THOUSANDS of local, interstate and international competitors will converge on the Gold Coast on Friday for Australia’s premier endurance event, the Kokoda Challenge.
Teams of four will take on the gruelling 96km course, (the length of the actual Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea) with a 39 hour time limit chosen in honour of the 39Th Militia, the first troops to set foot on terrain that would claim 600 Australian lives and leave 1680 wounded.
The event has earned a reputation for extreme highs and lows, a physical test and a fierce mental battle that will see some besieged challengers find their feet and many loose their way.
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Celebrating their tenth year, the event will run at absolute capacity with the school challenges also selling out in record time. Vietnam Vet and Kokoda Challenge Foundation Founder, Doug Henderson says the growth and participation of the event is inspiring.
“We have over 550 teams coming from WA, Victoria, NSW, Northern Territory and New Zealand, in addition to our Brisbane and Gold Coast teams and over 200 school teams taking part in the 96km Stan Bissett Cup and the 48km Jim Stillman Cup,” Mr Henderson said.
The events fund the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program (KCYP), a 14-month experiential learning journey for young Australian kids at the crossroads. 33 kids currently taking part in the Queensland cohort will compete next weekend before heading to Papua New Guinea to take on the Kokoda Track in September.
“From victims of severe bullying through to kids suffering from psychological disorders or childhood trauma, this program is re-writing their future through the legacy of our diggers and the spirit of ‘Mateship, Sacrifice, Courage and Endurance.’”
“This challenge is a fitting tribute to those brave warriors who stood firm on the Kokoda Track in one of the most significant battles fought by Australians in World War II. Next weekend we will witness ordinary Australians achieving extraordinary things as we remember the past to better the future.”
Featured image courtesy of www.horizonsapts.com.au.