kokoda challenge youth program
Helping Aussie Teens
live the kokoda spirit. Mateship. Endurance. Courage. Sacrifice. www.kokodachallenge.com
Congratulations on taking up the Challenge in 2011 – whether that is the full 96km Challenge, the Stan Bisset or Jim Stillman Cup, or the Brisbane or Melbourne 30km events, you are to be commended for stepping off the mark and having the initiative to undertake the adventures of training, fundraising and team work that lie ahead of you. The Kokoda Challenge has several exciting expansions in 2011 including a new 30km event in Brisbane this May, a new branch of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program in Logan and collaborating with the YMCA to deliver our life changing youth program to Victorian teenagers for the first time. This is all coupled with a new look website which allows greater participant interaction and easy access to the information you need to help you with all your training and fundraising requirements.
The Kokoda Challenge Check out past competitors stories, tricks and tips for making it through the big one – all 96kms!
6 four mates to the end 11 don’t miss a thing in 2011!! We’ve got your events covered. 12 The Spirit of the Four Duds
Whilst the Kokoda Challenge Association continues to develop and expand its activities, our core values of Kokoda Spirit remain inherent, making all our activities unique and rewarding. Kokoda Spirit really is about having a go, standing by your mates, persevering the tough times and showing the inner strength and courage to endure the physical and mental challenges you encounter in order the achieve the greater goal. This is something our diggers displayed day in and out on the Kokoda track in 1942 as they overcome impossible odds to defend Australia. Another aspect which remains the same in spite of our little organisations growth over the past seven years is our community origins. The Kokoda Challenge Association is a not-for-profit charity which was formed by a team of community-minded volunteers. Those same people are still on the Executive of the organisation and continue to volunteer their time to the overall objectives of promoting Kokoda and helping aussie teenagers. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a very big thank you to the team of Geoff Hamilton, Gary Scott, Kim North, Lindsay Hicks, Johllene Elson and my wife Anna who continue to keep the end goal of helping aussie teenagers in their focus. I do hope that it is an end goal that you will also keep in your focus as you train and work towards your registered event in 2011. As you take to the walking tracks to with your team (or hit the streets with your fundraising tin), please do cast your mind towards the elements that make Kokoda Challenge events different to other physical events available and call on the Spirit of Kokoda as needed to ensure your journey is a successful and rewarding one.
Live the Kokoda Spirit, Doug Henderson, Chairman P. (07) 5539 4141 F. (07) 5597 4373 E. email@example.com PO Box 481, Southport BC Qld 4215 www.kokodachallenge.com
The Kokoda Challenge Youth Program Learn about the fundamental philosophy behind the KCYP, and meet some of the Aussie teens that have benefited from this life changing program!
16 Helping Aussie Teens 17 Walking a heroic track 18 Diary of Kokoda
Read all about 17yr old Joseph’s Kokoda Track experience. mateship in practice future directions We catch up with three previous at You can donate online “Kokoda Kids” com ge. www.kokodachallen doing us proud! or via direct deposit to looking back National Australia Bank iation Kokoda Challenge Assoc d Fun Public BSB: 084-917 ACC: 7907-54746
Boost Kokoda Challenge Melbourne
Jump on board and get a taste of the Kokoda Spirit, while trekking 30kms through the pisturesque Dandenong Ranges.
26 Endurance and matehip
Hear from participant Pam Long of her experience in the Inaugural 2010 event.
giving back to the community
Stepping it up
Whether you’re aiming for under 30, 25, 20 or 15 hours, a well planned training schedule and team approach will be the lynchpin for success. Be inspired by our two teams:
56 The secret behind nike hammer’s success 58 Gunning for sub 20
Physical challenge aside, your fundraising efforts are allowing Aussie teens to gain a brighter future for themselves and their families!
30 Gordon Green Machine Cracks Fundraising challenge 32 WIN! a trip to the PNG Kokoda Track 34 Businesses that give back 36 Bollywood shakes up the Kokoda Challenge
the spirit of Kokoda
The history and courageous men that inspire every Australian.
62 Cec’s Story 64 veteran’s first return to Kokoda 66 the heart of the KOkoda Association
Get to know inspirational founder – Doug Henderson
Support Crew & Volunteers
Get all the essential info you’ll need, and hear first hand experiences from the people who’ve been there, done that.
training & Preparation
Find out everything you need to know for the main event – from training to safety to clothing and equipment.
40 General Training REcommendations 41 Hydration Alert!
Dehydration is a real risk that can result in serious injury or death. It’s also easily preventable. Equipment essentials safe training your Environmental Footprint
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HIghschool competitions Challenging our Aussie teens!
50 MOtivation on the track
to our Major sponsors:
76 Support Crew Essentials Your must haves, all on one page! 78 Spirit of Jasper 84 One family’s voluntary tale 85 A leading role
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corporate benefits Conquering the challenge Imagine hiking 96km without being able to see... Read highschool student Zac Clarkson’s inspiration story PNG Projects Kokoda Track vs. Kokoda Challenge State of mind what’s your category? NEW! Brisbane Kokoda Challenge Virtual SPectator Kokoda Challenge Association Q&A
96 KILOMETRES IN 39 HOURS
are you up to the challenge? Kokoda Challenge. 96 kilometres. 39 hours. you & three mates.
The feeling The sense of community is strong as participants, volunteers and supporters share a collective goal of making it to the finish line. The spirit of Kokoda is peppered throughout as the toughness of this hinterland hike pushes people to physical and emotional breaking points. The Challenge There are cheers and tears as teams of four take on the epic 96km track with the Spirit of Kokoda in mind. The majority of participants have the simple goal of making it to the finish line, however steep ascents on fire trails coupled with rugged bush terrain mean that on average, only one third of trekkers will complete the arduous task. Supporters will enjoy the Major Checkpoint stations, which are nestled amongst picturesque Gold Coast tourist sites boasting coastline views and tropical streams. This is a tough event with a warm heart with all proceeds going directly towards local youth initiatives. the Date 16th – 17th July
Team “The Novices and Jude” tackle one of the many ascents
to the end.
just a bunch of mates who run together in their lunch break: > Nic Phipps > Joel Harris > Mat Louis and > Jan Xanthopoulo
To walk 96km and finish with all four mates no matter how long it takes.
The day of the Challenge had finally arrived! No more lunch time runs, no more Ivory Lane hill repeats and no more Mt Cooth-tha loops…this was the real deal! The crowd mustered, a couple of surviving Kokoda Diggers were introduced, the Last Post was played and a respectful silence enveloped the crowd. Off we go, through the streets of Mudgeeraba, running as quickly as you can when you know you’ve got another 96km to go and wanting to put some distance between the team and the crowds. We made good progress and were in a good position before we entered the forest. We did some minor creek crossings and our first major “climb” of the event and before long could hear the noise of encouragement coming from the 1st major checkpoint. Matty, our comms man, had kitted the team and support crew with a walkie-talkie and as we came into the checkpoint we spotted, well heard, Liz from the support crew. 13km down, 83km to go, 10 min stop to refuel. The girls were switched on, chairs out, mixing Endura, words of encouragement - they were going to be our secret weapon! This section is where it all starts, Mt Nimmel Lodge to Polly’s Kitchen. Two of the longer hill climbs, a steep descent and plenty of rough ground to cover. Our spirits were soaring. Always leading from the front, Phippsy responded like a greyhound every time another team went past. Wise words passed from Jan, “there’s a long way to go, contain those energizer bunny legs”. We hit the first major climb and as a group we dropped into a great rhythm and passed many teams (still quite a bit of traffic at this stage) that helped boost the pace even more! Mat (also known as Mat Mat after the navigation tool Tom Tom, due to his intimate knowledge of the course) pointed out a great swimming spot that was noted for a return journey in the warmer months. Focus, Mt Fairview looms and we got into the familiar metronomic motion up the hill. With two major hills behind us the team was feeling good, the regular calls of “Drinking” has kept hydration under control and we were one hour ahead of schedule. And the next Major Checkpoint Polly’s Kitchen was now in sight. In a cruel twist the course swung away from the Major Checkpoint before returning, we could smell the sausage sizzle for god’s sake! Things can change quickly during the Challenge. After nearly 36kms and five and a half hours on our feet the first signs of fatigue become noticeable. Both Mat and Jan had “low” spots through this area of the course but with
“This was the real deal! The crowd mustered, a couple of surviving Kokoda Diggers were introduced, the Last Post was played and a respectful silence enveloped the crowd.” the lure of a major CP just ahead (and Mat’s amazing display of eating ten snake lollies in less than a minute) the team kept a strong pace up. Walking into Polly’s Kitchen was one of the highlights of the day. The Support Crews lined the entrance, forming an avenue and cheering all the teams. The girls had once again secured a great spot and outdone themselves with the chairs, tarp, table and stove all setup and ready for the team. Boxes of gear and food were next to the chairs. Bill Grangers Chocolate Banana Bread was being handed out, oh, so good. After a change of clothes, socks and shoes (creek crossings to come), enough food and energy drinks to get us through the next section and enough Elastoplast tape to hold together a small office building, the team grabbed their gear and headed off again. Just after leaving the checkpoint we hit another long climb, making solid progress with the aid of our trekking poles. Jan was drug assisted after downing a “V” and Nurofen at Polly’s and was talking as much and as fast as a 12 year old school girl that hasn’t seen her friends for three weeks. At the top, we caught our breath for 30 seconds or so, jogging down to the next checkpoint at the Numinbah Environment Centre. From there we traversed six creek crossings which luckily claimed no victims and knocked another 30 minutes off our scheduled time. The only lowlight was the terrible jokes being told by Mat and Jan. Through a gap in the trees we finally caught sight of Numinbah Hall - the half way Checkpoint and the rather
96 KILOMETRES IN 39 HOURS
worrying voice of Robbie Williams! The place was buzzing, live band in the background, open fire and crisp air as dusk settled in. We spotted Liz, walked though the hall and headed to our camp.
Our Support Crew -
always one step ahead It was 4.30pm and the air was starting to get cool. Warm drinks and food had been requested (burnt bacon and egg sandwiches for Jan) and a change of clothes. Joel’s parents and son dropped in to boost the spirits. We seem to be taking longer to eat and get changed, as once you sit down, it’s hard to want to get moving again. Spirits were high but the next section was going to be tough. Walking out of Numinbah Hall, we chatted to a school group from Benowa College. These kids were 13, 14, 15 years old, what a fantastic achievement to take this on and make it to the end. We made our way back to the Numinbah Environment Centre, passing other groups heading to where we had just come from. It was a real lift to think we might actually be doing pretty well and to think we all still felt “great”…how that thought would come back to bite one of the team! It’s dark and cold and before long we were skirting around the edge of the Hinze Dam, not inspiring terrain to be honest. After leaving the shores of Hinze Dam, the track headed up again. This part of the course was named “The Valley of Death” by Mat or “The Badlands” by Nic. continue reading
The track narrowed to a rocky single file goat track that seemed to have absolutely no flat sections for a reprieve. The order of business was head down for a few steps to light up the track to avoid the rocks, roots and fallen logs then look up to find the next fluoro pink marking light in trees to aim for. This was tough work after nearly 11 hours and 58km! We kept talking to each other (Jan’s been drinking V again), calling reminders to eat and drink. Our fearless leader, Phippsy, hit a flat spot before we came across a safety checkpoint in the middle of nowhere, raging fire, table, a little tent. They greeted us with great enthusiasm and informed us we had “3km up the hill then another 3km to Syd Duncan Park”. Great to hear…not! We were spent and were hoping that our next rest station would be just around the corner. Despite wanting to use his hiking poles as Japanese Samurai swords, Nic mustered a gentlemanly “Thanks” and continued up the hill. Checkpoint 9, the Lower Beechmont CFA Station came soon enough and more volunteers greeted us with great enthusiasm and lots of encouragement. Jan’s gut was playing up and his knee was starting to cause him some pain. Only 3 km to go before Syd Duncan Park, our next major checkpoint where we would once again meet our support crew.
96km 28hrs The distance of the actual Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.
The average time taken to complete the Challenge.
Syd Duncan Park. It’s cold enough to keep a Polar Bear. Although the Bear might request a jacket. Syd Duncan, what did he ever do wrong to get such a barren, bleak and cold place named after him! The girls had once again set up fantastically well and were getting the hot food and drinks out to the team as quick as a flash. Jackets and blankets were put on or wrapped around the team as we quickly ate and got changed into our warmer gear. Long tights, beanies and gloves were the order of the day. Despite the hot food, blankets and new clothes all the team were freezing and decided to get back on the track as quick as possible to get the blood, and heat, pumping in the body again. With a final flurry of V, Red Bull and Nurofen the team was off again for the second last section of the course. Heading towards the highest point of the course and the start of a very steep and long descent, we came across some more encouraging spectators. Sitting on their driveway were four or five people sitting around a raging fire (and they had blankets over their legs!) Joel suggested we stop for a quick warming by the fire, but wiser heads prevailed and with the suggestion that it would only make you colder once you left the warmth of the
39 hours The 96km Kokoda Time Limit – symbolic of the 39th Militia, the first Australian troops to land in Papua New Guinea.
They are the most common reason for a withdrawal.
10km to the end, the terrain’s flattened out and seeing as it was as painful to walk quickly as it was to run, we decided to run as much as possible that way we would get to the end quicker. The distance markers were every 2kms so to keep spirits up. When Nic spotted the 8km to go sign, Jan clearly elated at the news, lost his footing and executed a perfect swan dive onto the track. We had come this far without injury, surely this wasn’t happening? Luckily for all involved, I guess Jan in particular, nothing but a bit of pride was damaged and we forged on. Matt turned on his mobile and played some tunes to keep our minds off the pain and fatigue, always thinking about the group. In the last km, despite having the walkie-talkies the girls thought it best to yell and scream their final encouragement, I’m sure all of Nerang heard them. Just before we came out of the forest, we took a brief moment to acknowledge each other’s efforts, to realise what we had done as a team. We came out of the forest to see the lights of the Nerang Velodrome, the finish line, before finishing under two artillery guns. fire. In complete disregard of this advice Joel stopped by the fire and received a welcome surprise. Standing in nothing but high heels and a mink coat, a Miranda Kerr like figure offered Joel a glass of red wine! Without hesitation he gulped the wine down and took a mental image of the woman in the coat... Joel was set for the next section! Now, I can vouch for the wine but I’m not sure about Joel’s recollection of the woman in the coat!
We had done it!
Now we were ready for the descent of ‘Hell Fire Pass’. Jan had a bit of a sore knee so this would be a test. To the relief of the team everyone got down the hill safely and headed to the next minor CP, which was lit up with candles on either side of the path – we turned off our headlamps and soaked up the night air. Life is beautiful, even when you’ve rambled 70km.
• The NW Team was 17th across the line in 18:41:10
Into the last major checkpoint, with only 14km to go, the decision had been reached to have a quick ten minute stop. As expected the stop went like clockwork thanks to the huge efforts of the girls.
• 190 individuals didn’t finish (15%)
The end was in sight, well sort of. The first 5km of this section was frustrating as it was undulating but very unstable under our feet. After roughly 16 hours of moving fatigue and tiredness was starting to take hold. We held onto Mat Mat’s every word, as he described the terrain, each step taking us inch by inch closer to the finish. We stuck together, passing groups who had lost team members to fatigue and injury. This is where it all starts to catch up with you.
11hr 48min >400 The record completion time for the 96km Kokoda Challenge.
The number of Kokoda Challenge volunteers each year.
18 hours and 41 minutes. We were stoked. It was over. The official results deserve some analysis to capture the achievement of the team: • 317 teams (excludes school teams and Kokoda Kids) finished the Challenge • Of the 317 teams 177 teams finished with all four team members (55.8%) • 140 teams finished with less than 4 team members (44.2%) • The NW Team was the 12th full team across the line • 1268 individuals started the event
“To all our fantastic friends, family and colleagues who sponsored the team and raised over $5,000 for the Kokoda Foundation, thank you for all your support. Although this was a fantastic race to be involved in, the early intervention program run by the Kokoda Challenge Association is the real driver of the event, I am glad we were able to provide a catalyst for all of you to help out this fantastic organisation.” Joel Harris.
70 The age of the oldest participant.
>500kg The amount of lollies consumed during Kokoda Challenge events. 9
Support Connect Enhance * Counselling * Mediation / Dispute Resolution * Family Support Services * Domestic and Family Violence Prevention
* Supporting Young People After Separation * Victims of Crime Counselling and Support * Support for Forgotten Australians
* Gambling Help
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs
* Youth Support Coordinators
* Employee Assistance Programs
1300 364 277
1st February (6am)
Registration opens for the Kokoda Challenge. Be quick as team places fill in a flash!
March 1st (6am)
Registration opens For Stan Bisset and Jim Stillman Cup school competitions.
Applications close For 2011 Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
Kokoda Challenge Brisbane Event.
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30th April Team T-shirt sizes due.
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Kokoda Challenge Brisbane Fundraising Due
Brisbane Briefing Night Donâ€™t miss out on important event information!
Registration opens For Kokoda Challenge Brisbane.
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Gold Coast Briefing Night Donâ€™t miss out on important event information!
Fundraising Due for High School Teams
ng e l l a h C a d o k o K 2011 1st July
Minimum Kokoda Challenge fundraising due You can continue raising money till the 31st of August
16 -17th July
Kokoda Challenge 96km Event
Registration opens Boost Kokoda Challenge Melbourne
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30th October Kokoda Challenge Melbourne Event
12th November Boost Kokoda Challenge Melbourne fundraising due.
Presentation Picnic Celebrate your achievements and catch up with other trekkers
23rd August Graduation and Sponsors Dinner
Kokoda Challenge Youth Program flies out to PNG to walk the Kokoda Track.
of the four it all began in Jan 2009 while we were on holidays...
