The Future is Equal

Edgecumbe woman takes on Oxfam’s 100km trailwalker for the third time

Kate Casey Oxfam Trailwalker
Kate Casey, centre-right, with fellow walkers at the finish line of Oxfam Trailwalker in 2018. Photo: Photos4Sale/Oxfam


Edgecumbe local Kate Casey (and third time Oxfam Trailwalker participant) lost her home and most of her possessions when a breach in the Rangitāiki river stop bank unleashed a wall of water on the small community. To keep her spirits up, Casey decided to take on the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker in 2018 after completing the 50km with her sister before the flood. “We went through a lot, and putting my all into training helped me immensely. It helped me to stay positive on down days when I didn’t really want to go for a walk, but then I would and I’d feel better.”

This year Casey will be doing the 100km for the third time, with her current team Quads of Fury, who are all based in Whakatāne. Completing the 100k trail is no small feat, but the same will and perseverance that got Casey through the devastation from the flood helps keep her going when training gets hard. “I keep walking even when I’m sore, because I’m too determined not to finish. I don’t like to give up.” The Quads of Fury ladies have a unique way to motivate each other to keep going while on the track. “One funny thing our team does is that we sing a version of 99 bottles, but instead it is how many kilometres we have walked.”

Oxfam Trailwalker is being held in the Bay of Plenty region for the fifth and final time – for now. It features 100 kilometres of trail through Whakatāne, Ōhope and Edgecumbe on a track that sees participants walking along coastal tracks, sandy beaches, farmland and native bush. Seeing the 2017 event kick off in Edgecumbe meant a lot to Casey after everything the community has been through. “It was really neat seeing a lot of the locals around the Whakatāne walkways cheering us on. That was awesome. Last year the event started one street over from where my house was in Edgecumbe. We had a laugh that I could have rolled out of bed late and still made it!”

Despite the obstacles she has faced on and off the track, Casey has been able to successfully complete the track each year, proving hard work truly pays off. “This experience has been amazing, it’s shown me that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. Despite everything going on, I did it, and my kids saw me do it.”

Oxfam Trailwalker has now become a family event for the Caseys. This year, Kate’s sister will be doing the 50km event with her mum, niece and eldest son in their own team. “Everyone in my family has had their high points and low points, and Trailwalker has helped us to support each other through tough times.”

Late last year, Kate and her family embarked on a year-long trip around the South Island. “With everything that happened, we made a big decision to give up work, sell up, and buy a caravan. We just needed a change to help us heal after everything we’ve been through. But we’ll be back in March for the walk.” Quads of Fury plan to stay connected despite the distance until they are reunited in March for the big event.“We had tears when I said goodbye the other day. We’re planning on video-chatting while we train, so that we’re still walking together.”

Casey firmly believes that anyone can participate in Oxfam Trailwalker, and highly recommends the event to anyone looking to give it a go. “It is the experience of a lifetime. I’ve been able to do something to help myself. I have built life-long friendships, we’ve done something together that is so memorable and will never forget, but also you are helping a great cause. It’s a win-win. If you think you can’t do it, just try.”

Entries for Oxfam Trailwalker close on 31 January, 2020. The event is being held on 21-22 March, 2020 – in the scenic Bay of Plenty region. Find out more here