Sunday, 25 August 2013

Twice the distance, twice the chafing: Oxfam

Not me this time.  50km is enough for me.

This time, it was Mike, and a band of merry mates, the Little Creatures.

Oxfam Trailwalker is 100km of hard slog, a walk that takes participants from Brooklyn (way up the F3) to Mosman.  It's divided into 7 sections (8 checkpoints).  You raise money for people living in poverty and then you walk it.  Some absolutely bonkers amazing people ran it.

The first three sections are very very rugged.  Lots of steep up and down hill sections which sap energy and hurt joints.

If you feel sorry for him you could always give Oxfam some money, which will make it all worthwhile!

Mike's team were walkers (definitely not runners).  I asked him where he found it the most tough and he said the hardest parts were the daylight hours, because they were the first three steepest sections and the last 20km. He said the night walking was easier than he thought because the track was even (ish) and they weren't completely knackered (yet).

What he didn't tell me was that he suffered terrible leg pain while walking, had his blisters professionally lanced, and had been treated by a physio.  He had to take panadol and nurofen just to make it through. I found this out after they'd finished, from his team mates.  To hear him talk to me, he'd just suffered a few aches and pains.

Although by the sounds of things, the medical and practical assistance available at the checkpoints was amazing.  Oxfam Trailwalker is a mean logistical enterprise.

Extra special mention goes to our mate P, an original team member of the Little Creatures (their team name) who retired gracefully after a knee blow out and immediately transformed himself into the worlds best support crew.

He brought them soup, sandwiches, porridge.  He even gave them folding chairs.  A marquee?

At the finish.  Their feet are mush.  
When we met him at the end, my main worry was not to let the kids jump on him too much because he might have fallen over.  The finish line itself was very zen, with chill out music playing and the space between the teams was easily a few minutes so you had plenty of time to take your photos and get out of the way.  

Just don't step on his toes.  

The team tracker function allowed interested parties to follow their progress through each checkpoint, which let to much pointless refreshing of screens.  It took them about 3-4 hours to travel between checkpoints so mostly I just refreshed something that didn't change.  I even woke in the night to refresh the screen.  And I slept within arms reach of three devices.  Just in case.

On Saturday morning I took the kids to meet them at Seaforth Oval 8km from the end.  They were tired but quietly determined.  We saw about five other teams, some walking very gingerly.  Eight more km of chafing would have been very challenging.  8 more km of blistering feet would have tested the mental strength of many.  

They're just amazing.  
After 25 hours and 24 minutes they crossed the line.  We cheered and clapped and were enormously proud. We're still proud. They've raised nearly $8k for Oxfam and crossed off another bucket list entry.  And now, 36 hours after finishing, they are still a bit stiff and sore but (in Mike's case) perfectly capable of spending 5 hours at the soccer gala day.  

PS. I got to divide my Sunday between a band festival and the gala day.  Senior Band received GOLD for their performance and Issy scored three goals.  Clever little tackers.  

PPS.  Gala day was an amazing experience with each team playing 4 games, rides, slides and a canteen selling mainly sugar.  The kids had a fabulous day, first fleecing Mike of all his funds and then descending on my wallet as soon as I arrived.  They took shameless advantage of that fact that Mike and I didn't have a chance to communicate about what we'd allowed them to consume, so they got double of everything.  
 Monday, as usual will provide a rest from the weekend madness.