That’s when we decided to do something different and enter a team into the Kokoda Challenge. There was Colin, Darren, Chops and Dave – together we made up “The Four Duds”. With The Challenge in mid July, The Duds decided to do some serious training. Unfortunately, in obtaining a full medical, Dud Dave got diagnosed with Bowel Cancer. This was devastating news to everyone. A Stage 2 tumor was found in the bowel and after tests and procedures, Dave’s tumor was removed. He recovered very well but the Doctor would not let him compete in The 2009 Kokoda Challenge as he was concerned about his well-being. So Dud Dave had to pull out and reserve Dud Paul was called in. The new 4 Duds trained and bonded together well. On July 18, 2009, the 4 Duds did The Kokoda Challenge and completed in 25 ½ hours. Dud Dave was recovering from his operation and was a Virtual Spectator. Early Sunday morning, Dave got a phone call to say they would be finishing around 9am, so he drove to Nerang to watch them cross over the finish line. It was an emotional reunion. At this point, the three Duds, myself, Darren and Chops vowed we would do The Kokoda Challenge again with a fit Dud Dave in 2010. True to their word, the original Duds entered The 2010 Kokoda Challenge - “The Four Duds Encore”. Dud Dave was pumped but the other Duds knew what they were in for and were not so enthusiastic. As the months went by, the training became more intense with a lot of sessions at Polly’s Kitchen and other stages of The Kokoda Challenge track as well as personal training sessions. By July, we were all fit and physically ready for The Kokoda Challenge. Bring it on! On the day of The Challenge, we were pumped and raring to go and upon registration, we were put into the 25 hour group. We set off in high spirits and arrived at our first 2 Major Checkpoints hours ahead of schedule. All was going great, except that Dud Chops was having trouble with his reflux and rehydration. The other Duds were becoming concerned because the team had only reached half way and Dud Chops was already cramping up. If it wasn’t for the excellent
96 KILOMETRES IN 39 HOURS
support crew (our wives – the Dudetts) who made every Checkpoint a great relief with their encouragement and tasty tucker, Dud Chops mightn’t have had the strength and will to go on. In the early hours of Sunday morning, all Duds and Dudetts were very concerned about Dud Chops. He was looking very lethargic and ill. Duds Dave, Colin and Darren were especially concerned as they had witnessed Dud Chops continually vomiting everything up after every
exhausting challenge. The level of endurance needed to just get up to Syd Duncan Park with low energy levels and sleep deprivation was incredible. With great mates though, we were able to encourage each other and stand by each other to the very end. We finished in a good time of 23hrs, 17mins beating last year’s time by more than 2hrs. Dud Paul surprised us all and was there at the finish line to cheer us on. We were all in celebration mode but then noticed Dud Chops may need medical help. Later that
As the months went by, the training became more intense doing a lot of sessions at Polly’s Kitchen and other stages of The Kokoda Challenge track as well as personal training sessions. By July, we were all fit and physically ready for The Kokoda Challenge. Bring it on! Checkpoint. Things were getting worse as the hours progressed. The Duds didn’t think Chops would finish as they were falling behind waiting for him to continually rest on the ascending tracks. At this stage, we were extremely worried but Dud Chops was adamant that we were going to finish as a team. As we reached the last 4km stretch, the sun was starting to rise and our spirits grew. We knew we were almost there. This was the most physically and mentally
day, Dud Chops was admitted to Redlands Hospital with major dehydration and near kidney failure. After a week’s rest, Chops fully recovered. Now as we all reflect on the event, we have come to realise that with good mateship, positive thinking and physical fitness, we can achieve anything. The spirit of the Duds goes on, who knows there might be another Dud Encore...
Written by Colin ‘DUD’ jerret 13
HELPING AUSSIE TEENAGERS
making a difference. Kokoda Challenge youth Program. helping aussie teenagers.
The youth program is a life changing experience where teenagers who are at a crossroads in their lives will achieve goals they never thought possible! With hard work and dedication they conquer physical tests like walking in the Kokoda Challenge, go on adventures like the Kokoda Challenge Camp and travel overseas on the journey of a lifetime, walking the Kokoda Track and experiencing Kokoda Village in Papua New Guinea. And none of this is done alone; youth program participants make lifelong friends and are guided by terrific mentors in a supporting environment where everyone is encouraged to be their best. The fundamental philosophy of the program is the Spirit of Kokoda â€“ mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice.
Gold Coast Youth Program Branch battle through Nerang State Forest
helping aussie teens
The challenges that todayâ€™s teenagers face are often unique and arise from a range of different circumstances - whether it be at school, home, socially or with the police. We donâ€™t believe that there is a quick fix, but we do know that through a combination of great mentors, physical activity, new friends, self belief and an ongoing support network, young people can gain the confidence and skills to overcome any obstacles that life throws at them. This is the experiential learning that is provided by the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
Youth Program objectives: Allowing young people to realise the consequences of choices they make. And the affect these decisions will have on their happiness, lifestyle and future achievements. 16
Did you know...
Teenagers have benefited from the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program The percentage of teenagers who, by taking part in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program, have experienced positive changes such as increased confidence, physical fitness, improved academic results and new-found friends.
Research suggests that the length of the program enables significant changes to occur within the individual young person. The number of kilometres Youth Program participants will walk between March and September this year
Walking a heroic track Written by
Georgia Hansson, age 17
I have been one of the most privileged people in the world. To be a part of something like the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program has brought the best out of me - and the best out of everyone in the group. This program has changed my life. I have met some of the most wonderful people who I now call my friends and love very dearly.
My mentors were our youth leaders Sam, David, Shane Stedwell and Shane Klintworth. Before my time in the youth program I was a very shy, very quiet girl. Anyone who knows me now can see a changed Georgia. I have developed into a confident person who is capable of anything. To be a part of this program has also shown me the true aspects of the Kokoda Spirit – endurance, sacrifice, courage and mateship. The training sessions tested our endurance. Our courage shone through when everyone was willing to step outside of their usual comforts. Sacrifice was shown by the many who got us through the Challenge and the Kokoda Track – for this I must thank my mum and all the parents involved. And finally, the mateship that so many of us developed during the 14 months of being together. Through our training and our trip to Papua New Guinea, we took on the spirit of Kokoda and learnt what our heroes, the Diggers, went through to protect and serve our country.
‘fast facts’ Youth Program results are taken from an independent five year evaluation of the youth program conducted by an expert in youth services. For the full report please visit: www.kokodachallenge.com/kokoda-challengeyouth-program or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am proud to have had this life changing experience with the Gold Coast Kokoda Kids. They have filled my life with new meaning and have given me many memories that I will treasure forever. I know my time in the youth program has ended but there is one thing I will never forget, Sam saying to me: “I will never stop being a Kokoda Kid!”
HELPING AUSSIE TEENAGERS
diary of kokoda. My name is Joseph Gibb. I am seventeen years old, and this is my Kokoda story.
Day 1. Australia to the Kokoda Track When we arrived in Papua New Guinea, we were greeted by three people wearing sarongs and playing a ukulele. It was kind of strange; like being greeted into Hawaii or Fiji, but not. The Kokoda Kids then split into two groups – those who were staying in the village and the group going to walk the Kokoda Track. We said our goodbyes, and jumped on a bus to take us to Ower’s Corner where the Kokoda Track begins. Before we reached the track the bus stopped at Bomana Cemetery. The cemetery is for all the soldiers who died in the battle of Kokoda. It was an extremely beautiful place, and very upsetting, because there were over 3000 graves there, and nearly a third of them were unnamed. We reboarded the bus and headed to Ower’s Corner. It is strange, seeing the living conditions of the local people. They were all friendly, waving to us when we drove past and greeting us with a smile. We met three children along the way and took pictures with them. We gave them a parting gift of fresh oranges left over from our lunch. Their faces absolutely lit up. It was sad to see that they treasured food like this above anything else. When we arrived at Ower’s Corner, the views were stunning. There was a memorial that featured a WW2 25-pounder cannon. We hitched on our packs, and left Ower’s Corner through an arch engraved with the words “Kokoda Trail”. Our journey had begun. We walked for 45 minutes, all downhill, until we got to Goldie River. It was getting late, so we set up camp here. Food was not too bad. Sausages and mashed potatoes weren’t much, but they were probably the best we were going to get on the track.
Day 2. Goldie River to Ioribaiwa
We had a 5 o’clock wakeup call. It was terrible. I don’t usually do mornings. We had a breakfast of Weet-bix and powdered milk. We were told to get used to it, because it was all we would we having for breakfast the next few days. Awesome. The group were introduced to our porters just before we left. Myself and fellow Kokoda Kid Trevayne found ourselves with the porter named Joseph (same name as mine), but we called him by his nickname. The porters were there to help us if we fell or to clamber over logs - it was good to know they were there. The walking today was not too bad. We climbed The Golden Stairs to Imita Ridge, then back downhill. Eventually we reached the bottom, but we still had 21 creek crossings ahead of us – the day was slow and wet. And I had never sweated so much in my entire life. It was horrible and uncomfortably sticky. We had walked for 10 hours today. It was amazing to arrive at Ioribaiwa Village – what a beautiful place. The views were incredible, and the straw huts were completely alien to us. I dropped my pack in our hut and went exploring. A man from the village was holding a machete, so we asked if we could hold it. “Okay, just let me catch one for you,” he said. He then proceeded to catch a baby chicken and gave it to me to hold. We didn’t want to be rude, so we accepted the chicken and took a picture with it before letting it go. I was so uncomfortable today, my long hair was soaked with sweat and dripping into my eyes, so I let our Youth Leader, Alex cut my hair – surprisingly he did a pretty good job.
“Before we reached the track the bus stopped at Bomana Cemetery. It was an extremely beautiful place, and very upsetting, because there were over 3000 graves there, and nearly a third of them were unnamed.”
Day 3. Ioribaiwa to New Nauru I was woken by our four Youth Leaders, Dave, Sam and the two Shanes at 5am in the morning. It was Brad’s 16th today, so the porters set up a special breakfast of banana hot cakes, and arranged the words “Happy 16th Birthday Belly!” on the bamboo table. They didn’t know how to spell his name, but it was cooler that way. NOTHING DRIES HERE! All of the clothes that we washed weren’t even mildly dry. You can imagine my dismay at having to put on cold, wet underwear everyday. It was a good eight hour walk today, mostly uphill, except for an hour descent. We stopped to look at the Japanese and Australian trenches dug into the side of the hills. I’ve got
to say, I’m glad I wasn’t here back then. Imagine having to fight in these conditions. It would’ve been horrible. Tonight we are staying in the village of New Nauru, as opposed to Old Nauru or War-time Nauru. After a rice and curried spam dinner, the porters came into our hut. Turns out that some of them were in a Gospel choir, and they were incredible singers. They sang us a few Papuan songs, and then they sang Brad a happy birthday and presented him with a hand carved plaque. continue reading
Day 4: New Nauru to Menari
Day 5: Menari to Efogi 2.
The leaders this morning warned us of Trench Foot, which is a fungal disease which can eat small holes in flesh. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
The track from Menari was mainly uphill – which I hate – and even though it was a short day, it was getting difficult. With damp clothes, uber chafe, and a mounting lack of sleep, I was beginning to feel the strain. But we’re all really working well together, and we’re keeping each other going. We don’t have any stragglers and as a group, we’re pretty awesome. We’re all getting really close, too.
As we were walking today, the porters surprised us with walking sticks, carved from the surrounding trees. They are all sturdy, and really good. Today, the walk was a short (only 7 hours) incorporating a couple of river crossings over tree log bridges. The porters supported us as we gingerly crossed the rivers. Menari is one of the biggest villages on the track, and has its own airport runway. But I would NOT want to take off from that. It was on a downhill grade, and completely made of grass. We bathed in a creek where the water was crystal clear, and not actually that cold. That night, after a dinner of macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato, a few of us played poker. Using ripped up paper as money we bet our shower rights. Whoever won would go first at the next shower, the second would go second, etc.
Day 6: Efogi 2 to 1900 My sleep had been broken by some noisy roosters and the tiredness was starting to get to me. It was sad to leave Efogi 2 for our next stop 1900, it was a really beautiful village. Today’s walk was pretty difficult. We descended about 400 metres, and then climbed a massive kilometre. It was really tough going. This was, we were told, the biggest hill on the track. The porters made us a WWII stretcher out of logs and ferns, and told us that we were to carry it in turns to the village at 1900. Two people would carry these stretchers on their shoulder. Hell, it was hard, and we only had our packs on it! It’s hard to believe that during the Kokoda Campaign the Fuzzy Wuzzies actually carried fully-grown men up and down the track on those. When we arrived at 1900, a few of us went back along the track to visit the crash site of a WWII B-25 Mitchell. The
We made a stop at Brigade Hill, one of the most beautiful memorial spots I have ever seen. It’s like a clearing on top of a mountain, and with breathtaking scenery all round. Here, we listened to Bronte’s, Georgia’s and Brooke’s speeches about the battle that was fought here. It was hard to imagine that on that small area of land, the soldiers were in the heat of battle. There was barely ten metres between the lines. Bronte broke down crying in the middle of her speech, and I really don’t blame her. Especially when Shane read the poem ‘W.X. Unknown’, a story about a boy who dies anonymously in war and how his family will never know what has happened to him. It was extremely depressing, and I could tell from everyone’s faces that we were all experiencing the same sorrow. We tramped the rest of the way past Efogi 1, a small village at the bottom of a valley, and then climbed an almost vertical wall to Efogi 2, where we were to be setting up shop that night. We had a dinner of sausages and mashed sweet potato, which was welcome in the middle of the cold rain. That day also happened to be Alex’s birthday. The porters sung him happy birthday and had presented him with a skillfully carved walking pole. They had even made him a cake made out of damper bread, and coated it with melted chocolate. All in all, it was a great day. I had his name carved on it with ‘Kokoda spirit’ it was so nice and they hadn’t even finished it. They sang a few more songs and gave Alex a cake. It was like chocolate covered damper. I was so tired so I went to bed.
wreckage was in piles, and rusting. There was an extinct bomb, which sat in a ditch, and a remaining wheel not too far away, and it was almost as big as me. The actual crash site was marked by wooden poles, and it had pooled with water to form a stagnant pond. 1900 is situated 1900 metres above sea level, making it absolutely freezing. The lead porter, Noel, said he would give me a present if I could sit in the water for 5 minutes. I jumped in, and it was absolutely freezing. I would say it was a good 4 degrees. I got Noel’s present, a can of pineapple flavour Fanta. The porters sang us songs again after a meal of pasta. Trevayne and I were allocated the smallest tent. There was absolutely no space, and I had to curl right up. So once again I slept terribly.
Day 7: 1900 to Eora Creek Village. Today’s walk was really good. There was only one major uphill and the rest was downhill. The leaders said that these last few days would be really short, about 5 or 6 hour days, which meant more time to rest and relax - great. Eora Creek has the most beautiful creek I have ever seen. As soon as we organised our gear, we got changed and went for a swim. But when we arrived at the creek, there was a massive water rat, swimming along the surface like a dolphin. It was disgustingly huge. I thought it was a small dog at first. It swam into this weird little alcove behind the waterfall. The water was really clear, and it was great standing underneath the waterfall, which was so powerful it swept us off our feet. Tonight was pretty uneventful, but the good news is Trevayne and I got a larger tent. I have grown to appreciate the space.
Day 8: Eora Creek to Isuravav
Today was the day I had been looking forward to, reaching the Isurava Memorial. Last night was definitely the best sleep I had had so far. It had rained during the night, so our clothes were soaked. But I was cheerful, and so was everyone else. We had one more sleep before we finished the track, so everyone was excited. The track features plenty of uphills and downhills but not very large ones. We came to a rock called ‘Surgeon’s Rock’. It is called this, because during the battle of Isurava, the wounded would be dragged about a hundred metres up the track so that the flat rock could be used to operate on the injured. It’s hard to believe. Isurava Memorial is the most beautiful place I have ever been. There are four black granite columns, with the words Courage, Mateship, Endurance and Sacrifice engraved into each. And behind it, there is a stunning view of the valley where the village of Kokoda is situated. Behind the hill, down from the memorial, is the rock where Bruce Kingsbury was shot by a sniper - it is impossible to imagine such a peaceful place as a battlefield. I was emotional.
When we moved on from the memorial, we continued walking for another hour before arriving at the present-day village of Isurava. After dinner, Gold Coast Kokoda Kid, Georgia gave the nicest speech I have ever heard about this experience and us. It bought tears to the eyes of most people. Trevayne then taught some of the porters and Kokoda Kids how to do the haka. It was so funny. It’s at times like this I’m so glad to be a Kokoda Kid.
Day 9: Isurava to Kokoda (Fala Village) This morning, everybody was in a rush. Today we would reach Kokoda. We woke up and were ready earlier than we were supposed to be. In a way, it was a sad occasion, because it was our last day on the track. I was sad that it was ending. I had enjoyed myself so much. We were told to take it slow on the final massive descent, as on previous occasions there had been injuries on the last day because everyone had been in a rush to finish. Today’s walk was a massive descent, and that was it, there was one uphill, and it was only 50 metres high. We had a great view of the date and rubber plantations and the villages the entire way down. We stopped for lunch in the village of Hoi, and the porters made us a massive lunch of noodles, and fresh fruit. We sat in the village creek for a little while, fully clothed, enjoying the coolness, as it had been getting increasingly hotter coming down the mountain. During the last few kilometres, there were lots of local people walking past, in the other direction, carrying supplies for their villages and heading home. They carried boxes of coke strapped to their heads. They must have more muscles in their neck than I do in my entire body.
When we finally reached Kokoda, we met Kokoda Challenge Chairman Doug Henderson, and let the packs slump off our soldiers, and proceeded to hug everyone in victory. I couldn’t believe we actually did it, we had walked the Kokoda Track! We took some celebratory pictures with the porters. Then Doug gave us the bad news… It was another half hour walk to the village we were staying. When we reached the village of Fala, we walked through an arch made of grass and sticks. Natives dressed in traditional costume welcomed us with dancing, chanting, and drumming. The kids who stayed at the village were there too, smiling and watching. It was great to see them again. When it had finished, we were given a fresh meal and the kids who stayed at the village sang us all a song that they had been taught by the village chief. Then we swam in the creek for hours, played volleyball and soccer with the adults and children who live in Kokoda Village. It was the most amazing thing. The porters were only with us for one more night, which was sad, as we had become really attached to them. Arm wrestling, teaching them the haka, listening to them sing every night; I’ve got to say I’ll miss them. For the last time, we heard them sing, and then we showed them magic card tricks, and they showed us a few of their own. It was good fun. It’s funny, as earlier today I couldn’t wait to be off the track. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t left it. continue reading
Day 10: Kokoda VillagE I slept terribly last night, but that’s okay because it meant I was already up and ready to say good bye to the porters. They prepared our final breakfast for us, and we bid them farewell. We would see some of them at the airport, but not all of them. Today, we all helped Kokoda Primary School with their Annual Sports Day. It was extremely hot, and I felt like I was melting. I was exhausted, having been walking for the past few days, and did not feel like I would manage. But I did, and I’m glad I did, because it was a great day. I was assigned to do touch rugby with some of the middle schoolers. The higher grades would be playing soccer, and the younger kids played games like Tug o’ War. I managed to teach the kids how to do the Mexican Wave, and to shout my name out as they did it. I felt proud.
