What a weekend?!
The Melbourne Kokoda Challenge did not disappoint. An iconic event in its 10th year, with 18 school teams and a total of more than 350 competitors.
A very fresh 7 degrees greeted everyone as they started to trickle into Event Village at 5:00am, eager to get a head start on their day.
Former Kokoda Kid, Monique, was the MC for the day, livening the Event Village with a Q&A featuring former Kokoda Kid and Director of the Kokoda Youth Foundation, Shane Stedwell. Monique continued to get the participants involved with a warm up and quick stretching combination prior to the formalities presented by the Kokoda Youth Foundation's Board Director, Ryan Martin. The Ode was then read by Alan Jamison Life Member - 39th Battalion Association, paying respects to our soldiers who served in Kokoda, and those serving past and present.
The Kokoda Challenge Youth Program Kids, affectionately known as our Kokoda Kids formed a guard of honour before all distances kicked off at 7:00am with our runners fast off the start line eager to place times that would conquer personal bests, or even place them first for the day.
The participants made it to Wicks Reserve by 7:45am, where Getaway Trekking greeted them with water, lollies and a friendly smile. Here the 15km participants headed back to the finish line with the 30km and 48km headed towards Kalorama Reserve. As competitors walked the next, tough part of the course they eventually entered the Hawks Nest! Here, Hawthorn Football Club welcomed participants with a recovery zone - rolling and stretching mats were displayed under the Hawthorn marquee to give participants an opportunity to roll out any little niggles they may have. The 48km participants were at the 19km mark and after a quick rest, some food and words of encouragement from their support crews, they headed to Eagle Nest Picnic Ground before walking back to the finish line!
Our 15km teams were the first back through the finish chute. A full list of our first competitors for each category is as follows:
15km School Team - St Joseph's PS 7
15km 4 Person Team - PRR Gals
15km 3 Person Team - DMT
15km 2 Person Team - 2Daves
30km 4 Person Team - Where's the finish
30km 3 Person Team - Nathan-Kahn-Ryan
30km 2 Person Team - Junkyard Warriors
48km 4 Person Team - Double Trouble
48km 3 Person Team - #getitdone club
Our Kokoda Kids made it through the finish chute by 12.30am that night, having experienced Melbourne's famous weather of four seasons in one day, to finish as a complete team of 14.
For a full list of teams and times, click here.
The Kokoda Youth Foundation would like to thank every single team and competitor that participated in the Melbourne Kokoda Challenge! Your grit, determination, Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice was evidently strong, we heard some amazing stories and got to speak with some amazing people. Thank you for making the event what it was and we hope you made some lifelong memories - hope to see you next year!