SMC completes the 52km Kokoda Challenge!
Four teams comprised of 19 students and staff from St Mary’s College together embarked on the 52km Kokoda Challenge at the Gold Coast.
The Kokoda Challenge is set in the hinterland and is made up of steep climbs, winding trails and very cold conditions.
Last year two teams had entered and successfully completed the Challenge which had inspired many students to nominate for the event.
After a selection process and months of training, participants headed off at 11am Saturday nervous and excited not knowing how grueling the Challenge would be.
This was the second time Defence Transition Mentor, Mrs. Christina Page, had coordinated and completed the Challenge. It still proved to test participants emotionally and physically despite the fine conditions this year.
In 2017, the Challenge was additionally hard due to torrential rain which did not ease up over the 24 hours.
“I was relieved that this year we did not experience lightning and thunder however each challenge presents its own trials. It was very much a team effort this year and I am extremely proud that we all got across the finish line,” stated Mrs. Page.
There were times when every participant questioned why they were undertaking the Challenge especially when fatigue set in. They experienced leg cramps, headaches, exhaustion and blisters. But, they did not give up.
At checkpoint 8 and 11, the Mighty Mary’s amazing support crew urged the team on with encouraging advice.
“The support crew members were phenomenal. With their hot meals, massages and guidance, we prevailed,” stated team member Alexa Murrin.
“Without an amazing support crew, we could not have completed the Challenge,” added Miss Murrin.
The girls, as young as 14, dug deep and pushed through every hurdle.
After approximately 14 hours, the last checkpoint could not be found. Challenge officials explained that they had to extend the distance from between the second last and last checkpoints unbeknown to competitors.
This was extremely challenging as each hill was conquered the checkpoint was not in sight. Each glimmer of light was a dashed hope as the walkers learned that it was only competitors head torches. However, with nothing left in their tank to give, as they came across yet another hill, they looked to their team mates crying in pain but not complaining, they shared a moment and began to climb.
“The Kokoda Challenge is truly a testimony of mateship, determination and teamwork,” stated Deputy Principal and participant Marcus Richardson.
In just 15 hours and 36 minutes every participant and team mate crossed the finish line, shouting proudly “SMC, SMC”.
It was an experience they will never forget and one they should be extremely proud of.
Thank you to Eadie’s Mechanical and TAE Aerospace who proudly sponsored the Mighty Mary’s teams.
The Kokoda Challenge Event Series was created to fund participants in youth programs. Every dollar raised goes towards the youth program and the kids that participate in them.