Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson suffered burns to 60 per cent of their bodies participating in an ultramarathon just four years ago. Today they’ll join more than 2000 people to walk 100km raising money for Oxfam Australia.
Walking alongside them are Robin Lennon and Bronwyn Hull, the wife of Michael Hull who was also severely burned in the same event, who make up the rest of their team the Northside Runners. Their start time is 7am.
Their story of unwavering dedication is just one of many inspiring stories to come out of Oxfam Trailwalker with 550 teams of four taking on what is considered one of Australia’s toughest charity events. Teams have 48 hours to complete the 100km journey from Parsley Bay in Brooklyn to the finish line at Tania Park at Balgowlah Heights.
Kate Sanderson, who had half of her left foot amputated, said this will be her seventh Trailwaker, the second she’s participated in since the fire. “I have participated in four Melbourne Trailwalkers, but this year was the first time since my accident,” Ms Sanderson said.
“It was good to be back out there, even if I can’t run. It gave me a lot of confidence that I can still do the distance. Getting back to events that I have done previous to the accident have been great as I am one step closer to getting my life back and being able to do the things I did before.”
She said the team, which is half based in Melbourne and half in Sydney, are really excited about the event and are hopeful of completing the walk as a team of four.
“Turia and Bronwyn have not done an Oxfam Trailwalker before so we don’t really know what our time will be, but I estimate it will take us about 26-28 hours,” Ms Sanderson said.
Oxfam Trailwalker spokesperson Jez Hunghanfoo said Kate and Turia’s determination will be a huge inspiration to the other participants.
“It takes months of preparation, planning and dedication to get to this point and walkers will face a real physical and mental challenge over coming days,” Mr Hunghanfoo said.
“To know the obstacles that Kate and Turia have had to overcome just to get here is an amazing achievement and we wish them all the best, as we do all our participants.
“We also want to thank the thousands of support crews and volunteers who all help make this event possible.”
This morning, teams will set off in four starts at 7am, 8am, 9am and 10am. The fastest teams are expected to finish at Tania Park Balgowlah Heights as early as 7pm tonight, with the majority of teams expected to finish between 7am and 9pm on Saturday.
This is the 17th year the event has been held in Sydney. Since the event’s inception in 1999, more than $33 million has been raised by some 34,000 individuals. This year it hopes to raise a further $2.5 million.
To arrange interviews or for more information contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Bianca Wordley on 0407 799 365 or email@example.com.