Oxfam Trailwalker Success

Yi Ping came up with the idea to form a team and walk the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker. She invited the whole firm but Humphrey was the only one brave enough (or perhaps foolish enough) to put his hand up. He recruited Marcus and Casper to get the four they needed to enter and then Isaac and Louise (also recruited by Humphrey) joined up as the support team. Yi Ping reflects on the event…
Oxfam is a charitable organisation focused on the alleviation of global poverty. Oxfam Trailwalker is their fund-raising event. A team of four members must raise $2,500 altogether and walk 100km within 36 hours. The New Zealand version this year was in Whakatane and more than 200 teams competed.
We pleaded for donations in a shy and subtle way and they dribbled in week by week.

We were just short of our goal by $250 (but have until May 1st to get it if you would like to help us out). Thank you to all our supporters.

Each team member had their own way of preparing for the trail walk. Marcus went to the gym and played weekly rugby. I cycled to work every day and hiked on weekends (it is my hobby after all). Humphrey also went to the gym and, well, no one knows what Casper did to prepare. On a weekend in February, we went to Waiheke for a practice walk. We walked 60km for 18 hours, without support, and that boosted our confidence and calmed our concerns.
The actual event started six o’clock in the morning, and, thanks to Humphrey and Casper, Team GS arrived the start line 15 minutes late, avoiding the crowd and the excitement at the beginning. We had the whole trail to ourselves… until the 7am starters caught up on us.
We had learnt from our practice run that I have much slower pace than the three boys, so we split into two. The faster members waited for the slower one in check points. However, this caused some concern among some of the other teams and they invited me to join them, cursing my inconsiderate team mates. To their disappointment, I declined all the offers and defended my team mates strongly.
Checkpoints were of course the highlight of each stage. The amazing support team were always waiting for us with hot drinks and good food. There were also a first aid workers, doctors and massage teams! I’m almost certain we wouldn’t have finished without them there to patch our feet up. There were six checkpoints scattered between roads, headlands, native bush, beaches, commercial forests, farmlands, river crossings, and man-made walkways.
I discovered that no matter how physically strong you are, after 70km of nonstop walking, your body will reach its limit. My mind was getting dizzy from sleepless, the unavoidable injury made every step hurt. Not to mention the blisters and muscle aches. I felt like a zombie for the last 10km. I would jerk back into reality from time to time, suddenly remembering where I was and what I was doing.
Finally, the last 2km was in sight, the adrenaline kicked in and the whole team woke up and “Woo Hoo!” we crossed the finish line! Team GS came 126th out of 141 teams, but more than half of the teams had members drop out, and did not finish with their four-member-teams intact.
If you asked me if I would do it all again, guess what my answer would be?

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