Day 11: Kokoda to Port Moresby. PNG to Australia. I’m at home now, sitting with my family and a couple of friends that met me at the airport. It’s hard to believe that we actually left at all, let alone walked the track. We left that morning, said our farewells to the villagers, and walked to the Kokoda Airstrip. There were dozens of people who had either walked the track, or were looking for free passage to Port Moresby. It took less time than I thought it would to get through customs. We spent ages back at Fala cleaning our gear, making sure it was fit to pass through customs. I was so happy to see my family again, and my friends. After being away, you really do appreciate them a little more. We said goodbyes to each other, and went our separate ways.
HELPING AUSSIE TEENAGERS
After walking the Kokoda Track, Youth Program participants embark on a further eight months of volunteering and community service activities. This includes activities such as Landcare Projects, helping people with disabilities and volunteering at Kokoda Challenge events. Joseph has now completed his community service and graduated from the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program in August 2010.
number of Kokoda SIX The Challenge Youth Program branches Australiawide, each having 12 participants and four Youth Leaders.
Did you know...
The Kokoda Challenge Youth Program has succeeded in preventing and controlling behaviour that is harmful to young people and the broader community.
$5,500 The minimum cost
per youth program participant for a year.
Did you know...
The program is funded entirely by The Kokoda Challenge and sponsorship.
“All the evidence supported the same message - the overwhelming positive impact with which the program delivers to the participants is life changing” - Tanya Scott, Youth Worker.
Did you know...
In 2011 the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program will be launching a Melbourne branch!
‘fast facts’ Youth Program results are taken from an independent five year evaluation of the youth program conducted by an expert in youth services. For the full report please visit www.kokodachallenge.com/kokoda-challengeyouth-program or email email@example.com
HONOUR THE KOKODA SPIRIT
honour the kokoda spirit. boost Kokoda Challenge melbourne. 30 kilometres.
The feeling The spring green of fern glades and towering forests of the Dandenong Ranges provide the backdrop for the challenge that aptly begins under the Kokoda Memorial Arch. Victoria is the home of the 39th Battalion Association, the first Australian Troops to set foot on the Kokoda Track. The Diggers presence on the day solemnises the spirit of the event. The Challenge: Teams of two, three and four ramble through the lush gullies of Sherbrooke forest on a steep ascent to Kalaroma Park. After reaching the summit trekkers are rewarded with panoramic views of the city skyline before descending back along the memorial walk to the finish line. the Date 30th October 2011
Sherbrooke Forest in the Dandenong Ranges
endurance mateship Written by Pam Long, Team ‘The Undecideds’
HONOUR THE KOKODA SPIRIT
Four weeks ago my enthusiasm for doing something different caught up with me yet again when I overheard a friend saying her Dad couldn’t do the upcoming Kokoda Challenge as his teammate had to work, so he was left without a walker...
After a couple of questions about the event I figured 30km hiking in the Dandenongs was a nice way to spend a Sunday and I offered my services. The trek started at the Ferntree Gully National Park and commenced on the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, which includes 1000 steps, winding it’s way up to One Tree Hill, down through Tremont, across through The Basin, skirting the base of Mount Dandenong before climbing to Kalorama and heading back almost the same way to the beginning. Gerry rang me to suss me out. “I don’t mean to be rude, but have you ever walked the 1000 steps in the Dandenongs?” I assured him I had done them about ten times including twice this year, and in the dark, and enjoyed them so much I even worked as a volunteer for Trailwalker on that 10km section, hanging glow sticks for the walkers the following year. We arranged a practice walk, aiming to do the first section, around 10kms using their map, track notes and the Melways map. Gerry is the most laid back guy with a laconic Aussie sense of humour and easygoing manner. I didn’t mind waiting a couple of times for him to catch his breath on the way up the steps and at the top I think I had passed his ‘will she be up to it’ test. Six hours later and a number of wrong turns, we staggered back down to the car and figured the next week we would do the other half of the course, so we knew what else we were in for. This first section was a wake up call for what would be a long day when we did the event. View Track is very accurately named, so steep that sometimes our faces seemed to be only 30 centimetres from the ground, but the view of Melbourne from the top was enough reward. On our next walk we couldn’t find the start of the track from Kalorama – this was despite having track notes, a UBD and a few dud leads from friends. Luckily we knew it would be clearly marked during the event. Eventually we walked it in reverse, nearly blowing away under the famous TV towers at the top of Mt. Dandenong, but assured ourselves it would be alright on the day and our camaraderie and humour would hold us in good stead. It was an anxious watch of the weather forecast leading into the weekend, but 20 degrees and cloudy sounded perfect. The last minute promise of sunshine caused a few slight changes of plan including hats and sunscreen.
many people hadn’t done much training, or walked on any of the track in preparation. Many were stunned by the steepness of the hills, the roughness of the course, but hopefully they didn’t miss the beauty surrounding them. The Kokoda mantra is Endurance, Courage, Mateship and Sacrifice. They all symbolized the day and we experienced them all in various ways. Endurance was what the day was about. Going the distance, despite pain and discomfort. Finally on Sunday morning, the alarm woke me and I had the usual ‘what am I doing this for?’ feeling, but once my feet hit the floor and I anticipated the day ahead I was keen. Putting sunscreen on at 4.45am seemed very weird. I had my pack containing a 1.5 litre water bladder so I could drink on the trot, two bottles of Gatorade, two bananas, a cheese roll and a caffeine Gu and a couple of energy bars all packed. I applied blister block to my potential danger areas on my feet and donned the boots, grabbed the walking pole and was ready to head out the door. Arriving at Ferntree Gully Picnic ground, the kookaburras were laughing uproariously at us. We made our way to the registration desk, got our numbers and goodies bag. Why do I always order event t-shirts too big? I have enough nighties! At 6.40am, we assembled for a memorial service. A brief outline of the Kokoda Challenge was given and then the link with the real Kokoda and the militia men of the 39th Battalion, who fought against incredible odds on the notorious Kokoda Track in 1942. Then a bugler, Darcy Manks, stepped forward and played the Last Post. I have always found the haunting tune moving, and even more so since it was played at my Grandpa’s funeral. In this setting, in the gully as the sky lightened over the nearby hill and the yet to rise sun tinged the clouds pink with its promise of a good day, the Last Post took on extra significance. Our day’s challenge seemed so insignificant. One of the few remaining Diggers from the 39th Militia, Bill Stuart, dressed in his suit with his medals, read the Ode, hesitating on the last lines: “At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”. We all choked up with emotion and tears flowed. A minute’s silence led us to reflect and be grateful for their sacrifice and effort. The bugler then played Reveille, the wake up call piercing the still morning air. The birds chirped, but I was grateful that the Kookaburras held their mirth in check, respecting the solemnity of the proceedings. At 7am precisely, Bill counted us down and it was an orderly crowd of nearly 300 who headed to the 1000 steps for a day many won’t forget in a hurry. We had trained and knew what we were in for and hoped to get through the day in around 8 hours and certainly under the 9 hour limit. It was amazing how
Courage was shown by many. Some struggled with injuries, but were determined to show those who had sponsored them that they could do it. The young mum who had a baby 11 weeks ago showed great determination to finish. Mateship – Kokoda Challenge is a team event, not for individuals. Teams of two, three or four participate to emphasize the team spirit of Kokoda. One guy was prepared to run back to the next checkpoint to get some tape to bandage his mate’s painful ankle, adding extra to his day’s mileage. There were so many varied and interesting people we met and walked with. One couple were celebrating their wedding anniversary. The three young guys who kept us entertained for about 10kms with their funny stories; one who had lost 21kgs recently; the team who hadn’t trained and thought it would be a stroll in their sneakers. Courage. The guy who limped on, with two walking sticks, eyes forward, not distracted or wavering despite the pain etched on his face. Determined to finish what he had committed to. But mateship in a team is what stands out for me. Gerry, my friend’s Dad, whom I had only met briefly in July, became my companion on a day that could have had a lot more outcomes than our shorter training walks. We talked of many things, our holidays, our families, and our beliefs. Of our life experiences, personal and physical battles. He spoke of his personal experience of walking the Kokoda Track and the impact that had on him. We shared jokes and laughs, bananas and saw the irony of the jelly dinosaurs we shared. We exercised patience when one misread the map or the other suffered painful cramps. I think we learnt a lot about each other, but just as much about ourselves. The last 4.5kms were to be the toughest, we knew that. They were mostly uphill, but it wasn’t a race and we pretty much ignored the clock, knowing the goal was to get there. Endurance. That was the challenge. We found descending the 1000 steps at the end almost easy and strode the last section to the finish area. Having family and friends there to greet us, take photos and cheer for us was such a wonderful feeling. We registered our times, had a free sausage and drink and then were presented team by team with our certificates. Three more of the 39th boys were there, to shake our hands, congratulate us and give us a keyring that is now on my keys. It contains four words: Endurance. Courage. Mateship. Sacrifice.
Did you know? The Boost Kokoda Challenge Melbourne is the major fundraiser for the Melbourne Branch of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
Kokoda Challenge Youth Program
Mateship in Practice
The intense training sessions, The Kokoda Challenge on the Gold Coast and the adventure of a lifetime walking The Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is only the beginning of the journey of self-discovery for the youth program participants. On returning to Australia the ‘Kokoda Kids’ swap Sunday hiking sessions for community service activities that are designed to teach them gratitude, empathy and give them a broad spectrum of all the members of the community. According to Kokoda Challenge Youth Program officer Dan Crowell, the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program forms partnerships with other charities and community organisations that require assistance. “We try to arrange activities that give a broad scope of services required in the local area, such as environmental, social and infrastructure projects,” said Dan. “Through charitable activities such as these, the teenagers in the program gain a broader sense of the community and particularly of those who are less fortunate than they are.
“We also have days scheduled that will be allocated to late response projects such as the Queensland Floods or to help individuals who are having a hard time.” The group who walked the famous Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea last September are eager to express their gratitude. 17 year old Braedyn from Nerang is committed to helping people who are in need. “After visiting Papua New Guinea you realise just how much you have - the local people have very little and they are happy, happier than us. It makes you wonder what we need so much stuff,” says Braedyn. “I have realised just how lucky I am, and now I want to give back. Particularly to those who have lost everything - it’s important that they know that other people are here to help. “Volunteering in the community is such an important and rewarding role for me, and it was something I had even thought of in the past.”
To see the ‘Kokoda Kids’ in the community visit:
how you can give back to the community. Not only are you taking on a great personal challenge,
your fundraising efforts are allowing Aussie teens to gain a brighter future for themselves and their families! This is your chance to achieve a personal goal, honour the Kokoda legacy and make a positive impact on the life of a young person.
When they decided to do the Kokoda Challenge for the first time in 2010, the Gordon Green Machine team was nervous – they had no idea what they had gotten themselves in to. Their aims were pretty simple – work as a team and fundraise. With four team members crossing the 96km finish line and raising the largest contribution by a team – they have well and truly met and cracked their challenge goals. Not only did the team surpass their own expectations when it came to the physical and mental challenges of the event, their remarkable fundraising contribution has paid for three teenagers to take part in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. Raising a staggering $19,431.10, Gordon Green Machine has taken out the honour of highest team fundraiser in the 2010 Kokoda Challenge. Team members Shaun, Bruce and Josh, headed up by their most senior member and fearless leader Wally, entered the challenge as a team building exercise through their business. According to Bruce, rallying up financial contributions was as simple as asking. “You would be surprised - the whole idea of a 96km walk really inspired people. It piqued people’s interest and then when they found out about the Youth Program and where the money was going, they wanted to donate.” Bruce attributes having great business contacts and not being afraid to ask, as the secrets to their team fundraising success. “We always support our suppliers and not having done anything like this before, we hadn’t previously approached them to make a donation to a not-for-profit organisation. So when we entered the Kokoda Challenge, we made contact with them, explained the cause and then the donations just started to come through.” “The biggest challenge we faced was chasing donations up. There were a lot of emails and phone calls in actually getting people to commit. We found people are happy to tell you they
will support you but translating that into donations in the bank is another matter,” team member Shaun said. “As a team, we believe in the cause we were fundraising for so we had no problem with what sometimes felt like ‘badgering ’ to get people to donate.” After hundreds of emails and letters to suppliers as well as copious follow up phone calls, Gordon Green Machine’s hard work paid off. “If it wasn’t for our very generous sponsors, we would have never reached our fundraising target,” Shaun said. Gordon Green Machine’s major sponsors included; Gordon Brothers Industries, Wiley & Co, Evapco Australia, GEA Australia, Contract Electrical Queensland, Guntner Australia and FilterTech Australia. A big focus for Gordon Green Machine throughout the challenge was ensuring sponsors and supporters got value for their sponsorship. “We are always giving our sponsors a plug. When major sponsors came on board, we made sure our 7000 strong contacts list was updated. And we made sure we brought as many people along with us on the challenge as possible giving them e-updates after training walks and especially during the challenge. We got lots of feedback from sponsors who were watching the live webcam during the challenge. Even months after the event, we still get suppliers asking us about the walk and our experience.” The combined fundraising efforts of the top ten team fundraisers have provided 12 teenagers with the opportunity to gain confidence, direction, life skills and the knowledge that anything is possible through the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
As highest team fundraiser, Shaun, Bruce, Josh and Wally, have won a trip to Papua New Guinea and guided trek of the Kokoda Track with Kokoda Challenge Partner, Kokoda Spirit. “It still hasn’t sunk in that we actually won the trip,” Wally said. The team are hoping to take off in May 2011 to complete the Kokoda track before coming back to prepare for the Challenge again in July. “We will definitely be doing the Kokoda Challenge again – we just have to find a fourth team member,” Bruce said.
to the major sponsors who made Gordon Green Machine’s fundraising target a reality: • Gordon Brothers Industries • Wiley & Co • Evapco Australia • GEA Australia • Contract Electrical Queensland • Guntner Australia and • FilterTech Australia
Ready to start fundraising? Visit www.kokodachallenge.com/ fundraising-ideas to get started
The Secret to... Highest Fundraiser Success! Tips from Gordon Green Machine
Don’t be afraid to ask! • Approach all of your contacts (no matter how small) and sell the cause to them. Once people know where their money will go, they will want to help out. • Give sponsors value for their money. Think about how you can reward businesses and organisations for their support throughout the challenge. • When emailing potential donors, make sure you have a concise title for your email. Sometimes, it’s the only thing people will read before pressing ‘delete’. • Be straight forward with your request in the first sentence of your email or letter. Again, people don’t have a lot of time and if you don’t make it reader friendly – they won’t get around to reading it. • Finally, be persistent and follow up on pledges!
A trip for 4
to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea! The Kokoda Challenge highest fundraiser Award If your team is the highest fundraiser* for the year in The Kokoda Challenge you will WIN an all expenses paid trip for four to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea! This once in a lifetime experience is thanks to our Trekking Partner www.kokodaspirit.com
Your prize, valued at $00,000 includes: • Four return flights from Brisbane to Port Moresby • Two nights accommodation in Port Moresby • Transfers to and from the Kokoda Track • Guided trekking, meals and accommodation
Did you know...
The Kokoda Challenge Youth Program does not receive government funding, we rely on the great support of the community. Everything you donate goes directly to operating the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
The average percentage of teams that complete the Kokoda Challenge as a full team of four.
A big Congrats!
m 3HAAR Congratulations to tea the 2010 in r ise dra the highest fun lbourne! Me nge alle Ch a Boost Kokod es paid trip They have won an expens for four to the Gold Coast ry into the including a free team ent . alle 96km Kokoda Ch nge
a trip for 4
a full team entry
to walk the 96km Kokoda into the 96km Kokoda challenge in the gold coast! challenge in the gold coast! The boost Kokoda Challenge melbourne highest fundraiser Award If your team is the highest fundraiser* for the year in the Boost Kokoda Challenge Melbourne, you will WIN a trip for you and three mates to walk the 96km Kokoda Challenge in the Gold Coast!
your prize, valued at $4950 includes... • Guaranteed entry into the 2012 Kokoda Challenge (even if completely booked out) • Four return flights to the Gold Coast • Three nights accommodation • A break from Melbourne winter
The NEW Kokoda Challenge brisbane highest fundraiser Award So you’re entered in the Brisbane Kokoda Challenge, and if your team raises the most amount of money for the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program, you will win exclusive entry into the big one – the 96km Kokoda Challenge!
your prize, valued at $1940 includes... • Guaranteed entry into the booked out 2011 Kokoda Challenge (can be redeemed in 2012 if requested)
Did you know...
Did you know...
The youth program is open to all young people aged between 16 and 18 regardless of personal circumstance, background or life experience.
The Virtual Spectator tracking system was developed just for the Kokoda Challenge
Kokoda’s 2011 fundraising target. That’s just over $2000 per team. 33
that give back! There are some fantastic businesses that support the association in many ways. We encourage you to support the people who make this all possible. And the generosity doesnâ€™t stop there they will make a donation to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program when you make a purchase.
Youth Program gets a Not only are Boost Juice Bars the very important Major Sponsor of the Kokoda Challenge Association but Boost Juice also generously donate 10c from every bottle of Mount Franklin sold in store to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program Visit www.boostjuicebars.com.au to find out more
20% off all equipment for Kokoda Challenge participants.
(At the Anaconda Essentials Night only. Includes already discounted items.)
Did you know youth program participants will walk more than 400km this year? Anaconda, official Equipment Partner of the Kokoda Challenge provide all the trekking equipment for the teenagers in the youth program. Anaconda QLD stores also host the Essentials Nights where you get a great discount on all your gear, a sausage and a chance to chat to first aid and training experts.
Donâ€™t miss your local Essentials Night, visit www.kokodachallenge. com/whats-on for dates
$50 donation per booking *
to the kokoda Challenge Youth Program
It takes eight to ten days to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. As well as guiding our 72 youth program participants, Kokoda Spirit, official Trekking Partners of the association also offer a discount to Kokoda Challenge participants and a donation of $50 per booking to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program* Visit www.kokodaspirit.com.au Email firstname.lastname@example.org *Trek to be taken during the 2012 trekking season. Kokoda Spirit Booking Terms apply.
