The annual Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane event has drawn to a close, with about 240 teams taking on the 2018 challenge collectively raising more than $690,000 for Oxfam’s work tackling global poverty.
Oxfam Trailwalker is a fundraising endurance challenge where teams of four walk or run 100km in 48 hours or less, or 55km in 24 hours or less. About 1,000 weary yet exuberant walkers are now recovering from having taken on the 2018 Brisbane events on Friday and Saturday.
For one inspiring participant, Holly Austin, the leader of team Journey Back to Fit, crossing the finish line at Mt Coot-tha after 32 hours 45 minutes on the 100km trail meant a great deal.
Ms Austin was undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2016 when she met her teammate, Ashley Bigaran, while taking part in a world-first trial evaluating the effects of chemotherapy on exercise capacity and heart function.
“This was setting a big goal to come and do the Oxfam post treatment,” Ms Austin said. “It means so much to be this fit again, to be able to embark on something like this, and for such a good cause as well. Eight months post all treatment, to be able to stand here and finish means a lot.”
Ms Bigaran – who is an accredited exercise physiologist and was a coordinator for the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute study that Ms Austin participated in – looked after Ms Austin’s exercise training during her chemotherapy as well as motivating her to set goals following the end of her treatment.
“With all my participants, I set a goal for the end of treatment,” Ms Bigaran said. “One said a cycling race, but Holly dreamed really big and said the 100km Oxfam. I said alright, let’s do it. But I said I won’t let you do it on your own, so the training has developed our friendship as well. It’s been quite memorable, she’s a legend!”
Oxfam Trailwalker spokesperson Anna Wemyss said the fundraising efforts of Brisbane teams this year was impressive.
“Our highest fundraisers this year were the YTOB team who’ve raised more than $30,000,” said Ms Wemyss. “We’d like to congratulate all teams for supporting the work Oxfam does around the world.”
The last team to cross the Mt Coot-tha finish line, Famba Famba, completed their 100km walk just after midnight Sunday, greeted by supporters and volunteers after 41 hours, 14 minutes on the trail.
The first team to finish was Bruce Juice, a team of Australian National University Canberra students who started the 100km event at 7am Friday and finished as a team of three just after 1am Saturday.
Team Better Said Than Run were the fastest team on the trail, having started at 8.30am on Friday and crossing the finish line as a team of four in 16 hours 52 minutes, within their goal time of 17 hours.
“It was perfect; we couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was calm, a good team atmosphere on the trail as well,” team member David Wirth said.
For event photos, interviews or more information, please contact Renee Thompson on 0418 873 782 or firstname.lastname@example.org