Trailblazing foursome lead charge in 100km Oxfam event

The first feet across the finish line for Oxfam Trailwalker 2018: team 'Buff Wait There's More!' smash the Whakatāne record by almost two hours. Photo: Artur Francisco


The persevering ‘Buff Wait There’s More!’ Oxfam Trailwalker team have trumped home to a record-breaking run.

The Auckland team of four, Zebedee Stone, Billie Haresnape, Dylan Steeples and Chris Webb participated in the annual 100km trailwalking event in Whakatāne this weekend – taking the “walking” aspect lightly, and electing to run the entire course.

The blisters, achy limbs and fatigue did not deter the plucky group who crossed the finish line in 12 hours and 51 minutes.

They shaved almost two hours off the previous Whakatāne record of 14 hours and 32 minutes. After a lightning start the team led the trail all day, and ran to the finish line to an eruption of applause from the crowd.
 
Team leader, Zebedee Stone, was elated with the team’s achievement and said making it through the gruelling distance was exhausting but rewarding.

“I’ve walked Oxfam Trailwalker a few times so I knew how challenging it is. Running it was definitely harder, but we’ve really enjoyed it and the welcome we’ve received from Whakatane, our support crew and the event volunteers has been fantastic.

"I feel really strongly about what Oxfam do and I believe in their work, which is a really good motivating factor - to know it’s for something bigger.”

Oxfam New Zealand’s Executive Director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said: "This is an incredible achievement for the team and a moment they will look back on for years to come. It’s always a real thrill to watch the first team cross the line and the atmosphere from locals and volunteers cheering them on was buzzing.

“The warm welcome received from Whakatāne has been brilliant so far, as always, and will play a huge part in buoying the spirits of tired walkers. A heartfelt thank you to the Whakatāne District Council and the local community for their support.”

The first team to cross the 50km line was Auckland team Taking It Easy, in 10 hours 31 minutes.

A total of 168 teams set off early this morning. Most of them will continue walking all night, finishing by 6pm Sunday. Once the feet have recovered and the legs have revitalised, teams will continue to fundraise until the cut-off in April. Oxfam Trailwalker has so far raised almost half a million dollars to support Oxfam’s humanitarian and long-term development work in some of the world’s poorest countries. 

Oxfam Trailwalker is being held this weekend – March 10-11, 2018 – in the scenic Whakatāne. Teams of four walk 50 kilometres in 18 hours or 100 kilometres in 36 hours to raise money for Oxfam’s work fighting poverty in the Pacific and all over the world. You can contribute to this incredible challenge by supporting and donating to your favourite team at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz.


Notes to editors:

  • Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate team endurance challenge – each team of four tackles either 100 kilometres in 36 hours or 50 kilometres in 18 hours and must raise at least $2500 to go towards Oxfam’s fight against poverty. It  is not a relay, the teams of four start and finish together.
  • Oxfam Trailwalker is part of an international series of 17 events held worldwide in 11 countries. Over the years, the event has raised hundreds of millions of dollars internationally for Oxfam's life-saving work.
  • The event debuted in New Zealand in 2006 and was held in Taupō for 10 years. The event was moved to Whakatāne in 2016 – the same year a 50 kilometre trail was introduced as an alternative to the traditional 100 kilometre trail.
  • The previous record holder for fastest 100 kilometre team on the Whakatāne trail was team ‘Young and the Breathless’ with a time of 14 hours 32 minutes set in 2017. The fastest time in the New Zealand 100 kilometre event is currently 11 hours and 13 minutes – set by team ‘Plucky Sods’ in Taupō in 2011.
  • Set up by the legendary elite Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment in 1981 as a military exercise to test teamwork, endurance and determination, Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate physical and mental challenge. It began in 2006 in New Zealand. Since then over 12,000 participants have lined up at the start line and raised over $10 million.
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