New Zealand event: Oxfam benefits by Trail walker event in Whakatane
A total of 168 teams ran or walked the Oxfam Trail at Whakatane in March this year.
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.
The Auckland team ‘Buff Wait There’s More!’ of four, Zebedee Stone, Billie Haresnape, Dylan Steeples and Chris Webb participated in the annual 100km trailwalking – taking the “walking” aspect lightly, and electing to run the entire course and trumped home to a record-breaking run.
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.
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.
Photos on this page show entrants in the 2018 event at Whakatane. Photos by Artur Francisco/Oxfam