The inaugural Oxfam Trailwalker Perth event will begin this morning, with thousands of gutsy walkers set to tackle a gruelling 100km Western Australian trail over 48 hours.
Today, 390 teams of four will walk or run 100km in Western Australian bush from Kalamunda to Chidlow in the Perth Hills, raising money for Oxfam Australia.
Oxfam Australia Acting Chief Executive Tony McKimmie said Oxfam had always hoped to bring a new exciting challenge to West Australia, and today it had become a reality.
“We’ve always known that Perth provides the perfect setting for an Oxfam Trailwalker event – stunning landscapes, interesting trails and great weather,” he said.
“Walking 100km non-stop is no easy feat and it takes months of planning and dedication to get to this point.
“Western Australians have proved they are up for the challenge, with thousands signing up very quickly to enjoy the extraordinary experience Trailwalker provides.”
To take part in Trailwalker Perth, each team must fundraise a minimum of $1000, with the aim of raising $1.5 million overall towards Oxfam Australia’s work helping people overcome poverty and injustice.
This morning the teams will set off in four waves at 7am, 8am, 9am and 10am.
The fastest teams are expected at the finish line at Chidlow as early as 5pm tonight, however most will take around 28 hours to finish and are expected to cross the finish line between 7am and 2pm tomorrow.
Participants available for interview include:
– ARIA-award nominated Western Australian singer Mama Kin will be walking her first ever Trailwalker.
– Western Australian Minister for Local Government Tony Simpson and State MP Ben Wyatt, are both participating in teams of their parliamentary colleagues.
– Dave Overend is competing in his fourth Australian Trailwalker this year, and aims to complete all four events in less than 48 hours combined.
– Our oldest walker Tom Weir, 76, of Lesmurdie.
Mr McKimmie said 600 volunteers would work in roles such as podiatrists, physiotherapists, drivers and ‘sweep teams’ to clean up after the walkers, while another 750 people would act as support crews for each team, providing food and supplies.
“Of course, the event relies on the unsung heroes, the support crews, and our eager and enthusiastic volunteers and staff who will be helping our Trailwalkers every step of the way,” he said.
This is the first time the Trailwalker event has been held in Perth, after it originated in Hong Kong in 1981 as part of a military training exercise with the Queen’s Ghurka signals regiment.
There are now 15 events held in 10 countries around the world including Japan, India, Spain, Germany and the UK, as well as events already held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Trailwalker sponsor Deloitte has 19 teams taking part in the event, including Deloitte Managing Partner Michael McNulty, who said he hoped the event would become a tradition in Perth for many years.
“I am looking forward to the camaraderie involved and the personal challenge of completing a challenging event for one of the most worthy causes in the world – promoting social justice and fighting poverty,” he said.