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ge of compatible handsets. FOXTEL marks are used under license by FOXTEL Management Pty marks of Telstra Corporation Limited ABN 33 051 775 556.
Long time supporters of the KCA, Bunnings help us by providing equipment for fundraising events and an army of volunteers to run Major Checkpoint 7, during the Kokoda Challenge. Bunnings will help your team by allowing you to host a fundraising B.B.Q at your local store visit www.kokodachallenge.com/fundraising-ideas for more information.
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Did you know that during the Kokoda Challenge 6,000 litres of water is consumed! This water is donated by long time supporter and local business owner, the Springwaterman. It’s recommend each competitor takes 20L for the Kokoda Challenge.
10% of each frame sold goes to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program Phone Tam 0434969326 or Meredith 0417270275 Email email@example.com Po Box 1358 Paradise Point QLD 4216
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First Aid Accident and Emergency First Aid expert and Challenge Scott Whimpey puts our teens through their paces with a specially design bushwalking first aid course. For trekkers Scott is hosting four seminars in April and May that you can attend, they will be covering nutrition, gear, training, first aid, time line for the 96km event and support crew advice. All of the profits from the seminars will be donated back to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. Keep an eye on the Kokoda Challenge website for dates or visit www.firstaidae.com.au
Amazing Daily Deals 50-90% off restaurants, spas, events & more! If you have a business deal you want to promote, speak to the team at Couee. 10% of that deal will be donated to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. Phone John on 0414 015 209
Sagadevan Mundree, Kubashini Mundree, Vimlan Pillay and Mumtaz Jeevaji, hail from South Africa, Australia and India, and together, they make Team SAI. As an innovative and fun way to raise money, last year the team hosted a Bollywood themed dinner dance to raise money for the young participants in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. The night was a unique fusion of cultures with lucky guests treated to the exotic flavours of Lamb Curry, Butter Chicken and traditional Indian desserts catered by Cafe Tara. After stimulating their taste buds, guests then hit the dance floor to show off their best Bollywood moves. Kokoda Challenge Chairman, Doug Henderson and his wife Anna, were guests at the party and both were humbled to meet a group of people who are so dedicated to supporting the Kokoda Challenge Association. “The night was a fantastic success! It was inspiring to meet a group who really engaged with the spirit of Kokoda. Team SAI’s passion and dedication to helping young Australians is truly humbling,” Doug said. “The Indian and South African cultures are so rich, and it was great to see such old cultures meeting with Australia’s relatively new culture.”
p u s e k a h s
Kokoda Challenge The colour, flare, not to mention song and dance of Bollywood shook the Gold Coast last year, when Team SAI organised an extra-special fundraising event in the lead up to the 2010 Kokoda Challenge. 36
Team leader Sagadevan was delighted with the response they received to the event and said it was a fun filled evening that had everyone clapping their hands and tapping their feet. “Doug and Anna joined us on the dance floor to kick off the dancing and I have to say, there were some fine Bollywood style moves from the Henderson’s,” Sagadevan said. Also Included in the programme for the evening were raffles of picnic hampers, designer Indian wear, a voucher for C’est La Vie Restaurant and other generously donated items. The an, night was a tremendous Kokoda Challenge Chairm de to asi e tim success with over Doug Henderson sets a guest as s ort eff g $1,500 raised. support your fundraisin
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“Taxi Please” teammates take a break to cool their feet along the track.
Whether youâ€™re walking, running or rambling...
in any of the Kokoda Challenge events the appropriate training will make the challenge more enjoyable and ensure you are not at risk of physical injuries or ailments.
recommendations Make sure you warm up stretching all your major muscle groups and cool down after exercise. Wear a good pair of hiking boots or running shoes. Make sure they are well broken in before the event by wearing them on practice walks. A spare pair is also recommended.
Start training walks three months prior to the event. Walk at least one day a week for a minimum of four to six hours (15 to 25 km). Plan a schedule with your team mates and stick to it. Each weekend you should slightly increase the distance and/or time of your walks. All walks should include some hilly and rough cross-country sections. Remember that very hilly routes will obviously take more time and energy than comparatively flat ones. By the end of the training period you should feel comfortable to walk about 10 to 11 hours without difficulty.
Remember to drink sufficient water or sports drinks. Dehydration is a real risk and can result in death or serious injury. Always take maps and make sure you know how to use them, together with a torch, compass and/or a hand held GPS.
During Kokoda Challenge events, trained medical staff are on hand if you need them however during training you need to take responsibility for your own wellbeing... 40
As part of your training, choose a weekend to practice night walking. Distances, terrain and direction are all very different in the dark and walking rough ground by torchlight is a skill that needs to be practiced. Two or three weekends before the event try to walk for 8 to 10 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. This will help you to get accustomed to walking when stiff and tired. Allow your muscles to relax during the following two weeks.
For those who really want to complete the course with as little discomfort as possible, a short run every day in the lead up to the event will give additional strength and fitness. Cross training benefits and complements your walking training. Try swimming for all over body conditioning, cycling, Pilates for core strength training and yoga as part of your stretching routine.
Tired muscles start to stiffen during long rests. Shorter, more frequent stops may be advisable during the event. You are strongly advised to take out insurance to cover injury or death and any damage to personal property.
Important Note! The Kokoda Challenge is an extreme event, and your health and safety is your responsibility. The Kokoda Challenge Association recommends all participants have life insurance.
kokoda challenge recommends you: See your doctor for a full medical check-up before you start a training program Make sure you have at least one recovery day, and preferably two, every week Exercise at an appropriate intensity for your fitness level. It takes time to increase your overall level of fitness. Training too hard or too fast is a common cause of injury. If you do get an injury seek medical advice and be prepared to rest and let your body heal. Remember extreme fatigue tests your mental capacity to be logical and make rational decisions. It will test your friendships. Discuss this with your team and support crew beforehand.
stop exercising if you experience any of these symptoms: • Discomfort or pain, beyond a normal level • Chest pain or other pain that could indicate a heart attack, including pain in the neck and jaw, pain travelling down the arm or pain between the shoulder blades • Extreme breathlessness • A rapid or irregular heartbeat during exercise
llenge Join other trekkers for cha llenge cha the on ks tric banter, tips and ge.com/ forum at:kokodachallen challenge-chat
Dehydration is a real risk and can result in serious injury or death. It is your responsibility to make sure you stay hydrated in training and during the Kokoda Challenge. When exercising, your body can sweat one litre of water each hour – when you lose more water than you put in, you will dehydrate. It is easy to prevent dehydration during the Kokoda Challenge by making sure you are well hydrated before you start exercising, you drink regularly and your support crew are carrying a minimum of 20 litres of water per team member. When participating in a 30km Challenge you should carry 2 litre water bladder in your bag and refill it when you arrive at Checkpoints.
Did you know
There is such a thing as overhydration or water intoxication. The condition occurs when the body takes in more water than it excretes, and its normal sodium level is diluted. Whilst overhydration is uncommon it can occur in recreational long distance runners. Symptoms can include: • Confusion • Lethargy • Nausea • Vomiting • Muscle cramps Check out kokodachallenge.com/training-andpreparation for full training advice and schedules
Signs & symptoms of dehydration: • Fatigue • Dry mouth • Eyes stop making tears • Sweating may stop • Muscle cramps • Nausea and vomiting • Heart palpitations • Lightheadedness (especially when standing) • Low or no urine output – the more concentrated the urine (dark yellow) the more dehydrated a person will be • As dehydration progresses, the skin loses water content and becomes less elastic
Did you know...
Over 6,000 litres of water is consumed during The Kokoda Challenge. This water is generously donated by the Spring Waterman. For all your water supplies contact The Spring Waterman 07 5530 2200
In a light day pack you should carry: Headwear:
Cap & sunglasses essential protection from the sun and elements during the day
Headtorch unless you’re planning on finishing in under 12 hours, you’ll need one of these for night time walking
Clothing: Light weight T-shirt or trekking shirt choose a fabric that breathes to help minimise sweat Kokoda Challenge race bib worn on the outside of your shirt Compression tights great for preventing chafing and encouraging blood circulation Comfortable walking shorts also pivotal in prevention of chafing
Footwear: quality shoes and socks reduces your chance of blisters (tip: make sure your shoes are well worn-in before the big day to again reduce chance of painful blisters)
Equipment: Walking poles Best assistance for tired legs!
2L-3L Water bladder & 600ml sports Drink it’s vital that you stay hydrated and keep electrolyte levels replenished Waterproof jacket carry at all times in case of rain (an emergency poncho is a great cost-effective alternative!) Beanie, gloves & jumper parts of the track are reknowned for their chilly temps - keep warm during night walking and at checkpoints Spare socks it’s imperative to keep your feet dry at all times (major key point to avoid blisters!) Small first aid kit take care of minor injuries Mobile phone stay in contact with your support team, receive encouragement from mates, and have a means of contact should you need help. Snacks carry a mixture of sugary and salty snacks to keep energy levels up Emergency space blanket, Compass & Map in the very remote chance your team gets lost, these items are a must!
Be fully prepared!
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The health and safety of participants and supporters is the priority of the Kokoda Challenge Association. During the Kokoda Challenge professional first aid and emergency services are available however during training safety is the responsibility of the individual.
First-aid tips from Scott Whimpey: Blisters & chafing? Prevention is the best method, train in the shoes you plan to wear and tape up areas that may blister (heels and toes). And apply Vaseline to areas before chafing gets too bad.
Soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains & bruising? Familiarise yourself with the acronym R.I.C.E, rest, ice, compression and elevation. If the injury is not serious and you want to continue on, apply a compression bandage to the affected area. Know your limitations – if the injury is painful seek medical attention.
Sore/tired legs from training? The best way to help tired legs is to cool them down. Take an ice or cold water bath (ten minutes in, then ten minutes out, repeat two or three times). Or wade in a lake or in the ocean, this will aid recovery by up to 50%.
Dehydration? Start hydrating well before training. Check your urine, if it’s clear you’re hydrated.
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Environmental footprint The Kokoda Challenge Association values the environment. All the challenge events are environmentally friendly but we need your help to keep it that way! The best way to protect and preserve the beautiful environment is to tread softly and take out what you bring in. Please always respect local residents by not crossing onto private property, keeping noise levels to a minimum and following the Bushwalkers Code.
The Bushwalkers Code: If you enjoy the pleasures of bushwalking and related self-reliant outdoor activities, you have a big responsibility to protect and preserve the natural landscape for the enjoyment of future generations. This guide will help you enjoy the bush without leaving your mark.
Tread softly Use existing tracks. Don’t create new ones. On zigzag paths, don’t cut corners as this creates unsightly damage that leads to erosion. Wade through waterlogged sections of tracks. Don’t create a skein of new tracks around them. Stay on track even if it is rough and muddy. Walking on the edges increases damage and causes confusion about which is the right track. Except in really rough terrain, wear lightweight, soft-soled walking shoes, boots or joggers rather than heavy boots.
Watch your safety Know what to do in emergencies. Rescue operations often cause serious damage so take care to avoid the need for rescue. Acquire knowledge of First Aid so you know how to handle illness and injuries. Carry clothing and equipment to suit the worst possible conditions you are likely to encounter. Carry a mobile phone, but use it only for summoning aid in an emergency.
Be hygienic Increasing cases of Gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) and Giardia (a human bacterial parasite which causes chronic diarrhoea) in many high use areas are thought to be due to human faecal waste. To avoid Gastro and stop the Giardia please follow these guidelines at all times – no matter how tired and exhausted you may feel.
Pack it in, pack it out
Don’t carry glass bottles and jars, cans, drink cartons lined with aluminium foil and excess packaging. If you can’t resist carrying such things, don’t leave them in the bush. Remember, if you carry a full container in, you can carry the empty one out. Remove all your rubbish including food scraps, paper, plastic, aluminium foil and empty containers. Don’t burn or bury rubbish. Burning creates pollution and buried rubbish may be dug up and scattered by animals. Digging also disturbs the soil, causing erosion and encouraging weeds. Carry a plastic bag for your rubbish. If you find litter left by irresponsible people along the track or around a campsite, please remove it. Show you care for the environment, even if others don’t.
Use toilets whenever possible. If this is not possible bury your faecal waste at least 100 metres away from campsites and watercourses and as far away from tracks as possible, in a hole at least 15cm (6 inches) deep using a hand trowel or stick. Make sure all of the waste and paper is covered and mixed with soil to aid decomposition and to discourage animals. Wait until you get out of sensitive areas such as caves and canyons before defecating or urinating. Carry out things that won’t easily decompose, such as used tampons, sanitary pads and condoms. Make sure all of the waste is covered with soil and paper is carried out. Carry a lightweight plastic trowel or a large aluminium tent peg to make digging easier.
Keep water pure
Protect plants & animals
Try not to disturb wildlife. Remember you are the trespasser. Give snakes a wide berth and leave them alone. They have more right to be there than you do. Watch where you put your feet. Walk around delicate plants. Don’t feed birds and animals around campsites or they may become pests. Unnatural food can be harmful to many species.
Be courteous to others The sound of radios, CD players, mobile phones and similar devices is out of place in the natural environment. Leave the electronics at home. For information about mobile phones visit kokodachallenge.com/participantpreparation Ensure your behaviour and activities don’t disturb or offend others. Leave gates and slip rails as you find them. When you open a gate, make sure the last person knows it has to be closed. Respect the rights of landholders and land managers. In national parks, abide by plans of management and encourage others to do so too.
Wash at least 50 metres from the edges of lakes and streams and scatter the wastewater so it has a chance to filter through the soil before returning to the stream. Prevent soap, detergent or toothpaste from getting into natural water systems. Use biodegradable soap and detergent. Similarly, when washing cooking utensils don’t use detergent and don’t let oils and food scraps get into streams or lakes.
When a group of people get together and encourage each other, they can achieve their best, it’s that simple. – Clarrie Meredith, Kokoda Digger
Does your team need motivating? “When corporate groups arrive in the bush, most people are shocked and apprehensive. Particularly when they realise teenagers will be their guide through the tough terrain. But once we start walking, the spirits lift and a common goal is shared. With a few tough hills behind us you start to see the camaraderie showing through. It’s a wonderful reminder of what one person can achieve with a strong team behind them.” Doug Henderson – Chairman Kokoda Challenge Association
Day & overnight team building programmes are available for businesses. The price is only what it costs to run the session and a charitable donation (of your choice) to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. For more information visit www.kokodachallenge.com or call 07 5539 4141
benefits. “The Kokoda Challenge offers an extraordinary opportunity for corporate teams to accelerate their team dynamic whilst building fitness,” Christine McDougall, Corporate team building expert. Entering corporate teams in events such as the Kokoda Challenge can improve communication and co-operation within an organisation as well as enhancing the relationship of a business with the community, according to Southern Cross University academic Associate Professor Michelle Wallace. “These sorts of events can build bridges within an organisation – particularly when, as is the case at Southern Cross University, staff are scattered across a number of work sites,” said Professor Wallace. “The Kokoda Challenge is a particularly good event because staff have the opportunity to get involved either as support crew or as competitors, so it is not limited just to those who have a very high level of fitness. “It actually melds a diverse range of staff together in a very supportive way – and is also a great way for the organisation to express its corporate social responsibility.” Dr Christine McDougall is the managing director of Syzergy Pty, a company that specialises in working with corporate teams on their ability to work together in high pressure or adversarial situations. According to Christine, the Kokoda
Challenge offers an extraordinary opportunity for corporate teams to accelerate their team dynamic, whilst at the same time building fitness, and getting to enjoy the great Australian outdoor environment. “The event starts at the point of commitment to participation,” says Christine. “As training progresses, team members get to know each other in a completely different environment, and under a different set of stresses. “The event itself will test all temperaments and will ask each participant to get past the petty aggravations and rise to the level of a team.” Christine expects that at some point, it will become about the other members of the team. Or, in the most powerful experiences, it will become about the whole team, and no one individual. At this point, the Kokoda Spirit will be felt by all.
It’s no wonder that one quarter of Kokoda Challenge Competitors fly the flag for their business. 47
Miami High School teams at challenge start line.
challenging aussie teenagers There are two awesome events for high school students to take part in the Kokoda Challenge. Both are tough, both will require team work and are a tribute to Kokoda Veterans.
The Distance: 96km The vibe: Students and teachers come together to create a team of five, their goal is to complete one of Australia’s toughest endurance events. This is when all the hard work and training will pay off, and lifelong friendships are formed. the Date 16th – 17th July
The Distance: 48km The vibe: 66 years have passed since the end of World War II, but the spirit of yesteryear is alive with the new generation. The Last Post echoes over the crowd of hushed teenagers. “Trekkers Go” is shouted by Jim Stillman and is followed by enthusiastic cheers from parents teachers and friends. the Date 16th – 17th July
When you’re a teacher competing in the event with your school team, motivation is not just about what keeps you going, but what keeps your four students going past breaking point. David Thomson teaches business at Cavendish Road High School in Brisbane and in 2010, he was responsible for co-ordinating the largest ever school group in the history of the event. 76 students and 17 teachers participated in both the Stan Bisset Cup (96 km) and the Jim Stillman Cup (48km). In a break from traditional school sports where teachers are restricted to barracking from the sidelines, the two day event requires teachers to join as a member of the five person team to complete the Challenge. “During the event, students are both physically and emotionally fatigued. As their leader you need to develop new strategies to motivate them to keep going. Every kid is different and what you say at the beginning of 96km is different to what you say towards the end,” David Thomson said. “For me, these skills have definitely been transferred into the classroom. I have become better connected to the needs and emotions of my students, particularly during stressful times such as senior exams.” Dr Roseanne Coutts, who is an Exercise Physiologist and Sports Psychologist from Southern Cross University, says that events like this have a positive impact on communication and motivation in students.
“The notion of the teacher being a role model and leading by example is a powerful motivator and impacts on what students are learning about their own capabilities,” says Dr Coutts. “In addition, the communication skills developed whilst interacting together during this adventure, fosters mutual encouragement and two way dialogues between staff and students. “This helps to break down communication impasses, with a flow on effect in the learning environment once back in the school setting.” Mr Thomson has been a part of the event for three years now and says Cavendish Road has identified that while students benefit from the leadership, goal setting and teamwork aspects of the trek, teachers have also improved their own motivational techniques and the event works to create a real bond within the teaching faculty. “Purely from a teacher’s perspective, it is very worthwhile to have teachers from different faculties because it becomes a staff team building exercise. Staff need to do as much training as the kids and physically, it’s a hard challenge to conquer.” “And when you’re on the track, teachers don’t have an option to drop out. Your pride is on the line and you really don’t want to let the students down. When you eliminate that choice, it’s a matter of just getting down to the task at hand and being there for the kids.”
