The 12th Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne has finished with 81 percent of participants completing the gruelling 100km endurance challenge, and the efforts of entrants and their supporters raising $2.4 million dollars to help fight poverty.
The last team across the line, The Hi Hos, maintained their enthusiasm to the end.
Nicola Hande, of East Keilor, Kara Hande, of Essendon East, Kate Evans, of Gladstone Park, and Jacqueline Cullie, of Airport West, passed under the gantry with a cheer at 7.08am.
Soon after Nicola was told by a first aider told she had another claim to fame, sporting the biggest blister of the weekend.
“It was painful, but it was worth it,” Ms Hande said. “It’s a great cause, a great challenge and it created a wonderful sense of community spirit among our fundraisers.”
The first team ran the trail in 10 hours and 31 minutes, crossing the finish line at 5.31pm on Friday.
For runners David Wilson, of Box Hill, and David Overend, of Abbotsford, it was their second first placing after leading the pack home in last year’s event, and their fifth Trailwalker in a row.
Their team, Steve Has Been Chicked, smashed their previous time with the addition of teammates Daniel Langelaan, of Endeavour Hill, and Dion Finocchiaro, of Brighton.
Mr Overend said the challenge was set to continue in Brisbane next month.
“We beat our personal best for Melbourne by 49 minutes, which is fantastic and we’re heading up to Brisbane next to try to beat their record,” Mr Overend said.
The second team across the line was the all-female team Trails Plus, made up of Kellie Emmerson, of Kilsyth, Deanna Blegg, of Kangaroo Ground, Nikki Wynd, of Lysterfield and Samantha Gash, of Kallista, recording 11 hours and 20 minutes, beating the previous fastest female time by four minutes.
Oxfam Trailwalker Ambassador Tom Denniss, an ultra marathon runner who completed a record breaking 26,000km run around the world last year, finished the challenge in 16 hours and 23 minutes, despite his training efforts being hampered by a longitudinal tear to his left achillies.
Of this year’s 3200 Trailwalker Melbourne participants:
- 2,535 (81.15%) walkers finished the trail
- 744 (95.26%) teams finished with at least one walker
- 423 (54.16%) complete teams of four made it to the finish line
- Average time to complete the 100km was 28 hrs 31 mins
- Average fundraising $3,083
In a win for team work the percentage of teams finishing the event together increased from 53.56 percent in 2012 to 54.16 percent.
Oxfam Media Spokesperson Yvette Petersen said the results were impressive, especially considering wet weather had added an extra level of difficulty.
“There were some pretty slippery sections on the trail and it got pretty chilly out there, but spirits were lifted when the sun showed its face, especially at dawn with spectacular sunrises,” Ms Petersen said.
“The event was a great success and a massive achievement for participants that will support Oxfam’s life-saving work helping some of the world’s poorest communities find pathways out of poverty and injustice.”
Team WOW – Ways of Walking, made up of Sharon Broadley, of South Yarra, Merryl Dooley, of Melbourne, Jade Grayson, of Brunswick and Kim Wenn, of Canterbury, held the top spot on the fundraising leaderboard on Sunday morning, with a total of $26,647.
Coming a close second were Team Left Foot Right Foot, with $18,630, raised by Jack Byrne, of Burwood, Charlie Egan, of South Melbourne, Charlie Inglis, of South Yarra, and Jono Deague, of South Yarra.
Ms Petersen said supporters had been incredibly generous and donations would continue to be collected until May 31, with donations on track to achieve the target of $3 million.
“Many people feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems of poverty and inequality, but our participants have proved that anyone can make a difference with teams raising an average of $3000, which is simply terrific.”
This year’s Oxfam Melbourne Trailwalker was the largest in the Australian event’s history, 781 teams setting off from Jells Park in Wheelers Hill on Friday.
Walkers and runners travelled 100km through the Dandenong Ranges National Park and the Yarra Valley to reach the finish line at Wesburn Park Warburton.
To arrange interviews with teams 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.