The fifth annual Oxfam Trailwalker Perth 2017 came to a close this morning, with almost a thousand participants so far raising about $773,000 for people living in poverty.
A total of 247 teams set out from Chidlow Recreation Ground on Saturday morning in two waves at 7am and just after 8am and needed to complete the 50km course within 24 hours.
The last team, Footsteps for Fair Trade, crossed the finish line at 1.46am this morning after completing the 50km event in 17 hours and 31 minutes.
Fastest team Valetudo Health – consisting of Shane Johnstone, Gerald Hill, James Roberts and Mike O’Sullivan – finished the Perth 50km event in record-breaking time.
The team ran across the finish line just before midday on Saturday, completing the 50km event in 4 hours and 57 minutes and smashing the previous Perth record of 6 hours and 17 minutes. They also became the fastest team to complete the 50km Trailwalker event anywhere in Australia.
Captain Shane Johnstone said it was an achievement to complete the course in under five hours and close to the team’s four-and-a-half-hour goal. “It was a tough course between 30km and 50km, with some undulating terrain,” he said.
While it was Valetudo Health’s first Oxfam Trailwalker, charity is especially close to home for Shane, who is the founder of the Be Inspired Foundation. “Giving to charity is always a good thing,” he said.
Despite their impressive finish time, Shane said the day was about more than being first. “It’s a good day out and it’s not a race, it’s about having a bit of fun for a good cause.”
The highest fundraising team for the Perth 2017 event was team Walk Straight, who raised nearly $27,000 for Oxfam’s work tackling poverty around the world. The team from Deloitte Perth, which included its Managing Partner Michael McNulty, finished after nine hours and 28 minutes.
Of this year’s participants, a number were embarking on Trailwalker Perth for the fifth time, having taken part in every event since it began in 2013 – making them official Trailwalker Legends.
Among those to achieve Legend status this year was Oxfam Trailwalker’s oldest participant, 80-year-old Lesmurdie resident Tom Weir, from team Hills Hope Fools.
Tom, whose team finished the event in just over 13 hours, said at the start line he couldn’t wait to complete his fifth Trailwalker. “I’m not doing it to prove anything. I just love it, it makes me feel young,” he said.
Oxfam Trailwalker’s 100km event, scheduled to take place on Friday morning, was cancelled on Thursday afternoon because of the severe weather warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.
Oxfam’s National Events Marketing Manager Simon Barwick said while the cancellation of the 100km event ahead of Friday’s severe weather was understandably disappointing to many people, almost all registered teams had taken up the opportunity to complete the 50km instead.
“It is the first Oxfam Trailwalker 100km event to be cancelled in the history of the Australian event,” Mr Barwick said.
“We understand how heart-breaking the cancellation must have been for so many of our determined and enthusiastic walkers, and we also hope they can appreciate that the safety of all walkers, volunteers and support crews is our number one priority.
“The fact almost every team opted to take part in the 50km event is testament to Oxfam Trailwalker’s true spirit – people coming together and supporting each other through the toughest of conditions.
“We’d like to thank all the participants, volunteers and supporters who gave so generously in time and money this year to help their teams fundraise for and compete in the event.”
Since 2013, Western Australians have generously fundraised $5 million for Oxfam Trailwalker.
For photos of the event, interviews or more information, contact Renee Thompson on 0418 873 782 or firstname.lastname@example.org