ILC staff trek 100km for Oxfam

Eight Feet Under Team members Simone Robinson Helen Trewenack. Heike Mullee, Madeleine Ogilvie standing side by side with arms around each otherOxfam is determined to change the world by mobilising the power of people against poverty. Well they have certainly done that here at the Independent Living Centre WA (ILC) with two of our staff members Simone Robinson and Nikki Farrell joining teams Eight Feet Under and Hot to Trot for the Oxfam 100km trail walk.

Oxfam Trailwalker began in 1981 as a military training exercise for the elite Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment in Hong Kong. It has since grown into one of the world’s leading team endurance challenges and from Nikki’s story below the event was certainly a challenge though very rewarding.

The ILC sponsored the Eight Feet Under team proud of the desire of both of our staff members for undertaking such a feat.

Fundraising has given Oxfam over $1million this year to go towards their great work. You can help them reach their target of $1.5million by donating up until 31st October here.

Nikki Farrell’s insight into the 100km walk

Hot to Trot team members standing togetherIt seems a distant memory now, as the blisters heal and the muscles repair themselves, but 10 days ago, myself and three team mates embarked on an unforgettable experience, the Oxfam 100km trail walk.

We put in as much training as we could, pounding the pavements, hiking the hills and crawling those kerbs in the run up to the event and we felt as prepared as we could be at the start line. We were a few minutes late due to some podiatry issues but at 7.03am we were on our way! Initial nerves soon disappeared as we took those first few steps, soaking up the atmosphere of the beautiful morning that surrounded us.

The first 8.9km was a breeze and we arrived at our first checkpoint, greeted by our wonderful support crew who were waiting anxiously. After a quick pit stop, we were off again to hit the next leg of 18.3km through John Forest National Park.

On we continued, through the checkpoints, and before we knew it we were half way, arriving at Chidlow, by now it was dark and the head torches were in action. Many teams decided to camp here and get a good nights sleep, we had other ideas! We plodded on through the wee hours, trying hard to keep our spirits up and our feet moving, we chatted to other teams, meeting the oldest competitor, a 77-year-old man who was a real inspiration.

Hot to Trot team member getting her feet checked By the next checkpoint the cracks were starting to show, the blisters were taking over, the tears flowed and our support crew were greeted with four struggling women! With some wise words of encouragement we set off again, a little slower than before, we carried on and somehow arrived at checkpoint Six, having now covered a distance of 73.2km. It was 4.35am and sleep seemed a great idea, but there was no time for that. A change of support crew, an egg or two, a patch up in the podiatry tent and off we trotted. One team member declared she had had enough, she was pulling out. However, a team pep talk and a pat on the back and the foursome were back together, ready to take on the last three legs.

The hours passed and the tears dried and we were on the home stretch! Only 12.1km to go! We were pumped, we were ready, or so I thought. A call from another team warned us to brace ourselves for the last section as it was tough, and tough it was! There were injuries all round, from dodgy ankles, to limp knees, to many blisters that stabbed with every step, but we would not be beaten now! We saw hill after hill and were desperate for the finish line and soon enough it was in our sights, our pace started to quicken as we heard the music.

Hot to Trot team members Linda Maguire, Aliesha Hayes, Nikki Farrell, Sandra Maguire. standing together at the finishing lineWe joined hands and held them high, along with our heads, spotting our family and friends waiting for us as we crossed the finish line at 5.11pm on Saturday; 34 hours and 8 minutes after we had set out. After lots of hugs and tears we finally got to sit down, enjoy some champagne and journey home for that long awaited sleep. Would I do it again…… probably not!

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