Woodridge High School
was a soldier in the 39th Militia and he is now 89 years old.
the school team that were the 2010 Jim Stillman Cup winners.
96km The distance of the actual Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea
20hrs 41mins The record for the Stan Bisset Cup, set by St Andrews College in 2009
The University is the Education Partner of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program, and assists with physical training, teamwork exercises and community service activities designed to help ‘Kokoda Kids’ aged 16-18 years develop the self confidence, teamwork and leadership skills they need to realise their full potential. Bronte Morton and Rayce Bukarica participated in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program last year and are now studying a Bachelor of Nursing and a Bachelor of Visual Arts respectively, while Carissa Staff, who completed the program in 2007, has completed the SCU academic skills course Preparing for Success and has now commenced a Bachelor of Visual Arts. “I never thought I would be going to university - I got half way through year 12 and I didn’t know what to do because I was interested in studying art but I didn’t have the right grades,” said Gold Coast-based Carissa. “Through the Youth Program I met Southern Cross University staff who gave me advice and told me about the Preparing for Success course that could help me gain entry to the course I wanted to do. “The combination of Preparing for Success and being a Kokoda kid has been powerful – Preparing for Success has given me the confidence to deal with university level assignments and know what is expected of me, while the Youth Program has given me the courage to overcome obstacles and achieve my goals.” Bronte Morton from Burleigh said she had originally planned to take a year off after completing school, but changed her mind after completing the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. “I heard about SCU through the program, and by the end I was inspired to go on and do something positive and worthwhile so I decided to get stuck into university straight away,” said Bronte. “After experiencing Papua New Guinea as a Kokoda kid I realised I wanted to travel and work in under-developed countries to help make a difference, so that’s where I would like to put my nursing skills into practice once I graduate.” Independent youth researcher, Tanya Scott found that teenagers who have taken part in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program experience benefits such as increased confidence, physical fitness, improved academic results and new-found friends.
Three former ‘Kokoda kids’ are celebrating completing their first year at university after swapping their hiking boots for thinking caps and beginning study at Southern Cross University in 2010.
“I was amazed that more than 95 per cent of the young people I interviewed said that the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program was a turning point in their lives, helping them to put changes into practice on a daily basis at home, school and in their places of employment,” said Ms Scott.
I have been a youth worker on the Gold Coast in a variety of services over a 10-year period, and this is the first time I have experienced this kind of success from a youth program. “I believe that this is largely due to the culture of the program which promotes a sense of belonging.”
the gruelling terrain of the 96km Kokoda Challenge
This puts you in the same position as 17 year old Miami High School student Zac Clarkson, who became the first vision impaired person to the complete the Kokoda Challenge in 2010. Totally blind, Zac’s vision started to deteriorate at about age 6 and he lost all sight by age 8. He has an inherited disorder known as X-Linked Retinoschisis but this has not stopped him achieving sporting success. An avid cycler, Zac decided to compete in the 2010 Kokoda Challenge after hearing the stories from other Miami High students who had competed in the event over the past three years. “I would say it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever completed in my life. It’s not like anything I’ve done before. But what I really liked was being a part of a team,” Zac said. Zac’s team, aptly named Miami Sacrifice included fellow students Coreu Ruha, Madeline Twyford, Chris Harmel and their teacher Adam DeCotta. They relied heavily on each other to complete the tough course.
“Staying awake was the hardest thing during the Challenge. I just had to keep pushing myself to make it to the next check point.” - Adam De Cotta “I have gained a lot of confidence from the event and I’m now really looking forward to being a part of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program in 2011.” - Chris Harmel “I did the Village program this year in PNG and found it really interesting. I really want to complete the Kokoda track in PNG.” - Madeline Twyford Zac has been invited to participate in the 2011 Kokoda Challenge Youth Program and will be travelling to PNG to complete the Kokoda Track in September 2011. His advice for other people with a disability who are considering to enter the Kokoda Challenge?
‘Go for it’
BOOSTIES TALK ABOUT THE KOKODA CHALLENGE Simone Wolski
Boost National Operations Administrator
“The days are mild and the nights are freezing, but it’s worth it to be able to assist your walkers. Seeing them at their best and helping them through their worst, watching them push through the pain and exhaustion, seeing them on the verge of quitting but then rising above to keep going. Their tenacity was inspiring. The sense of pride you feel as they hit each checkpoint and the bonds you form with them will never be forgotten. There was no better feeling than seeing them cross the finish line, hand in hand, tired and sore but exhilarated.”
“Experiencing first-hand what the program and its volunteers do was inspirational. Their passion and enthusiasm has a profound individual affect on each and every Kokoda kid.” “I’m looking forward to the 2011 Kokoda Challenge and will take all of our learnings from 2010 into this year. Seeing a new batch of Boosties cross the finish line and doing all that I can to help while raising money for such a worthwhile cause is something I am very proud to be a part of.”
Boost Victorian Company Retail Manager
“Friendships that were forged during training were pushed to the limit, we watched members of our group get to the point of wanting to give up and helped them push through injuries and pain that meant they could barely walk to make it to the finish line.” “Seeing the Kokoda Kids out on the track really put in perspective what we had trained and fundraised so hard for. Reaching the finish line was a truly empowering experience that showed me first hand how the Kokoda Youth Program changes the lives of young people.”
Supporting the Kokoda Challenge Association The Boost Foundation is a very proud sponsor of the Kokoda Challenge Association. 10 cents from every bottle of Mount Franklin water and every Boost Power Pack (which can be added to any drink sale at Boost Juice Bars for just $1) will be donated to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
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Memories Framed If you have the guts to do the Kokoda Challenge, we’ll help you remember it. Choose from two professionally presented frames, with a detailed overview of the challenge track, with room for your own photos and dog tags.
Percentage of each frame sold goes to Kokoda Challenge Youth Program!
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stepping it up. So you know your team is capable of completing the Kokoda Challenge,
and your goal is now to finish the tough course within a time limit. Whether youâ€™re aiming for under 30, 25, 20 or 15 hours, a well planned training schedule and team approach will be the lynchpin for success.
THE SECRET BEHIND NIKE HAMMER’S
Success When former Olympic marathon runner Nickey Carroll was diagnosed with advanced auto immune disease ten years ago, she was forced to withdraw from professional running competitions. “10 years ago, I was diagnosed with advanced auto immune disease, which for more than 20 years caused advanced aphasia (memory loss), severe central and peripheral nervous problems and up to 90% paralysis in my left leg for almost nine years of that time.” Nickey managed this debilitating condition with sheer mental determination and persistence, returning to compete in the Kokoda Challenge in 2007. “I know I don’t have same physical capacity as others but my mental attitude has made the difference. If you can’t go into an event positively and thinking of your team mates you limit your chances of getting to the finish line.” Nickey is the only female member of Team Nike Hammer who are the current Kokoda Challenge record holders. Nickey explains that to complete the tough ultra-marathon course in the impressive time of 11 hours and 40 minutes is a testament to the mateship shared with fellow team members Nickey’s partner, Don Wallace and friends Peter Hall and Scott Whimpey. As a group they are focused on mentally preparing themselves.
“I have completed the challenge four times now and I can tell you, there are plenty of times during the event when you wish you could pull out. But you make the commitment to yourself and to your team members that you won’t do that.” The team, who were pipped at the post the previous year after a member had to withdraw in the late stages of the challenge – were this year determined to take not only the winner’s trophy but the event record regardless of the discomfort they would need to endure. “We all know it’s going to get tough out there on the track. It gets even tougher when you are trying to break a record because you don’t have the luxury of ‘pacing yourself’,” Nickey said. Nickey describes her hardest point during the 2010 Kokoda Challenge was reaching the 35 km mark and continuously vomiting due to the incorrect mixture in her sports drink. “In the moment, you just have to put things into perspective. Being crook is just a hiccup in the bigger picture. You just get up and keep going.” “It really is one hell of an adventure. I don’t look forward to physical pain but the high you get when you finish something like that is unbelievable.” “I feel like people who have suffered from auto immune disease are better placed to do the challenge because one of the most important things you learn with advanced auto immune disease is that attitude determines altitude. A positive attitude is crucial and having that belief serves anyone well in Kokoda.”
with Scott Whimpey, Nike Hammer
“Kokoda is an ideal opportunity for people to learn how to take the negatives and turn them into positives and if I can motivate just one other person to learn that, then one of my goals is accomplished.” Nike Hammer’s reputation as incredible athletes supersedes the human side to the team where, as individuals, they are each battling physical setbacks as well as personal demons. Scott Whimpey, another member of Team Nike Hammer describes the Kokoda Challenge as ‘a unique event’. Over six years ago, Scott crushed his foot in a mountain bike accident and was told he would have trouble walking let alone running again. His foot is now frozen with two three-inch screws holding it together. Scott, not unlike Nickey, has slowly built strength back up in the leg and although he still feels a bit of pain during events like the Kokoda Challenge, he is grateful that he is physically able to compete. “In the running world, a lot of events are solo, but this is a team event. It brings home the meaning of mateship because without the support of each other we wouldn’t have been able to complete the challenge, let alone do it in record time,” Scott said. “There’s really no other event in Australia where you can run together as a team. We race against each other quite a bit in other events so it’s nice to be able to do something that draws on each other’s strengths and allows us to compete together.”
What is your preparation for an event like this? All year round we keep fit but because we usually compete on a road surface for other events, we do need to prepare on the Kokoda Challenge track in the three months leading up to the event. We would do the entire track around four or five times beforehand. Usually a stage a week so that we know where the hills are and we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses during different parts of the track. How many kilometres a week would you run during training? Generally speaking, 130 km- 150 km a week most year round. What keeps you going during the event? As individuals, we all have our own motivation. I would say without a doubt the big motivation amongst our team is the respect we have for each other. We have mutual respect for each other’s individual achievements and we don’t want to let our team members down. What is your recovery time after an event like this? Everyone has different individual recovery times. For me, I have a minimum of three weeks rest following the Challenge. Of course, rehydrating straight after events is important – lots of water, carbs and a little beer! Looking after your body is important so making sure blisters and chafing is looked after first up is important. Will you be back again next year? I definitely want to compete again next year. It would be nice to take some more time off the record!
Scott’s top tips for Challenge preparation and training: Get out training and do a good amount of km each time as base work. Once you’ve done the base work – get on the actual track and work on doing a better time. Get to know the other members in your team and what their expectations are. This includes making sure you have a clear discussion on the race plan. Have a Nutrition plan. We work out nutrition based on check points. We calculate how many grams for body weight needed to sustain us. We also train with the nutrition plan. Make sure your support crew is well briefed. When we do the challenge, we will stop at check points for no more than 2 or 3 mins so our support crew needs to have everything organised and ready to go when we arrive. Have a plan B, C and D! All plans can go pear shaped on the day. Be flexible with eating and drinking and have a second pair of shoes ready to go. If you would like to learn more about team Nike Hammer’s secrets to a personal best run, join Scott Whimpey for specially tailored training courses. The Courses are designed for all levels of competitor from 12 hr teams to 39 hr teams. The courses will cover every aspect of the event including; Planning for the event, Nutrition, Hydration, Gear, First aid tips and Team tactics. For more information visit www.firstaidae.com.au/other_courses.ews or contact Scott Whimpey on 07 5520 5068.
gunning for Written by Anton Guinea
On Friday afternoon, the team and the Support Crew grouped at the Gold Coast and collected our gear, and collected our thoughts. After a dash to the shops for all things that you need to get through an ultra endurance event, we agreed that our goal would be a 20 hour finish time, and that is what we aimed for the whole race. We had calculated that if we travelled at 6km per hour (16 hours of time on our feet), we still had up to four hours at checkpoints to regroup as required, and we would get home in 20 hours, without much trouble. As Saturday morning came around, and the 7am start time approached, we did the regulatory toilet stops, the last minute preparations and we grouped behind the 20 hour finish time placard. We all listened, saluted and got caught up in the moment, as the Last Post was played. At 7.20am, we were away and running. And, we felt great. Team IntelliTrain was pumped and were running strong. We ran up some of the smaller inclines in those early stages, though most inclines were walked up, while the down hills were nearly sprints in some cases. How much fun were we having. There are 12 Checkpoints along the course of the run, though only five of them are available to meet our Support Crew. At the first Major Checkpoint (12.8k), we were on fire – just over one and a half hours had expired and we were doing 6km per hour. With another two Minor Checkpoints down we arrived at the next major stop Checkpoint 5 (36.4k). We were travelling strong, and on track for a sub 20 hour finish. It was during leading up to that Checkpoint that the challenges started appearing. Mark was blistering, Andrew was chafing and I was cramping. No show stoppers, but all required attention. Dan was just a power of strength, his 26 year old legs kept pushing. Just prior to Checkpoint 7, we hit the half way point - we did the first 48k in 8.5 hours. All little problems had been treated, and we were looking forward to the 51.4k Checkpoint and a rest. Our outstanding crew, as they did the entire event, looked after us admirably, and we were fed noodles and sandwiches and anything else we needed - we enjoyed the rest that much that we were at Major Checkpoint 7 for nearly 50 minutes (probably too long). Off we went again, and little did we know that the Gold Coast was about to get nasty, and we were about to run into about 30k of solid hills, both ascents and descents. It was a tough stage of the event.
We ran strongly into Checkpoint 10 and 13.25 hours had expired. We could still register a 20 hour finish time, if we pushed, so we ran and walked on, depending on the terrain. We really pushed hard for the next 13k (there were some suburban roads running out of checkpoint 10, and we used those to run hard and fast). We were still pushing hard when we pulled into the last Major Checkpoint we had over 4 hours to cover the last 15k. How easy was this going to be. Then, it started to go bad for team IntelliTrain! At Checkpoint 12, for some reason, we thought a feed of McDonalds sounded like a good idea, and we all tucked into a Big Mac and a hot chocolate – now, I never eat that sort of food anyway, and it was a food decision that I now regret. That stuff just sat in my stomach, trying to digest – what the hell do they put in it – and as we came up over potentially the toughest climb of the race, at 86k, Andrew had vomited it all up and I would have loved to do the same. With 10k to go, we had 2 hours and 10 minutes in which to travel if we were to reach our goal time. We were in trouble though, with my illness and Andrew’s cramps (that really hit him hard at that 86k point) looked like being potential show stoppers. As we tried to move on, Mark and Dan supported Andrew’s weight until we could get him some trekking sticks on which to put his weight. That helped, but in short, his legs were spent. Mentally strong, physically done in. For all of us to finish this event together was now our goal. We all had to get home, and the finish time of 20 hours was soon forgotten. We were shattered to see all teams that we have been passing now going past us. This was now a battle of wills, and we were going to cover that last 10k, even if we had to carry someone over the line. We walked across the finish line in 21.32. We were ecstatic. What a day and what a performance.
OVERALL, What a great event, what a great team, what a great crew, and what a great finish time (although slower than we wanted). It was all in the aid of charity, heaps of money was raised and the diggers were remembered. We were living the dream. A good day all round. What is next, I wonder... Anyway, keep running, and keep living the dream.
honour the The Kokoda Challenge Association aims to raise awareness of the story of the Kokoda campaign – the heroic defence of Australia against imminent invasion – and use the spirit borne there with our young soldiers for the benefit teenagers today.
The Spirit of Kokoda – mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice was forged by the Australian troops from the 39th and 42nd Militia on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea during WWII. The Japanese had entered the war the year before after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The mighty Japanese army had then taken seven countries before advancing to the final frontier of Papua where if taken would have lead to an imminent invasion of Australia. At the time, Papua New Guinea was part of Australia, with all the A.I.F. trained Australian troops fighting in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Australia sent civilian forces who were nicknamed ‘chocolate soldiers’ in to defend the Japanese advance. They were called chocolate soldiers, because when the heat was on, just like chocolate it was thought they would melt in the sun…
Veteran 39th Battalion B Company
cec’s story Cec was 20 years old when he joined the army. Unlike other men his age, he didn’t get in the army call ups. He was the eldest son in the family and with no father, his Mother refused to sign the form that would allow him to go.
ec remembers that everybody was getting called up at the time and like a lot of men his age, he was keen to make a contribution. Not one to take no for an answer, Cec went and visited the Captain in Mildura, located in country Victoria and said he had been waiting for months to join up. Explaining his situation, the Captain said he could volunteer for 20 year old enlistments and he wouldn’t need his mother’s signed consent. So that’s exactly what Cec did. Cec was in the army for five short weeks undertaking elementary training when they called for volunteers to join the 39th Battalion. He jumped at the chance to join his friends and travel to Papua. In October 1941, Cec travelled from the army camp to Sydney arriving Boxing Day. He then went by boat to Papua in January 1942 as a part of B Company, 39 Battalion. When Cec arrived in Papua, he was taken with its beauty. He loved being in the army and describes the conditions over there at the time as ‘not too bad’. After arriving, the unit had to walk out to 7 mile drome where they camped on the side of hill for a week waiting for their gear to arrive. In the meantime, Cec got dysentery. When the gear arrived, B Company in 39th moved to Boothless Bay where they dug weapon pits and put up barbed wire. The unit still had no military training when they were sent over the Owen Stanley Range, where the infamous Kokoda Track terrain takes its terrible toll. Cec remembered the only thing he knew at that stage was how
Above: Cec Driscoll with Kokoda Challenge Association General Manager, Joh Elson
to shoot Lewis guns and rifles. The history of the 39th Battalion during World War II was a short one. It only existed during the Second World War as a unit for 20 months but its story is one of the proudest in Australian military history. Initially, the 39th was used for garrison duties and working parties. However, the untried, and largely untrained, 39th Bn found itself in Port Moresby in the front line of Australia’s defence, just weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and a devastating series of reverses in the Pacific and Asian theatres of the war. In June, 1942, the unit was ordered
to proceed up the Kokoda Trail to block any possible Japanese overland advance. Sent to the Owen Stanleys, this small force was faced by a Japanese invasion force estimated at 1500 men, reinforced by another 3000 landed at Gona on 13 August. B Company was the first company to come over the ranges. Cec remembers it was pretty tough on native track but beautiful. He recalls ‘moss a foot thick you were bouncing off’. When it comes to the Kokoda Spirit, he says it can be summed up by one man – Bert Kienzle.
