Participants in the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney event are all set to take off at 7am this Friday as the event celebrates its 20th year in Australia.
Oxfam Trailwalker is a fundraising endurance challenge where teams of four walk either 100km in 48 hours or 50km in 24 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s work tackling poverty in communities around the world.
About 2,150 participants or 530 teams will take part over the weekend. Those participating in the 100km event will take off from Parsley Bay, Brooklyn on Friday morning, while the 50km teams start at Bobbin Head on Saturday morning, before both events follow the same trail, finishing up at Tania Park on Sunday with sweeping views of the harbour.
Oxfam Trailwalker started in 1981 in Hong Kong as a training exercise for the elite Queen’s Gurka Signals Regiment before it was transformed into a charity event. The first Australian Oxfam Trailwalker event was held in Sydney in 1999.
David Lowes of Darling Point participated in the very first event in Sydney and is back on the trail again this year, walking the 50km with two of his original 1999 team mates and one of his sons. His other son is taking part in the 100km event.
“We reckoned we were the oldest team to take part in 1999, so we must have a pretty good claim to that title 20 years later – our combined age will be 251 years,” Mr Lowes said.
There is no shortage of remarkable teams taking part this year, including five-time Paralympian and wheelchair basketball legend Troy Sachs.
Mr Sachs will be walking the 100km event for the second time while wearing his prosthetic leg. In 2018 he crossed the finish line after a grueling but very impressive 29 hours with a smile on his face.
Oxfam Trailwalker spokesperson Anna Wemyss said there was much to celebrate with the 20th anniversary this year.
“It’s really an opportunity to reflect on how much the event has supported Oxfam’s lifesaving work over the past two decades and what it means to walkers, volunteers and supporters,” she said.
“It’s incredible to think that Sydney-siders have raised $35 million for people living in poverty and the event, Australia-wide, has raised more than $100 million since it began.”
Each year, Oxfam Trailwalker takes place in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, raising millions of dollars to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty. Each team must raise $1,460 to take part.
The event is a huge logistical operation and more than 500 Sydney volunteers are generously donating their time. Teams will be supported by more than 2000 support crew members – family and friends who often camp out to supply extra Band-Aids, food, water, hugs and anything else to help their loved ones get through the experience of a lifetime.