To say we were apprehensive about releasing the Kokoda Virtual Challenge would be an understatement. The world was facing an ever-increasing threat of a pandemic, many people had lost their jobs and times were uncertain to say the very least.
Our Kokoda community was devastated when we announced the cancellation of all of our 2020 Kokoda Challenge events. But during trying times, there’s almost always a way to persevere; sometimes thinking laterally and adapting to new circumstances can produce wonderful results, which is exactly what we saw when releasing the Kokoda Virtual Challenge.
The idea came to us after the platform we use ‘Funraisin’ reached out to us as they were helping other registered charities take their events online. Funraisin generously donated their time and services to the Kokoda Youth Foundation, which is why we were able to make the Kokoda Virtual Challenge free for all to register.
Similarly, we also decided that we did not want to make a fundraising requirement as per our usual events as the purpose of this initiative was to solely keep our community together and we knew that many people’s financial circumstances had changed and many were not necessarily in a position to donate.
With the ever-changing rules and regulations of the Australian Government, we weren’t sure as to how the public would react. We were delighted when we had around 850 individual’s register for the challenge and seeing plenty of photos and videos flooding in on social media of people respecting the rules of social distancing while completing the Kokoda Virtual Challenge.
There were a few standout competitors who really went the extra mile. One of those being 17-year-old Sam Barham who completed the full 96kms in under 24 hours. You can read Sam’s full story here.
Another was one of our very own Shane Stedwell who sits on the Kokoda Youth Foundation Board of Directors. Shane set out to also complete the full 96kms in one go but unfortunately had to stop at the 70km mark due to a busted knee. You can read more about Shane’s story here.
Lastly, another competitor Hrishikesh decided to make the challenge even more challenging by dragging a 20kg tyre along the way! Why? “For me there are many reasons why, but to put it simply, it gives me immense joy to defeat the mind in a contest between my mind and the body. The mind is like the tyre trying to hold you back, feeling broken every time you hit that uphill in life, wanting you to stop, give-up and choose something easier. When you defeat the tyre and move forward with your chin up and chest high, irrespective of the terrain, the weather, dragging the hell out of it and reaching your summit, I believe in many ways it trains you to live your life in the same way.” You can read more about his journey here.
We are also delighted to announce that despite fundraising not being a requirement, you have all managed to raise over $17,000 for the Kokoda Youth Foundation! We are completely blown away by the generosity of our community and how much effort some competitors went to in order to achieve their fundraising targets. We would like to especially thank the Oxley Nursery for their generous donation to their four employees Nathan, Coen, Todd and Paul who completed their 48km hike in one day by walking the first half of the Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge track.
We are completely overwhelmed and delighted to the response of the Kokoda Virtual Challenge. It simply wouldn’t have been the same without our wonderful community who supported this initiative completely and embraced all that the Kokoda Youth Foundation stands for; Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice.
Thank you to all who competed, to all who donated, to everyone who shared their photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #KokodaVirtualChallenge and to our loyal community for your ongoing support.
We can’t wait to see you all again for the 2021 events where we will be back and bigger and better than ever before! We hope you’re ready!