The first team to cross the Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 100km finish line at Wesburn Park made it in an impressive 11 hours and 24 minutes on Friday night.
The four members of Team 456, Dog Day Afternoon, finished just before 6pm, after a 6.30am start at Jells Park, Wheelers Hill.
The four men, David Overend, Daniel Langelaan, Daniel Nunan and Stephen Rennick, were greeted by a cheering crowd with popping champagne bottles and party streamers after a long day running the 100km trail in the warm sun through the Dandenong and Yarra Valley Ranges.
Mr. Overend, from Balwyn, admitted that the day had presented its challenges and the team hadn’t completed the trail in under 11 hours, as they had hoped.
“When the heat came out, about 55km onwards, it made it pretty hard,” Mr. Overend said.
“And our strategy was to get there early and we actually got there late,” he laughed. “This is my 14th Trailwalker so I should be well organised by now.”
Mr. Overend said his team had raised between $60,000 and $65,000 over the years and the high energy of the event keeps them coming back.
“It’s an amazing experience, you get to have a bit of a game with your friends, which is quite unique in ultra-running, and at the same time you’re supporting an amazing cause,” he said.
“The whole event – from volunteers and marshals, everyone on the roads, even people you see going past, there’s such a sense of goodwill. It makes it such a unique event.”
Hot on Dog Day Afternoon’s heels was all-female team, The Sweat Life, sponsored by Lululemon Athletica and made up of ultra-marathon runners Samantha Gash, Lucy Bartholomew, Jo Brischetto and Katherine Macmillan, who finished in 11.51 hours.
Ms Gash is in preparation for a near 4000km run across India to raise money for charity.
More than 600 teams participating in the event have raised more than $2 million for Oxfam Australia’s lifesaving work tackling poverty in communities around the world, supported by over 600 volunteers.
Hundreds of other teams continued the trek over the weekend and into the early hours of Sunday morning.
Teams of four must walk or run the 100km trail in 48 hours or less and must raise at least $1400 per team to participate. The average amount raised is $3500.
For interviews, event photos or more information, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Megan Giles on 0422 028 567 or email@example.com