After having completed Sydney Trailwalker last year and being keen to take on a similar challenge a little further afield, my friend Ben and I decided to make the hike to Melbourne last month to be part of a greater journey. We were keen to travel interstate to experience the epicness that is Melbourne Trailwalker, while fundraising to assist impoverished communities. The Trailwalker event, which involves teams of 4 walking 100km in under 48hrs, is an amazing challenge - mental as much as physical. That said, hundreds of people of all ages and fitness levels decide to take it up, with many back year after year.
Despite a definite lack of training, preparation and sleep before last year’s event, our team managed to finish Sydney Trailwalker together, surprisingly unscathed. I thought the second time around we’d surely be more organised. I was wrong. With two team members having to withdraw only a couple of weeks before the event, it was a mad scramble to assemble a complete team for the day. Thankfully we found some Melbourne-based guys happy to step in and we really bonded as a group early in the event, until both had to retire due to health issues.
Although the Melbourne trail was markedly easier than Sydney’s undulating bush route, it proved to be a difficult journey, making crossing the finish line such a euphoric moment. Ben had been so close to withdrawing at the 55km mark, yet had managed to overcome his physical discomfort and fatigue to push on. For him, each checkpoint was another small victory towards a seemingly impossible goal, and in finishing together my own sense of achievement was amplified by his. Although my blisters are still healing almost a month later, the feeling of triumph that accompanied those last few hundred metres will take a lot longer to fade from memory.
Up for a challenge? Know how to walk …and reckon you’d survive 100km on your feet? Team registrations for Sydney Trailwalker 2012 close on 1st June, so you’d better be quick! And if you're not much of a walker but would love to be involved, the volunteers always have a highly entertaining time.
If you are keen to take on the challenge, here’s 3 Things to consider:
1) Always have a reserve team member – it’ll save you a major headache if one of your team mates has to pull out last-minute
2) Support crews are AMAZING and absolutely essential. Having someone to meet you at each checkpoint definitely helps with motivation and the encouragement, creature comforts and fairy bread they provide might be just what you need to get you through
3) Although many teams try to challenge themselves to complete the 100km in record time, you’ll probably find you get more enjoyment if you do take a few hours to sleep. For me, starting out again somewhat refreshed through the eerie 4:30am mist under a full moon was a definite highlight of my Sydney Trailwalker experience.