same time they’ll be exposed to some amazing scenery as they pass along cliff tops, waterways and beaches as they head towards the finishing line.

Over 5000 people are involved in the thirteenth Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney event, whether as participants, support teams, volunteers or event staff. The 2200 walkers range in age from 18 to 67 and come from most suburbs in Sydney and some from across NSW, interstate and overseas.

Notes to editors:

Oxfam Trailwalker is about everyday Australians doing the extraordinary. There are numerous participants still on the trail or who have completed the trail in record time are available for interview, including:

• Former cricket player for the NSW blues Greg Mail participating with his team We’ve got Mark Faraday .
• Former NSW Netball Captain and Australian Netball Representative Hannah Hauser and her all female team St. Martins Oxfam 100.
• The oldest participant John Hungerford aged 67 years (from West Pymble), has done every Trailwalker since 2004 and has raised over $40,000
• The youngest participant is Phoebe Pearson aged 18-years-old from Clovelly.
• Team There’s no place like home in collaboration with Macquarie Group Foundation have raised over $120,000 and broken the Australia Oxfam Trailwalker team fundraising record.
• Club NSW teams from the Dooleys Lidcombe and Revesby Workers Club who have collectively raised over $76,000.
• Fifth time Trailwalker participant Timothy King who has raised over $125,660 for Oxfam.
• Team Wobbegongs. The first all female team to complete the trail, in the time of 16 hours and 54 minutes.
• Lisa Goozee, The first female team to complete in the time of 14 hours and 57 minutes.

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

For more media information, or for interviews with organisers or participants, please contact Charlotte Greig on 0404 111 919. Email charlotteg@oxfam.org.au