Clockwise from above: Cec with fellow veteran Clarrie Meredith; Cec at the start of the Jim Stillman Cup High School competition in 2010; and Cec at 2010 Kokoda Challenge Gold Coast finish line.
Bert Kienzle started as a Warrant Officer before becoming Captain and he was the man responsible for food supplies, ammunition supplies and ensuring equipment that was needed got to men in time. He lived in Papua and knew the terrain well. After the fierce fighting along the coast of Gona, the 39th had suffered heavily. When the battalion was flown to Moresby on 25 January, it mustered a mere handful of soldiers – 7 officers and 25 men. Amazingly, Cec only sustained few bruises but no injuries during battle. On his return to Australia, Cec
volunteered to join the 2/2nd Infantry Battalion and went back to New Guinea where the 2/2nd’s last campaign of the war was to drive the Japanese from the Aitape-Wewak region between December 1944 and August 1945. Cec remembers coming back from New Guinea on an English air craft carrier before going to Melbourne for Christmas in 1945. In January, 1946, Cec was discharged from the army. He went on to successfully apply for a soldier settlement property in Robinvale, New South Wales. This is where he lived with his wife managing the property, which produced fresh and dried
fruit, until he retired in 1979. It was then that he moved to Brisbane to get away from the cold and now lives on the Gold Coast. Thank you to the Australian War Memorial for article content relating to the activities of the 39th Battalion. To read more about the 39th Battalion visit their site http://www.39battalion.org/
Cec returned to Papua New Guinea for the first time in 2010 – his story continues on page 64
first return to kokoda. Cec Driscoll, one of the first Australian soldiers to set foot on the infamous Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, has broken a lifelong vow never to return to the once bloodycv battle site. On the 26th September, 2010, 90 year old Cec made the emotional pilgrimage back to Papua New Guinea, along with fellow Kokoda veteran, Clarrie Meredith, to greet the squad of 44 Kokoda Challenge Youth Program participants as they completed the nine day trek. Mr Driscoll has spent the past half century closely following any news items about Kokoda but he has never wanted to return, until now. “I left Papua New Guinea 68 years ago after serving in the war, I have heard a lot about Kokoda since then and until now I have never wanted to go back there – I had enough then,” said Mr Driscoll. “I’ve decided to return to show my support for the youth program participants walking the track.” When asked about his return to Kokoda, Cec said there were some sad times.
Cec & Clarrie at the laying of a memorial plaque in Gorari, PNG.
In honour of the men and women who have sacrificed at war. Lest we forget.
“You sit down and think of the men you don’t see any more. But there were also some fantastic memories. I remember when I arrived in Kokoda all those years ago – as young men, we were all so excited and I know I was quite taken with what a beautiful place it was.” Whilst in Kokoda, both Cec and Clarrie greeted the kids in Kokoda Village at the finish point of the 96km track. “Seeing the kids arrive at the end of the track was a highlight. I was very impressed with their spirit. You could see they were stonkered but they could still raise a laugh and a giggle. You could see they were a real team – they must have helped each other in order to make it the whole way,” Cec said. “You can see the Kokoda Spirit on the faces of the kids. They had achieved it – they had got through the track. It is really a credit to their leaders and to the Kokoda Challenge Association.” Veteran Clarrie Meredith said he was “totally impressed” with the young people taking on the challenge of the walk but also the way in which they completed the track. “Some had tears in their eyes but they were grateful to have each other – mateship was well and truly alive.” “I think the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program should be in every city across Australia. You can see it does so much for the kids when they return,” Cec said.
“This experience will give them courage in life to make a decision and go for it.” When asked about whether the Kokoda spirit was alive and well, Clarrie stated that the “Spirit is there”. “When I asked kids what they thought about helping one another, they said it was the most important part of the track and that without each other, it would have been much more difficult to make it to the end.” “The kids would have taken away that they look to other people for help and assistance and appreciate that you develop a spirit between people that can carry you through life. Learning to work in a group, not just an individual is key.” “I can see that the future is in good hands and that like we did all those years ago, when a group of young people got together and encouraged each other, they can achieve their best,” Clarrie said. Whilst in Kokoda Cec and Clarrie were joined by fellow Veteran Alan ‘Kanga’ Moore and the president of the 39th Association, Alan Jamison. Together the men greeted the Kids in Kokoda Village at the finish point of the 96km track. The Kokoda Challenge Asssociation is very honoured to have the support of The 39th Australian Infantry Battalion based in Victoria and Kokoda Veterans from Queensland and NSW. Thank you to Currumbin and Nerang R.S.L. clubs.
inspired by the spirit:
the of the kokoda association. When you experience the Kokoda Challenge and see the transformation of the Kokoda kids participating in the Youth Program, you know you have been a part of something special. The Association, now in its sixth year, is transforming the lives of young people each year.
educate younger people about Kokoda’s place in Australia’s history, with the need to help young people at a crossroads in their life.
Tracing back to its beginnings, the story behind the Association’s conception is equally amazing. At the heart of this special not-for-profit organisation are its founders - Doug and Anna Henderson.
A Vietnam Veteran himself with a wealth of business experience behind him, Doug used his retirement to turn his attention to helping young kids in his community.
When newlyweds Doug and Anna put together a youth program to help local kids six years ago, little did they know the impact their community organisation would have on the lives of hundreds of kids, teachers and competitors who take part in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program and the Kokoda Challenge each year. With a Youth Program that has expanded from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, the Association keeps going from strength to strength. It was Doug’s brainchild to combine his overwhelming desire to promote the Kokoda spirit and
“Back in 2004, I’d turn on the television and there were lots of stories about kids going off the rails and at the same time I was having thoughts about, ‘how do I get the Kokoda message through?’ Doug said. “I did believe and still do believe that there are kids who fall through the cracks. In the back of my mind were thoughts of Kokoda and these ordinary Australian men who displayed amazing traits under tough conditions.”
“It became pretty obvious to me at the time that I could use the Kokoda story to say to kids – these men were able to stand up under difficult circumstances and win the day – so can you! This is where the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program was born.” “With Anna’s support and unwavering dedication to my idea, we set about putting together the Youth Program. During that first year, it was really just the two of us leading twelve young kids through the year long Program.” “We didn’t have a clue about a lot of things, but we learnt quickly! We were just a couple of people who used our own experiences to give back to the community.”
We say to Leaders, ‘the greatest thing you bring to this program is the mistakes you have made.’ They can pass on the lessons they have learnt in life.”
“With support from Nerang and Currumbin RSLs. We got 12 kids over to PNG in our first year and we pretty much did whatever was needed and paid whatever needed to be paid in order to get the kids doing the Kokoda track.” “Of course, we had to fund the Youth Program from other sources. I was aware of the Oxfam event and thought that an endurance event would be a very fitting way to raise funds for the Kokoda Youth Program. Hence the 96km Kokoda Challenge through the Gold Coast Hinterland.” “You know it was tough in the beginning – just the two of us in the first year, by the third year the administration office was out of our bedroom. Now, the Association operates out of its own building and has five staff who coordinate a Youth Program which now accommodates 68 kids per year.” “Like many community organisations, our volunteers and Leaders play a big role in its success.” “All Youth Program Leaders volunteer their time to train with the kids each week. We say to Leaders, ‘the greatest thing you bring to the program is the mistakes you have made.’ This Association is about instilling life skills in our young people and Leaders play a crucial role. They can pass on the lessons they have learnt in life.” “Sometimes it is tough love for the kids but of the 172 kids who have been through program, our completion rate is 95%.”
“The Program is really about taking kids from both ends of the spectrum – kids that are clearly at a crossroads and those that are achieving but still have issues to deal with. Taking kids from different walks of life has allowed them to both be put out of their comforts zone and learn from each other.” “Another lesson Leaders teach the kids is ‘you get out of life what you put in to it’. That applies in all areas of life – business, home, relationships. One thing that will profoundly affect your life is realising that there are consequences to your actions. In that respect, good choices make for good outcomes.” “Although we may have a bigger Youth Program now and we have different methods of achieving our goals, the spirit of the Kokoda Challenge Association hasn’t changed.” “I guess you look at yourself when you get to your 50s and you take stock. I know I did. You ask yourself what have you done and what have you achieved. I’m very fortunate to be in a position to give something back and it’s very humbling.” With the achievements of the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program on display each year, there is little doubt that Doug and Anna look back and know they have made a difference in so many people’s lives.
Challenge Youth Did you The Kokoda ogram is funded entirely know... pr by the Kokoda Challenge and sponsorship.
Projects Kokoda Village is in a valley surrounded by spectacular mountains that are home to the famous Kokoda Track. The community consists of a school, hospital, two shops, the Kokoda Airstrip and surrounding other small villages. Each year a group of teenagers from the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program stay in Kokoda Village and experience the traditional lifestyle of the Papuan’s. During this time they assist with building projects on Kokoda Primary School, painting of buildings and the annual school sports day. The Kokoda Challenge Association commits 2% of their annual fundraising to supporting the local community and descendants of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels - the relatives of the men who helped the Australian Troops in the region during WWII. Kokoda Challenge Treasurer, Gary Scott, co-ordinates the development projects for the village. “One of the major focuses for the association is making improvements to Kokoda Primary School. This year the Kokoda Challenge Association continued to work on the school roof as well as developing infrastructure and providing resources for a vocational training school,” said Gary. The vocational training school which is adjacent to Kokoda Primary School will be training young people with basic trade skills. Gary explained that with limited funds available the training centre was in desperate need of tools.
“This year we purchased tools such as hammers, saws, tape measures and building supplies from Port Moresby and transported them into the village to be used by students training in trades such as carpentry and mechanics.” Despite Kokoda Village hosting a large number of tourists each year only a small percentage of revenue is received by the local village. “Each year more than $17 million is spent with trekking companies and in the past, only a very small percentage was passed on to local villages.” “Fortunately an improvement in administration by the Kokoda Track authorities has lead to more funds being injected back into the local communities. But there is still a long way to go.” Gary explains that one of the most important parts of the projects is to identify what the local residents need the most. “We spend a lot of time speaking to the local community to identify the best allocation of resources,” says Gary. “Next year we will be improving the water supplies for two villages and supporting the introduction of subsistence poultry farming.”
Track or Trail, what you call it doesn’t really matter. What you do know is when you trek those 96kms it’s hard,
And that’s with good boots, plenty of food, shelter, first aid kits, guides and with no enemy hell bent on killing you as you negotiate the intimidating Owen Stanley Ranges.
Kokoda Spirit will help you from your initial inquiry to that last step when you realise, with a mixture of elation, exhaustion and pride that you have just walked the legendary Kokoda Track.
What you will also understand as you cross those jungle hills is there is something spiritual about walking the Track, a sense of history, a humbling sense of walking in the footsteps of heroes, and always a sense of disbelief that this was the fighting arena for our Diggers, many of whom never returned to their loved ones and their homeland.
Kokoda Spirit prides themselves on their excellent reputation from years of leading treks, their focus on safety, knowledge of history of the Kokoda Campaign, support of, and appreciation of the local people. Their exceptional staff, guides, trek masters, porters and cooks all have the combined experience to lead you across the track with confidence.
Kokoda Spirit understands that each person who undertakes this journey has different reasons for doing so. They share your commitment and your respect for those who sacrificed so much during the Kokoda Campaign.
Kokoda Spirit has the experience, passion and commitment to make your trek an unforgettable quest that will remain with you forever.
Australian & Local Led Treks. Safety a priority. Expert knowledge of track & history. Excellent Value. Nutritional Food.
Supports trekkers from start to finish.
(07) 5445 2758 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kokoda Track
Wayne Wetherall, Director of Kokoda Spirit Trekking
There is no doubt that the Kokoda never ending ragged ridges and peaks. On one section of the track we cross the same river 24 times Challenge on the Gold Coast is tough, walking through water up over our knees. We traverse I know, I participated this year and another 16 rivers on our journey across the track consisting finished, very tired and with very sore of an assortment of log bridges held together by local vines feet. The Kokoda Challenge course, constructed by the locals and rebuilt after every flood. while not as physically and mentally The track varies from back breaking climbs through challenging as “the real Kokoda Track”, never ending mud to difficult and slippery descents does provide some real challenges. over tree roots narrow ridges and swamp plains. Walking through the night, the biting Kokoda is a living, breathing, pulsating and cold, fatigue and the hardness of the evolving track, in a deep and primal jungle. ground created great difficulty for my feet. Our team completed the Kokoda On the Kokoda Track there is no easy way to quit, no Challenge in just over 24 hours; my easy way off the track, the sheer mental struggle when you realise your sense of isolation. The track is primitive, fastest time across the Kokoda Track no roads, with only basic communication systems, no in PNG in my 36 crossings is 35 hours. electricity, no sit down or modern toilets, no access to The Kokoda Challenge is hard. However… The Kokoda Track in PNG provides a much harsher and challenging environment, with huge variations in weather conditions and track conditions. Temperatures can range from 6 degrees through to 36 degrees with humidity hovering around the high 90% region. On the Kokoda track we cover the 96 km with over 6000m of climbs and 6000m of descents as we twist and turn and grind up the seemingly
medical aid. Once you commence your trek you are committed, and the only way out is by walking or helicopter. While trekking Kokoda is tough it is also one of the most rewarding adventures and challenges that you will ever experience. You are walking through one of the most spectacular and untouched environments in the world. The beautiful scenery, the incredible native villages and the incredible history of the track will leave you in awe, walking in the footsteps of heroes is a life changing experience.
The Kokoda challenge Julie Watson, Gold Coast Youth Leader
provide sharp jarring rocks to further enhance the fall. And The Kokoda Challenge presents a totally when you’re down, looking for support, often all you find different physical and mental challenge is a groaning team mate (and that’s if they notice your fall to the Kokoda Track. The painful blisters, through their own delirium!). Compare this to walking the swollen and bruised feet, tight calves track in Papua New Guinea, where the groups porters are and quads are all physical symptoms of like a warm teddy bear – they catch your falls, cook your the hard and dry terrain and the sharp food and keep your spirits high. contrast between the heat of the day and the The Kokoda Track is a journey you share with your fellow penetrating cold at night. During the Kokoda walkers as you walk in the “footsteps of heroes” which Challenge you walk for 20 to 30+ hours non makes it easier. stop, continuously – it is relentless!! People have asked me before,“which is tougher?” and after walking both, I’m happy to state “the Kokoda challenge”. Yes – on the Kokoda Track you do walk for up to ten hours a day, but the spiritual and historical significance provides a welcome diversion from the physical pain. Your thoughts are unfamiliar and not like anything you experience in everyday life. The types of things you ponder are, “how lucky we are in Australia”, “the distance between me and my family and friends and the realisation that screams “imagine what this would have been like in 1942 for our diggers”. So armed with the memory of the rows and rows of headstones at Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby, comes the strength for the next hill that you didn’t know you had –inspiration is a potent fuel to keep you moving. The Kokoda Challenge is notorious for injuries particularly on the downhill, the dry crumbly track does nothing but
Yet your team mates and support crew in the Kokoda Challenge cannot possibly understand the mental energy required to keep going, particularly as it becomes obvious that you may be out there for much longer than your scheduled time. Try as they may during the Kokoda Challenge your support crew lack the connection to the exhaustion you are experiencing.
And in case I haven’t given you reason enough as to why the Kokoda Challenge is tougher, let me say this… The Kokoda Challenge gives you the option to quit. It presents the prospect of a warm bed - fourteen times throughout the weekend. And people take the option, hundreds of them, even your own team mates leave huddled up in the back of a car with a blanket around them sights firmly set on a shower and sleep. On the Kokoda Track, you don’t give up. How could you? That’s what makes it easier.
Perth to Madura
! Donâ€™t keep it to yourself
Q LD SA 96km.
Adelaide CBD to Murray Bridge
Spencer St Station Melbourne to Barwon Heads
great a w o n K spot in g n i n i a tr a? your are and tricks with Share your training tips llenge forum cha fellow trekkers on the .com/ ge len hal at: kokodac at -ch ge llen cha
Brisbane to Burleigh Heads
Bondi Beach Sydney to Wollongong
Canberra CBD to Cooma
What made you travel up to Qld for this event? A work colleague suggested the event as a challenge I should undertake so I set about organising a team and eventually we ended up with a Family Team after original invitees withdrew
You walked as a family team. Do you think walking as a family made it easier or more difficult? It was an enjoyable experience as a family, however one family member entered quite late and did not have as much training as other members. What changes would you make to your preparation? We wouldnâ€™t worry as much about being prepared enough to complete the Challenge. We were only two months out from the start date before we had completed a 50km walk, so a change would include undertaking longer walks earlier in our training. It gives
Why do the Kokoda Challenge? We did it as not only a team building exercise but also for an individual personal challenge. What were your goals during the Challenge? Just to finish. What was your best moment on the track? Reaching the State Forest and knowing that we were only a couple of hours from the finish line. What was your worst moment on the track? Hitting the pain barrier coming down towards Polly’s Kitchen. We were in so much pain but we all know we had to get up and keep going. What advice would you give to people doing the challenge in 2011? Be prepared and take advice from people who have done it before. Do the training and get the kilometres under foot before you take it on.
Was this your first time doing the Kokoda Challenge? For all members of the team it was our first attempt.
Did you draw on the Spirit of Kokoda to complete the event? The event is so physically demanding and participating with three other mates, there is little option not to draw on mateship and sacrifice. What was your most memorable moment from the track? There are so many moments, some with tears and some with joy. For us, it was an epic journey crammed into 30 hours. Best advice you were given as a team before the event? There was plenty of advice given on all aspects, food, clothing, pace – all advice should be taken on board! You cannot get enough advice for this challenge.
ly Live in love Victoria? We’ve got good news greater confidence that you will be able to complete the journey. What advice would you give to other teams who can’t train on the track before the day? Do plenty of walks that include a similar profile to the Challenge
ining There are lots of great tra Ranges, areas. The Dandenong glake The Grampians and Kin well you e National Park will hav . nge alle Ch prepared for the
The highlight of the event was..? The overall experience was the highlight. We were blown away by the organisation, we fully appreciated our wonderful Support Crew and the great encouragement they gave us and crossing the finish line in the midst of the closing ceremony was an unforgettable moment. Life’s trials and tribulations seem now to be so trivial after having completed the 96km Kokoda Challenge.
