Kokoda Challenge Day 1

The Chalkies ready to take on the Kokoda Challenge

The windscreen wipers worked overtime as C and I drove down the highway. I don’t think it helped with C’s nerves about the 96 km hike ahead of her. She asked lots of questions that I struggled to answer because, while I’ve done two similar 100km walking events before, everyone’s experience and needs will be different.

The event registration was a mud bath, thanks to a week of heavy rainfall. But it didn’t matter because the team had to stand in line to register for well over an hour. In fact, despite joining the registration queue at 5:45am, they still missed their 7:15am start (as did other teams). Not that those few minutes will make a difference after 36+ hours.

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The support vehicle ready to go

The last minute grabs

After sending the Chalkies on their way I casually repacked the ute. The walkers’ last minute grabs took up a lot of extra space. But I rather carry it than have them go without. I tied the wheel barrow back on top of the camper, organised the cab and went to Springbrook National Park to check out some lookout to pass some time.

Waiting for the Chalkies at the 30km CP

I was at CP4 early to get a good bit of real estate, which was scarce. I found a spot just 100m from the track and got comfortable for the long wait. I made sure everything was within arm’s reach for the walkers, put food on the stove in preparation for their arrival and waited.

Argh!

Not that it was boring. I put on a pirate costume and cheered all the teams in. It was a heap of fun. I also helped some people push a bogged car out of some mud while the State Emergency Services crew just watched.

Five hours later my team arrived to find a pirate out on the course. The costume had the desired effect of causing laughter. The team were in good spirits. They are a long way back in the field but seem more relaxed than some teams so they will hopefully remain comfortable for the next leg from the 29km to 48km mark where I will next meet them around 11pm.

It’s been a fun day.

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2 responses to “Kokoda Challenge Day 1

  1. What a FANTASTIC way to encourage the teams!!! I hope to do this one day… and as my grandfather was at Kokoda, I would like to follow in his footsteps. Good luck for the team overnight and tomorrow!!

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think the Kokoda Challenge is a well organised event so I can’t say I would recommend doing it. If you are doing it in memory of your grandfather, then perhaps that will make it a good choice for you. But for people wanting to walk a similar event, I recommend doing Oxfam Trailwalker or trying some of the ultra marathon events that allow walkers.

      I am actually going to write an email to the event organisers to give them my honest feedback about the event and suggest some points for improvement.

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