Whether it be the 15, 30, 48 or the full 96km Kokoda Challenge, your level of endurance will certainly be tested at some stage throughout the Brisbane, Gold Coast or Melbourne tracks.
There is the physical aspect; the blisters on your feet, the sore legs, the sore everything! But a majority of competitors will tell you that although the Kokoda Challenge is physically demanding on your body, the real endurance test is the mental one.
39 hours is a long time to be hiking or trail running through the Australian bush. Throughout the entirety of the challenge, although you will have your teammates beside you, there will be moments where all you want to do is throw in the towel and give up.
Endurance is the ability to walk or run for a long period of time over a great distance, it's that feeling of pushing through something when all you want to do is give up.
But it is also the ability to put one foot in front of the other despite how much mental and physical pain you’re in. It’s about encouraging your teammates even though you yourself have very little stamina left. It’s about asking them for encouragement when you’re on the brink of quitting too.
To build your endurance, we recommend giving yourself adequate training time - especially if you want to take on the larger distance Kokoda Challenge events. There are plenty of resources for you to utilise when you are training to ensure that when the event day rolls around, you’re mentally and physically prepared.
We recommend incrementally increasing the distances that you walk during training over the weeks, set out with a goal and set out knowing you will accomplish it even if it does get difficult.
We also suggest training with your teammates so you can gauge each other’s strengths and weaknesses and know when others might need to be motivated.
The reason endurance is one of the four values of the Kokoda Spirit is because it is what got our Australian soldiers through times of uncertainty, pain, loneliness and so much more. Having the ability to move forward despite experiencing the sometimes dire circumstance around you is what gets you through the tough times; it’s what builds character and what you makes you feel unstoppable.
We are all amidst a time of uncertainty, isolation and sometimes fear with the lingering concerns of COVID-19. This will no doubt be a test for many of us as we adjust to life that no one is used to; social distancing, the closure of many of our favourite places including national parks means that we are no longer able to indulge in the activities that we love most. But with a bit of endurance and support from our incredible Kokoda community, we have no doubt that we all get through this uncertain time together.
Here are what some of you had to say about what endurance means to you;
“We thought we knew what pain was before the Kokoda Challenge. We had no clue that you could fit that much hurt into 32 plus hours. The feeling of coming across that finish line. Just wow”
“I never really knew what endurance truly meant until I completed the Kokoda Challenge. Never in my life have I been physically and mentally tested to that point. Although it’s difficult, when you complete it, you honestly feel invincible. If you can do that then you can do anything you set your mind to!”
Tell us about a time you have shown endurance by sharing your story on our Facebook page or let us know your tips on building endurance!