The Kokoda Challenge weekend will finally arrive tomorrow morning. I’ve been preparing for the past six months to support crew my friend’s four-person team who are tackling the 96km event. It’s a trail run/walk (my friend’s team will be walking) for teams of four who all walk together (i.e. not as a relay) to complete the course.
My friend and her team have been training solidly for months and expect to finish the course in 36-38 hours, which will be cutting it fine for the course cut-offs. I’m confident they will better their goal because they are all strong women who might be underestimating their abilities.
My job for the weekend: to provide food, water, encouragement and whatever else the team asks of me. I will be able to meet the team at four major checkpoints and the finish line. I have borrowed my mum’s ute, which has a camper on the tray. The camper contains stove, fridges and space for all the things we’ll need this weekend. The weather hasn’t been kind and it is forecast to rain tomorrow so I have a tarp that I can set up for shelter.
I have a touch of the clown in me so have bought some silly costumes from a two dollar shop. The team don’t know it yet but they will be greeted by a clown, a pirate and a detective at the checkpoints. I’ve just to some silly hats and fake beards but I’m hoping it will give the team a bit of a laugh – especially when they are feeling low.
Mind you, I also have heaps of food, chairs, warm clothes, massage oil and a big rubber mat for under the tables and chairs so they can give their feet a rest from the mud.
It’s going to be a fantastic weekend for the team. None of them have ever taken on this type of challenge before. Just as Oxfam Trailwalker changed my life last year, I know that completing this epic challenge will change my friend and her team of walking women. They too will learn that they truly can do anything and that no challenge is too epic for them (whether personal, sporting or professional). An no one will ever be able to take away their achievement at completing the course.
For my part, it’s going to be a tiring weekend. I will be catching a few hours sleep in the car on the roadside between checkpoints, using a wheel barrow to cart 8-10 loads of gear to each checkpoint, setting up shelters, caring for the team and staying positive even when I’m exhausted or bored (there’s going to be a lot of waiting around no knowing where the team are). But I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than support crewing for my best friend.