In July this year my son Blake, (3rd from the left) 3 of his class mates, Kurt, Dougal and Nick and their teacher, Ryan Martin from St Andrews Lutheran College on the Gold Coast attempted the Kokoda Challenge for the second year running.
Last year this team completed the challenge in just under 22 hours, starting at 7:00am on the Saturday morning and finishing at 5:00am on the Sunday morning. This was an exceptional time for a team of year 11 students and won them the Stan Bissett Cup for first complete school team home.
This year as more mature Year 12 students their aim was to complete the course again but hopefully with a faster time. This they managed to do in an amazing time of 19hrs 35mins, even having to support one of their team for the last few kilometers, retaining the Stan Bissett Cup for a second year.
The Kokoda Challenge is a cross-country bushwalking team event where teams of 4 people trek a 96km course through the Gold Coast Hinterland within a 39 hour time limit.
The Kokoda Challenge staged on the Gold Coast for the last 4 years was designed to reflect the key elements of the Spirit of Kokoda - with 96km representing the actual distance of the Kokoda Track and the 39 hours symbolizing the 39th Militia who were the first of our Australian troops to arrive at Kokoda on 15th July 1942.
The four person teams are required to advance through 14 checkpoints to the finish line. At designated checkpoints teams are able to take a break and regroup with the help of their support crew.
The route is full of rugged terrain and climbs totalling 5000 metres. There is no doubt that those who take up the Kokoda Challenge will need to call on the spirit of ANZAC that was born in Gallipoli and held fast in Kokoda - ENDURANCE, SACRIFICE, COURAGE and MATESHIP.
The first main check point for the team where the support crew could meet up with them was Polly's Kitchen.
Coming in to the finish at 2:30 am on Sunday morning - very cold!
After the presentation of the dog tags, which are presented to everyone who finishes the course, the boys are pictured here with two of the real heroes who battled the horrors of the Kokoda track.
The proceeds of funds raised through the Kokoda Challenge finance the cost of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program, which includes training and bush camps for the Kokoda Kids and travel and equipment for the trip to Papua New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Track. For more information please click on this link to the Kokoda Challenge web site.