Why do the Kokoda Challenge? It’s a great challenge physically and mentally and the feeling at the end is just fantastic. It’s also a great bonding experience! To accomplish something like this with a group of friends is a once in a life time experience and one that produces plenty of stories over dinner for years to come from the participants and the support crew. How does the Kokoda Challenge compare to other events you have competed in? I loved the environment. It’s a great time of year to go walking in the Gold Coast Hinterland and some of the views are amazing. It was really well organised and all the people we spoke to along the way were really friendly. It’s for a great cause too so you not only have a sense of personal achievement but it’s also nice to know that you are contributing in a small way to helping others. What was your preparation like for the event? Walking, walking and more walking. Given that the trail is mainly up and down hills (and mountains) the training has to prepare you for that. Being in Canberra, Mount Tennant and beyond – in the Namadgi National Park – was our regular training area. But basically wherever we could find a hill we walked there. The longest training walk was about 48km
Hardest Moment of the Kokoda Challenge? Getting through to sunrise was the hardest part. You feel the energy is a bit low in the early hours of the morning but it’s amazing what a difference the sun makes! Would the team do it again? We’re certainly thinking about it. Some of us are keener than others but we would recommend that you do it even if you only do it once. We all had a great time!
category? 96 KILOMETRES IN 39 HOURS
Stan Bisset School team Award
Being first to the line is a task best left to elite ultra runners...
However your team (or your support crew) might qualify for one of our other award categories or a fundraising incentive. Most of the winners are announced at the annual Presentation Picnic held in August. Here are our 2010 winners... The Kokoda Challenge Awards The Spirit of Kokoda: Team Sacrifice (Team SB18) Highest Fundraiser: Gordon Green Machine (Team 294) 1st Business Team: NAB Financial Planning (Team 77) 1st Women’s Team: The Novices and Jude (Team 33) 1st Men’s Team: Team GRC (Team 170) 1st Mixed Team: EE Mixed Team (Team 163) 1st Family Team: JB’s (Team 201) 1st Over 50’s Team: Mixed Nuts (Team 81)
Stan Bisset School team Award 1st Stan Bisset Team: Hogan’s Heroes – Elanora High School (Team SB2)
1st Jim Stillman Team: Woodridge State High School (Team JS16)
Boost Kokoda Challenge Melbourne Awards Highest fundraiser: 3HAAR (Team BKC414) 1st two person team: Lonsec Plodders (Team 237) 1st three person team: Fenix Fabulous (Team 320) 1st four person team: Team Round Bar (Team 422)
Kokoda Challenge Brisbane Awards Awards and bragging rights that are up for grabs in the brand NEW 2011 Kokoda Challenge Brisbane will be: Highest fundraiser, 1st two person team, 1st three person team and 1st four person team.
Fundraising rewards... Other than the obvious! Raise $3,000+: Each team member receives a commemorative Kokoda Challenge keyring Raise $5,000+: Each team member receives a Kokoda Cap Raise $10,000+: Each team member will receive an exclusive Kokoda Challenge polo shirt (different to participants shirts) Raise $2,500+: Each team member will receive a Certificate of Appreciation stating the total amount raised by their team.
nning Be in the ru 1! for 201 r Make sure you register you on ry team in the correct catego ore bef The Challenge website 30th May 2011!
get out there!
support your team. 96 KILOMETRES IN 39 HOURS
Being in a support crew is not only an important role but a rewarding one. Helping someone you care about at their lowest points and celebrating their success is an experience not to be missed. And a great support crew can make the difference between a team withdrawing or completing the Kokoda Challenge. Support crews provide teams with all the essentials they need to make it to the finish including food, water, supplies, encouragement and much needed emotional support. Support crews normally consist of between two to eight friends or family (one car only) and rally behind their teams at five major checkpoints (two for Jim Stillman Cup) on the Kokoda Challenge course. The energy and sense of community generated by Support Crews at the Major Checkpoints helps to spur teams on and support crews will meet new friends along the way. If you pack your patience along with these essentials you will be sure to have a great time!
support crew essentials. Aside from the carboot-full load of goodies and necessities we’ve listed here for your team, don’t forget that signs, messages, mascots and plenty of positive enthusiasm (and the occasional hug) are an absolute must in any effective support crew.
Support crew need to carry at least 20 litres of water for each team member.
Great to rehydrate your trekkers and to replace lost electrolytes.
Nothing better than a hot meal after a full day’s walking – it needs to be something to give them energy to sustain through the night. Carbs and protein are your team’s best friend!
Do not underestimate the relief a hot chocolate or coffee brings to a cold and tired trekker.
Great snack with natural sugars which are easy to digest.
You’ll need to see at the night time checkpoints and useful when walking around Checkpoint grounds.
Spare Shoes Often a change of shoes is all trekkers need to ward off blisters and give aching legs a break.
8 Camp Chairs
Vital to give aching trekkers legs a much needed rest at checkpoints (and let’s be honest – something for hard-working support team members to rest in while waiting!)
At checkpoints, teammates will need to dry off wet feet and bodies. Essential to carry with you, especially if rain is predicted!
Changing socks at major checkpoints help trekkers keep their feet dry and blister-free.
It gets very cold in the Gold Coast Hinterland at night and trekkers waste energy trying to regulate body temperature.
Ensure you have the sizes for the teams head torches and any torches of your own.
Garbage Bags & Toilet Paper
Teams must be self-sufficient with regard to removal of litter and supply of toilet paper.
Don’t put the mockers on your team by forgetting these! The last thing you want is being unprepared for one of your trekkers busting their shoe open.
Both salty and sweet snacks are good to provide to trekkers in take away packs so they can eat between checkpoints.
First Aid Kit
Don’t leave the house without a First Aid Kit! Make sure you have it packed up with plenty of blister and foot care products.
the of jasper. Written by Dani and Corey – Spirit of Jasper Support Crew Members
Our team set off on ‘the challenge’ in very high spirits about 7.30am Saturday morning. With only 12km since they had left us (their support crew) they were looking good. All it took was a quick sandwich and some Gatorade and they were off again... The next section however presented the first major hill on the course which our team had aptly named the “massive hill of hatred”. When they arrived at checkpoint 5 (Polly’s Kitchen) just after 5pm, they had started to lose their spirits a little. We soon realised we would have to start tending to sore knees, blisters and a hip injury. After only a half hour rest, the team painfully moved on… The next 13km of the walk unfortunately claimed one of our team members Jess. Poor Jess could not walk anymore due to a hip injury and unfortunately had to pull out. Despite this, the three remaining members of Spirit of Jasper were determined and continued on. It was minus 4 degrees when they reached the halfway mark and saw us again. We heated up a quick meal for the team, changed their shoes and socks, fixed some bung knees and sent them out on their way. We knew the most soul destroying section was now upon them. It was going to be 20km before they could see us again and to make it worse, the track narrowed to single file.
Emotions were running high and spirits were a little crushed at 6am Sunday morning, when the Spirit of Jasper trudged up to Syd Duncan Park. After lots (and lots) of band aids, a change of shoes and socks, a lot of Tylenol and some hot chocolate, they took off again – this is where we grew concerned. At the last major checkpoint, only 14km from the end, Trish was unable to bend her knee and Lyn was about ready to quit and cry from exhaustion. They were all feeling very sorry for themselves, which was very natural considering the circumstances but somehow they pushed through the pain and agreed that they wouldn’t quit. The determination put tears in our eyes as we said goodbye to them for the final time and told them we would see them when it was all over. As we waited at the finish line there was no sign of the team and we started to get concerned. It was 5.15pm, almost 34 hours since we started this journey when Simon came running down the track – our first thought was that something had gone wrong and they needed an ambo. But in fact it was good news, Simon’s sister was in labour and he had somehow mustered the energy to run the last 5km to rush to the hospital to see her! Trish and Lyn finally got there at 5.45pm; they were walking in a weird fashion, unable to bend their knees, both were crying from pain, exhaustion and sheer happiness that it was all over. I can only imagine what the team went through. They certainly are stronger people than I am, and even now when I look at them, I can see they are changed. To do another 14km when you honestly can’t walk and every fibre in your being is telling you to quit – changes the way you look at things. Spirit of Jasper – it was an honour to be your support crew.
Support Crew tips
From Kellie Gluyas, 2008 and 2010 Kokoda Challenge Support crew member
1 Visit the website and read the Support Crew information, download the checklist, maps and instructions 2 Stay on top of parking, mapping and vehicle restrictions – have a small team with some friends stepping in for a relief shift when needed
3 Make sure the team you are supporting give you their vehicle pass and register your mobile number for support crew updates 4 Meet with your team before the event so you know what to expect. Make sure they pack all the items they will need for you to bring along
5 Try to pack lightly – you may have to walk to some of the Checkpoints where parking is limited 6 Support Crews spend a lot of time waiting. Be patient, bring a book and enjoy the scenery
7 Follow instructions and always respect the officials – remember they are volunteers too! 8 Setting up at night in the cold is never fun. Don’t let it get to you!
9 Look after the environment, bring garbage bags and take everything out you bring in.
During the Kokoda Campaign hundreds of lives were lost, but without the help of the native carriers of Papua New Guinea the loss would have been much greater. The PNG natives carried the wounded out of battle zones. When carrying the wounded, the Papua New Guinea locals created stretchers out of branches and blankets and in a party of eight, four at a time, created a human chain. Despite harrowing conditions there is no known case of any wounded Australian solider being abandoned. They were fondly named the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels carried loads (of over 40kg) containing ammunitions, food and other supplies to the troops and their important bush skills and local knowledge were of great benefit. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels themselves were greatly affected by the war. Many villages were destroyed, food crops and animals were raided and they could no longer occupy their huts, having to relocate their village further out in the wilderness.
10 Always smile and stay positive when your team needs you the most.
Remember the Spirit of Kokoda
– mateship, endurance, courage & sacrifice
As proud design partner of The Kokoda Challenge
We’ll donate 5%* of your invoice To the Kokoda Challenge
Youth Program in 2011
corporate identity • brand positioning • brochures, flyers & catalogues • annual reports magazines • event branding • advertising • FMCG packaging & point of sale • print management
p. 07 5535 7207 e. email@example.com www.whitewithone.com.au
HONOUR THE KOKODA SPIRIT
honour the kokoda spirit. INAUGURAL
Kokoda Challenge brisbane. 30 kilometres. 29th May 2011.
The vibe The track undulates through the green scenery in the west of Brisbane Forest Park. Starting at Brookfield showgrounds you and your team will make your way up to the half way checkpoint at McAfee’s Lookout before returning to showgrounds via the tropical terrain of D’Aguilar National Park that is reminiscent of the Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea. The event The 30k distance paired with wide open fire trails makes this the perfect event for beginners or runners having a hit out. Teams of two, three and four will find the course is not without toils, as you descend down down to a creek bed that met by a sharp turn onto a narrow trail aptly named ‘hell hole’ - ensuring that you don’t forget the meaning of endurance before arriving at the finish line. registrations open 7th March cost $70 per person
How does it work?
For the 2011 Kokoda Challenge, Live message board This is where participants and supporters can post the innovative Virtual Spectator messages while the event is in progress. Participants can tracking system is back! Once again share their experience as it happens. And family and friends can encourage teams to “keep on going”. not only will we be tracking teams’ progress with real time mapping, Live stream cameras you will be able to view live stream Smile when you see a camera, they will be positioned at the start, finish and at various checkpoints along the videos at the start, halfway, finish course. Roaming cameras will be en-route with some of our line and on the track! celebrity participants and the Kokoda Kids. Virtual spectator – tracks teams’ progress using satellite And because we know those who mapping, pre-empting teams’ positions and arrival at the are participating are keen to get checkpoints. This gadget will also provide you with post race messages out to their supporters split times from checkpoint to checkpoint after the race. (and vice versa) we have added a How do I go live? live message board – think twitter The 96km course covers remote areas during the event, so mobile reception with most carriers is very fragmented. meets Australia’s toughest This is why we love Telstra, and recommend that at least endurance event – yep it’s going one team member and support crew member carry a to go off like a cracker. mobile phone with Telstra NextG coverage to receive critical event updates and in-case of emergency (and now for live messages, when you have the energy). Logging on – all you need to do is visit kmltracks.com/ kokoda2011 during the Kokoda Challenge and follow the simple instructions. Until then don’t miss the banter on our Challenge Chat forum www.kokodachallenge.com/challenge-chat
volunteers! “Helping other people, really makes volunteering worth it. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the Kokoda Challenge community.” - Joseph Gibb, Volunteer
Throughout the year more than 300 people give up their time to volunteer for the Kokoda Challenge Association. Without their hard work and dedication the charity couldn’t exist. Volunteer roles are many and varied, but most of them take place during the Kokoda Challenge events. This year (like every year) volunteers of all ages, fitness levels and skills will make an important contribution to local youth. Volunteering is not only a rewarding role it’s also an opportunity to learn new skills and form friendships. To join the volunteer community contact Christie on 07 5539 4141 or email Christie@kokodachallenge.com
s ’ y l i m a f one
voluntary tale For more information about volunteering visit www.kokodachallenge.com/volunteers
Interested in becoming involved in the Kokoda Challenge Association as a volunteer? Fantastic! You may have a lot of questions, like “What can I get out of the process?” and “What kind of work would I be doing?”...
Well take a squiz at our quick with Mike Stevens, a member of the Stevens family, who won the volunteer of the year award in 2010. His insights will give you more information about volunteering for the Kokoda Challenge. Why did you decide to volunteer for the Kokoda Challenge Association? Our son went through the Youth Program as a Kokoda Kid and we helped out as support crew for the kids. Then every year following, the family has got involved and helped out the Association. Once you experience the work they are doing first hand, you can’t help but want to get involved and help out.
Tell me about your role during the 2010 Kokoda Challenge? I helped out looking after car parking at Mt Nimmel Lodge and Polly’s Kitchen. Also, my wife did first aid at the finish line and I also did massages for competitors after they had finished the Challenge.
What was the most rewarding part of your volunteering experience? Definitely knowing you are helping participants but for me, I got more out of seeing the team spirit during the Challenge. Seeing the kids and competitors come over that finish line and the outpouring of emotion – it is pretty moving stuff.
What didn’t you enjoy? I didn’t enjoy the abuse we got from some of the support crew when we were coordinating parking. Unfortunately, even though the parking arrangements are made very clear to support crew before the event, they believe they have the right to be there. Given the number of participants and support crew – you just can’t ignore the rules. Mt Nimmel Lodge is the problem because there isn’t much parking space. But, all you can do is keep your temper under control, continue with the job and do your best.
How did you feel about your contribution to the event? I enjoyed the experience – in fact I loved it! It is really a great weekend and I get so much out of it. I think I get more out of it then I actually put in. For us as a family, we all get involved – which adds to the experience.
What did you get out of the volunteer experience? Mateship, endurance, courage, sacrifice, seen in and by the participants. It’s a pleasure to help people and it’s a joy to watch people helping each other within the teams. The event really brings out the best in people.
Do you volunteer for other organisations etc? No. What would you say to others who are thinking about volunteering? Do it! It you are thinking about helping out – go for it and get involved. As I said earlier, you do get more out of it then you put in. The experience is something else and there are so many benefits for volunteers.
a leading role A leading role
Alex Rutledge, Brisbane Leader
There is no doubt that being a leader for the Youth Program is a huge commitment. We volunteer to take on the role which is not only about being there every week to train the kids, but also about putting your heart and soul into it. Brisbane Youth Program Leader – Alex Rutledge shares his experience Waking up to be there for early morning training is one thing, but being ‘switched on’, believing in the kids and wanting the best experience for them is something else. I know by doing that, the rewards come back to you as you watch the kids develop throughout the program and you can see your hard work paying off. One of the sayings we use a lot during training is ‘the more you put in, the more you get out of the experience’. This goes not only for the kids but also for the leaders as well. This is my third year being a Leader and what I love about the Youth Program is what it stands for – the core values we work to instil in the kids. Mateship, Endurance, Courage and Sacrifice. They may be ‘old-fashioned’ to some people but it worked for our diggers in Kokoda and it is still very relevant to our young people today. These values give them a leg up in society. Sure, sometimes Leaders get tired and sore – just like the kids. But what inspires me to keep going is the success stories of those kids who have gone through the previous year. You know that you’re working on something pretty special when you can see the outcome. It is a combination of subtle changes in the kids from the start of year to end of year. Knowing that you have played a big part in that is what inspires you to keep coming back and taking on the Leader role.
It can be a tough journey. I know personally, the toughest thing is having to watch a Kokoda Kid withdraw from the Kokoda Challenge who has given it their all but just can’t physically go on. After all the hard work they put in and the belief they had, when their body gives up – it’s just crushing. But what is great about the program is that it is a series of events from the training, mini Kokoda, to completing the Kokoda Challenge and then walking the actual Kokoda track in PNG. When you take the kids over to PNG, the spirit of Kokoda is so strong and it really compliments everything they have picked up during training and in the Kokoda Challenge. Walking the Kokoda Track, learning and actually seeing the sacrifice made by our brave diggers for the freedom we enjoy today in society is the supreme highlight for me as a Leader. Of course, you have different types of kids who come through the Program. Probably the most rewarding is when kids are very reserved and shy at the start of the Program and by the end you really see them come out of their shell. Some build so much confidence that they feel more positive in talking to people and even very confident about giving presentations on Kokoda to an audience. The transition is amazing and it makes you proud to see. At the end of the program, when a Kokoda Kid comes back to you and thanks you so much for what you did for them during the program, you know at this point you have made a difference. When they say ‘your influence was tremendous and it will help me get ahead in life,’ that is really what it is all about. The Kokoda Kids gain a tremendous amount of self belief that they can do anything they put their heart and mind into directly as a result of their achievements in the program. For some of them, the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program is the hardest thing they will do in life and if they can get through that, they can get through anything.
To see the youth program in action visit www.kokodachallenge.com/youth-program-experience
HELPING AUSSIE TEENAGERS
My name is Ben Tuckwell. I am seventeen years old and I was a 2010 Kokoda Kid.
