Whakatāne team Woodchuckers became the first to cross the finish line at the 11th Oxfam Trailwalker charity event this weekend, completing the course in 15 hours and 20 minutes.
Zeb Stone, Oxfam’s Fundraising Events Manager, said “This is an amazing achievement for the team and something they will remember for the rest of their lives. It’s always a real thrill to watch the first team cross the line and the energy from spectators was electric,” he said. “We are delighted that it was local teams to cross the line first and second, congratulations to them both!”
Participants in teams of four trekked through either a 50km or 100km route across some of the Bay of Plenty’s stunning countryside, including Ōhope Beach. Teams started early Saturday morning and had 18 hours to complete the 50km route or 36 hours to compete the 100km route. The last team to cross the 100km line came in yesterday at 35 hours and 25 minutes.
“The weather was extremely wet with heavy downpours punctuated by lightning throughout the weekend. Despite the weather the teams performed incredibly well,” said Stone. “Oxfam Trailwalker is real team challenge and the tough conditions certainly put the teams through their paces. The warm welcome received from Whakatāne was fantastic and will have certainly helped spur teams on through the wee hours of the night. A huge thank you to the Whakatāne District Council and the local community for their support.”
Second to cross the 100km line were another local Whakatāne team the Merry Berries, finishing in 16 hours and 29 minutes. They said local knowledge “helped a bundle” as they trained on some of the course.
In third position were Auckland team Beca Get Walking, who crossed the line in the second fastest time (they started an hour later) in 15 hours 31minutes.
The first team to cross the 50km line was team We’ve Got the Power, in 8 hours 7 minutes. In second place – and the first full 50km team to finish – were the Clean Paleo Thundercats, which included Art Green and Matilda Rice, who came in at 9 hours 31 minutes. A team of Labour MPs, the Labour of Love, crossed the line at 11 hours 44 minutes.
Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, Rachael Le Mesurier took part in the 50km with her team, the Cryptic Cross Country Queens. She said, “Oxfam Trailwalker teams are taking part in something special. The money raised supports people living in the developing world to lift themselves out of poverty. Walkers are helping communities across the Pacific to learn new skills, access safe, clean water and develop new income opportunities for themselves and their loved ones. I can speak from personal experience when I say that this is a life-changing challenge and every step is worth it.”
Once the feet have recovered and the legs have revitalised, teams will continue to fundraise until the cut-off in May, supporting Oxfam’s humanitarian and long-term development work in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Oxfam Trailwalker has so far raised $858,000 and is edging closer to its $1million target. Donations to teams can be made at oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz