The first team has crossed the line in the Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 100km endurance fundraising challenge, crediting team work for their swift finishing time of 10 hours and 31 minutes.
Runners David Wilson, 47, of Box Hill, and David Overend, 37, of Abbotsford, who were also first to finish at last year’s event, Daniel Langelaan, 35, of Endeavour Hill, and Dion Finocchiaro, 25, of Brighton, were running together for the first time when they set off at 7am on Friday from Jells Park, Wheelers Hill.
Due to conflicting schedules, the team, named Steve Has Been Chicked, did not manage to find time to train together before the event, instead running in groups of two or three, but once on the trail, they did not leave each others’ side.
Team captain David Wilson said the group had known they would have a few teams on their heels, but they pulled together to leave them behind. “We really stuck together as a team,” Wilson said.
“We decided if they wanted to catch us they were going to have to run really well.”
The two David’s beat their personal best for the challenge by 49 minutes, making it to Wesburn Park, Warburton at 5.31pm.
The youngest runner in the team, Dino Finocchiaro said the event was a great way to give back.
“I had a rough childhood myself, so it’s really nice to have the chance to give back,” Finocchiaro said.
“We didn’t have a lot when I was growing up. I had to buy my own uniform as a teenager and I have had to work hard for everything I have, so while it’s not to the same extreme as others, I can relate.”
All four runners had run Trailwalker in the past and for Wilson and Overend it was their fifth event in a row, having completed the event in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth last year.
Trailwalker Spokesperson Yvette Petersen congratulated the runners on their achievement.
“These runners gave it everything they had to get to the end of the trail before sunset and they should be proud of their results, both on the trail and in their fundraising,” Ms Petersen said.
“They raised $1,620 for Oxfam, which will go towards funding life-saving work around the world.”
The second team across the line was the all-female team Trails Plus, made up of Kellie Emmerson, 28, Deanna Blegg, 44, Nikki Wynd, 42, and Samantha Gash, 29. The group, whose team motto was “fast girls have good times,” recorded a time of 11hours 20 minutes.
Melbourne Trailwalker 2014 is the largest in the event’s history with 3200 signed up to run and walk 100km through rugged Victorian bush in one of Australia’s toughest charity challenges. Its participants, who will continue to arrive at the finish line as late as Sunday, are aiming to raise $3 million for international aid agency Oxfam Australia’s work helping people overcome poverty and injustice.
To arrange interviews with team members and Oxfam spokespeople or images of the event, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Angus Hohenboken on 0428 367 318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.