When Dan visited my school at the start of 2009 he captured my full attention and created a compulsive desire to participate in this program, but when it came to collect the necessary forms my heart sank – how could I be chosen from so many. Nevertheless I applied, and before I knew it, I was in an interview with Joh and Dan struggling to find any confidence to speak properly. I left that day feeling there was no chance and yet I foolishly held onto hope. Finally I received a call telling me that I had been accepted, and all I could say was “Cool, thanks.” In the initial weeks of training I was waiting to encounter that one person I just wouldn’t get along with, but I soon came to realise that just wasn’t going to happen. So together we trained, struggling at first but helping each other through. Each Sunday morning I couldn’t wait until
training – knowing full well how much it took out of me – and as a result, frequently arrived too early for early starts. As the weeks progressed we learnt a great deal more about the Owen Stanley campaign than we ever would have; I know that for me it had never been a chore but something I looked forward to and made time for. Quite quickly the Kokoda Challenge was upon us; with spirits high, we were raring to go. Before long the injuries that plagued some of our team started to send them into pain, compounding on the exhaustion we all felt. Eventually we started to lose to team members; our efforts to help them endure were conquered, but it was not without pushing them far above their conceived limits. I remember being amazed at just how much pain one person was taking and still trying to continue on. At that point I realised that anything I would be up against would be incomparable to what they endured and so began to ignore just how tired I was or which muscles were hurting. With the finish line drawing nearer we soon took another participant into our group who was also suffering from an injured knee. Together we crossed into the final checkpoint bellowing out our song and signing in after 38 hours and 22minutes – we had endured almost the complete 39 hours. Though there are others who might think of our time as a disappointment I see no problem with it, I only wish that those that had to pull out could’ve finished with us. Thinking about how tired and sore we all were on the Challenge only goes to amaze me of the incredible feats of our Australian Diggers, who had to cope with the pains and exhaustion – that would have been much more extensive than ours – whilst also maintaining vigilance of their surroundings and carrying heavier packs and weapons. Now that we had completed the first half of our training and our first goal, The Kokoda Challenge event, it was time to look to our main goal – Papua New Guinea. Another couple months of pack training with weights between 1 and 2 thirds of what our soldier’s carried and we were to be off. Using our packs to train certainly increased just how difficult the sessions were but we all pushed through, knowing we needed it for the upcoming trip. After what seemed like a blink of the eye it was September and the nerves that had previously been quelled again started to bubble to the surface. It was time to find whether we would be walking the track or be a part of the village experience – which are both great opportunities but I had been set on wanting to walk the Kokoda Track. When I found out I was to be part of the group walking the track I was obviously relieved but it could not compare to the realisation that I actually would be walking the Kokoda Track – a weird feeling that went unparalleled until we landed in PNG. After farewelling the village crew and the Gold Coast group the day before, the combined Brisbane/Tweed trekking group landed in Papua New Guinea. Over the next 11 days we would experience an unforgettable journey. Eight days were spent walking the Kokoda Track, waking each morning to amazing scenic views, stumbling, tripping and falling as
we made our way to the next stop and enjoying the company of all those with us. We swam in creeks, played touch football against the porters and were even frightened as camouflaged porters jumped out as us; but the true reason for walking the track was never forgotten – in remembrance and respect for our soldiers. The area we played touch at in Menari was the specific point where Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Honner delivered his “Ragged Bloody Heroes” speech and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ final role call was held; the next day we were even lucky enough to meet Faeola – one of only three remaining Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. Being frightened by the porters made us realise just how difficult it was to see anyone who didn’t want to be seen. Along the track we paid our respects at sites including Ioribaiwa Ridge, Brigade Hill, Isurava and Kokoda, all of which confront you with the realisation of just what your life has cost. Ioribaiwa Ridge, the critical point where the Japanese Advance was never able to pass but could see the lights of Port Moresby, was a site where we first saw signs of the Japanese Advance. Brigade Hill was the area of a major battle where the Australian soldiers even had to witness the Lantern Parade before the assault on their position. Isurava now is home to a memorial, but it was once the place of another horrific battle, in which Bruce Kingsbury earned his Victoria Cross – the first person to have been awarded a VC on Australian soil. And Kokoda, the most recognised of all the sites, saw several battles over the all important, strategic airstrip. These are all areas where our soldiers gave their lives for us to live as we do today, the very least we can do is remember, and honour them. When we eventually made it to Kokoda we had little knowledge of the lifestyles of the local villages, only what we had learnt from the porters and the villages along the track. So over the next three days we spent time in Fala Village in Kokoda, helped out at the school as we could, and visited the memorial. We came to realise just how different our lives were. Across Papua New Guinea we saw the kindness of the people and the beauty of the country, yet the conditions they lived in would frighten most who have known only the lives we have here in Australia. Papua New Guinea is an amazing place and is intimately linked to Australia, it deserves to be protected, sustained and healthy. If it were not for this country and its people, our troops might not have been able to survive and save the country we call home. Returning to Australia, we all left a part of ourselves in PNG, but we had yet to finish our time in the Youth Program. Community service requirement may sound boring, but let me assure you it’s not. It is because of the community that we were able to reach our goals and to give back what we can comes naturally. It is not only in thanks but also slightly selfish, helping others is rewarding no matter how you look at it. Without the efforts of everyone involved: our leaders, friends and everyone behind the scenes; we could never have learnt, achieved and grown so much. This program has given me so much; I have gained friends, amazing memories and an immeasurable amount of confidence. I am forever in their debt.
Q&A with the Kokoda Challenge team Doug Henderson
Honorary Chairman & Founder of KCA
What is the best part of working with young people in the youth program? Seeing the absolute delight on their faces when they achieve something they never thought they could eg get into uni or secure that very first job. Name one thing people wouldn’t know about you? Anna and I met dancing, then later we taught dancing together. How do you relax? Going to the movies. I’ve recently seen Harry Potter. Anna and I like to go every week, it’s just a great way to get out and relax. What has the Kokoda Challenge taught you? Patience and tolerance. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I have learnt that some things take a little longer to achieve. How would you describe yourself in one sentence? I would say I’m competitive, with a soft centre – I just love the kids and believe the KCA can make a real difference in the lives of young people.
Honorary Treasurer of the KCA & KC Clerk of Course
What do you love about your role? The satisfaction of seeing young KK’s grow and mature and the journey they take along the way. Most inspiring lesson learnt this year? Even in the face of failure there is always a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel What advice would you give someone wanting to do the Gold Coast Challenge? Two words: Train. Hills. What is your favourite movie? Good Morning Vietnam. Why do people keep coming back to do the Kokoda Challenge? The best natural high that can last all year.
Honorary Vice Chairman of the KCA
What inspired you to become involved with Kokoda Challenge? Initially Lindsay Hicks, Gary Scott and I agreed to see if we could design a suitable track for the Kokoda Challenge on the Gold Coast. Having done that we decided to help to organise the running of it for a year or two while it got up and running OK. When I saw the effect it had not just on the Kokoda Kids but also on KC entrants and other areas of the community my wife and I have been pleased to continue our involvement. Explain your role? As Vice Chairman I am on the executive and get involved in the major decisions effecting the direction of the KC Association (but not the day to day running of it). For most years I have been responsible for coordinating Check Point Captains for the Kokoda Challenge. With the committee we were involved with Land owners, National Parks, Council, SES,State Gov and Police. As the event has grown other volunteers have taken over areas such as marking the track and distributing equipment such as road signs, generators etc. In 06 with Robyn Cox was co leader taking the KK’s along the Kokoda Track. In 09 I helped with Kokoda Primary School repairs. What is the worst part of your role? By the fourth year (in 08) the event had grown to the extent in the lead up to the Kokoda Challenge we found we were stretched a bit thin on the ground but with expert help coming on board things are now easier. What are you reading at the moment? A Clive Cussler novel called The Medusa (action hero stuff).What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in life? So many lessons, mainly learnt the hard way but I think being involved with many sports as a young man takes the pick. Over some years sport gradually helped me develop self belief, become a team player and helped to teach me how to deal efectively with the triumphs and disappointments of winning & losing.
Honorary Executive Foundation Member
Honorary Secretary of the KCA
What is your favorite Kokoda Challenge Memory? Seeing the head lights of hundreds of competitors walking thru the bush at night near Environmental Centre. Fairy Lights. What inspires you on a day to day basis? The Volunteer Comradeship within the Organisation. Best thing about being involved with the KCA? Knowing you are trying to make a positive difference in young peoples lives. Worst challenge day memory? So far they’re all great memories. What is one new skill you will learn in 2011? Learn how to use the two way radios more competently.
Best part of your role? Getting to know the natural environment of the Gold Coast Hinterland, and seeing lots of other people learn to appreciate it. Least favourite part of your role? Picking up rubbish left on the track after the Challenge Event. What is your favourite quote? “Optimism – a cheerful frame of mind that enables a tea kettle to sing, even though in hot water up to its nose.” – Anonymous. What is your favourite holiday destination? Anywhere in SouthEast Queensland or North-East NSW. Who or what inspires you in your everyday life? Nothing in particular - but a clear and bright sunny day helps.
Founding Member & KCA’s #1 Supporter!
What does it mean for you to be involved in the KCA? It’s all about feeling good and giving back. You always know that above all else, you are doing good. How do you and Doug like to relax? Even our relaxation is about Kokoda! I try and take Doug for walks around our neighbourhood and talk about every day things, things that make us happy, good memories. Do you have a favourite Kokoda Challenge memory from over the years? Doug taking me this year into the river at Kokoda to wash off. The water was so cold and running so fast, but he held my hands and gave me the confidence to go for a dip. I missed my showers! How would you say your experiences with the youth program have changed your life? It has made me open my eyes and realise just how many problems young people are facing in their lives these days, and how many teens are in trouble and need help. What is the worst thing about your role? Remembering everyone’s name! You meet a lot of people over the years.
Johllene Elson General Manager
Accounts Officer/ Personal & Events Assistant
What do you like about working for the KCA and what does your role entail? It always seems that my role entails EVERYTHING!!! But I love the variety, and working behind the scenes for the Challenge event, and assisting the KCA achieve its goals for the young people in the Youth Program! Favourite Kokoda Challenge Youth Program memory? Walking the Kokoda Challenge with GC1 Kokoda Kids, and seeing them push themselves physically and mentally to achieve their individual goals. Name one new and exciting thing you have done this year? Walked the Kokoda Track in PNG with the Kokoda Kids – a fantastic experience, but also a sobering one, when you realise the heroism of our Diggers who fought in the Kokoda Campaign under such conditions. What is your favourite quote and why? Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition - in having put forth the best within you. Favourite song of all time? Get What You Give by the New Radicals.
Marketing & Sponsorship Manager
What do you love about your job? Watching young people realise their potential – the look of hope and self-belief as they conquer tasks they never thought possible, it is incredibly rewarding. I also enjoy seeing this same look (crossed with a little look of relief) in the eyes of participants as they cross the finish line in the Kokoda Challenge. How has the KCA grown over the years? Honestly, where do I start? Well it is no longer operating from the Chairman’s spare bedroom or my study nook. If I really think about it – yes we’ve grown in that there are more participants, more events, more personnel and we are helping more young people. But the fundamentals haven’t changed – the KCA still has its foundation members on Executive, who are focused on helping young people and promoting the story (and in turn the spirit) of Kokoda. What is your favourite food? Everything! I eat too much cause I love everything equally. To name one – Thai! Where do you see the KCA in 10 years? A national charity operating programs and events in every state, with increased activities and events aimed at 6-12 years olds as well as teenagers. Kids seem to know so much more at a younger age these days – this includes the bad things. I think if we can teach basic Kokoda Spirit (self-belief, tolerance and perseverance) to young people in their formative years we might offset some the difficulties teenagers face in this face-paced, technological world. Where can you usually be found on a weekend? With my own young children at home or the beach, or racing around to some family gathering somewhere. When I get a spare chance (a couple of weekends a year), nothing is better than a couple of days on a boat with my partner, fishing and not doing much at all.
Best thing about the KCA team? The best thing about the KCA team is the mix of personalities. Whether it’s tall tales of hiking expeditions, practical jokes or desk side karaoke, there is never a dull moment in the KCA office. What is your fondest Kokoda finish line memory? There are so many great memories. I was fortunate to get to know the team members from Miami High School Sacrifice, including our first blind participant Zac Clarkson. After closely following their training and preparation, seeing them cross the finish line after 34 hours was phenomenal. Name one thing on your ‘to do’ list for 2011? Learn to speak Mandarin. What have learnt about yourself while working for KCA? I’ve learnt a lot about myself. For one knowing you can complete an arduous task like the Kokoda Challenge gives you the confidence to tackle anything. I have also learnt the importance of gratitude, the Kokoda Veterans and Youth Program participants really exemplify this quality. Complete this sentence “If I wasn’t working for KCA as Marketing/Sponsorship Manger, I would be...” Great question, I would still be working in Marketing or Public Relations but I wonder if the role would be as fulfilling? Working for a charity is really a privilege.
Q&A with the Kokoda Challenge team Sam Aldridge
Gold Coast Kokoda Kids Group Leader
What’s your role? Leader 2007, Leader and PNG Videographer 2008, Gold Coast Kokoda Kids Group Leader 2009. Favourite food? I love Indian food, Thai food, actually most food...except meat, I’m a vegetarian. Favourite book? Bill James’s Field Guide to the Kokoda Track, it is a fantastic resource, and has taught me so much. “Oh the places you’ll go” by Dr Suess is another favourite. Fondest Kokoda Challenge memory? Watching the Kokoda Kids cross the finish line each year brings tears to my eyes, in 2009 one of our guys smiled at me when he crossed the finish line, and you could see the pride in his face, and this gave me so much joy. Seeing young people achieve beyond their expectations of themselves, is nothing short of awesome. What inspired you to become involved with the Kokoda Challenge? The first year I saw a media article about the challenge in the local paper, and thought it would be a good opportunity to spend some time in the hinterland, and improve my fitness. During my training and competing the first year I was exposed to the goals and aspirations of the organisation, and the Youth Program and I was hooked! I saw something really special and wanted to be a part of it.
Linda Svenson KCYP Leader – Tweed
What is your favourite thing about being a youth leader? I love the interaction with teenagers - it keeps me young and fit (even though they think I’m old). Why did you initially become involved with the Challenge? My work at Southern Cross University first got me involved with looking after our sponsorship activities in 2007, subsequently took up the Challenge in 2009 which saw me finishing the last 25km with the Brisbane Kokoda Kids. They inspired me to volunteer as a leader this year. What is your personal mantra? Life is all about the people you meet along the way. Name one thing you have done this year that you are proud of? My proudest moment was seeing the Tweed Kokoda Kids cross the finish line of the Challenge and being a part of their achievement. What would you say to those contemplating being a youth leader next year? Go for it! You will find it so rewarding to share the program experience with our teenagers.
KCYP Leader – Brisbane
What is your favourite Kokoda Challenge memory? It’s a tie between finishing with the 2008 Kokoda Kids and getting all Brisbane Kokoda Kids across the line in 2010. What challenges have you faced in your role? Having to end a kid’s aspirations from finishing the challenge. What is your favourite food to eat after a big walk? Has to be the good old roast!! Why do you keep coming back as a Youth Leader? The success stories of past Kokoda Kids.What does your ideal weekend look like? It has to include waterskiing, a visit to Max Brenner, Siromet Wine Tour, a hammock and an intriguing book!!
Dan Crowell KCYP Youth Worker
Best part of your job? Watching the Kokoda Kids grow and develop over the course of the program. Best thing that’s happened in 2010? Definitely being a part of the village experience in PNG. What is your favourite quote? Only by contending with challenges that seems beyond your strength at the moment you can grow more surely toward the stars. One thing you’ve learnt this year? There’s always someone out there who is doing it tougher. What does 2011 hold for the KCA youth program? Impacting the lives of even more young Australians than ever before.
Founder of KML Tracks & creator of Virtual Spectator
What’s your role? Manager of KML tracks who provide the IT systems on the Kokoda Challenge. Best part of your role? The challenge of setting up what is a large and complex IT system within very tight and unmoveable deadlines. I love the buzz... Worst part of your role? Spending our time looking at computer screens, rather than actually doing the Kokoda Challenge. Favourite quote? “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer Favourite T.V program? “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Rules of Engagement”. What inspired you to become involved with the Kokoda Challenge? The opportunity to be a part of something that is very worthwhile to the lives of so many young people and in my own little way, to give something back to the community.
Thank you to all those who have contributed to the magazine, in particular Jacqui Walker from White With One Design for doing a great job with the graphic design, Talena Benedet for contributing to the stories and Whirl Wind printers.
Michael Franchi Steven O’kieff
Doug Henderson Anna Henderson Johllene Elson Nicole Arrowsmith Julie Watson Christy Turner Dan Crowell Joseph Gibb Alex Rutledge Joel Harris The Four Duds Georgia Hansson Pam Long Gordon Green Machine Team SAI Scott Whimpey Zac Clarkson Adam DeCotta David Thomson Nickey Carroll Anton Guinea Clarrie Meredith Cec Driscoll Gary Scott Team Lafarge Team DEGA Team Run Like Crazy Team Canberra Trackers Team The Cullen Group Dani and Corey, Spirit of Jasper Chris Osborne Kim North Zuleika Henderson Gary Scott Christine McDoughall Tanya Scott Ben Tuckwell
With thanks to all of our sponsors
Dedicated to Kokoda Veterans
Boost Juice Southern Cross University Relationships Australia Kokoda Spirit Telstra Anaconda Gold Coast City Council Gold Coast Bushwalkers Club Currumbin RSL KML Tracks Spring Waterman First Aid Emergency Management Queensland Bunnings Warehouse Vision PT Australian Clothing Company Gordon Menzies Accounting Tiger Moth Flights
Stan Bisset Jim Stillman Clarrie Meredith Cec Driscoll Leo Gumley Louis ‘Bluey’ Smith The 39th Association The 2/14th Battalion The 53rd Militia The 39th Militia
Lest we forget... Thank you to all the men and women whose sacrifices have allowed us the life we live to today
GORDON MENDES ACCOUNTING & BUSINESS SERVICES
T C E PERF ! D N E BL
ars Boost Juice B allenge Ch & the Kokoda Youth Program
Since the partnership commenced in 2009, Boost Juice Bars has assisted the KCYP to help make a difference to young lives through the inspirational Kokoda Challenge. Having supported the event over the years and also hosting the first ever Melbourne Boost Kokoda Challenge in October 2010, Boost has enjoyed every moment of the relationship so far and is looking very forward to our continued commitment in being the major sponsor of the KCYP. This is a tremendous Australian story around shaping the lives of our future leaders and every participant, volunteer and supporter is helping create history.
Scott Meneilly - General Manager Boost Juice Bars
Our Magazine for everyone interested in the Kokoda Challenge and the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.