Twelve brave Gold Coast dads have vanquished the gruelling Gold Coast Hinterland trek, the Kokoda Challenge.
The men, who met through the popular Gold Coast dads-only fitness group Legendaddy, set out on a gruelling 96km trek on Saturday 17 July, all in the name of charity. They battled thick bush, crossed six creeks, and despite chillingly cold conditions, they walked day and night to finally cross the finish line just before lunchtime on Sunday 18 July.
Stopping only for quick toilet and food breaks, this 35+ hour trek through the Gold Coast Hinterland is one, only the strongest in body and mind manage to complete.
Remarkably, under the guidance of their training coordinator Mike Lang, all four of the Legendaddy teams made it across the finish line.
“We definitely had some hairy moments, but we pushed on and solidified some incredible friendships through the process,” said Mr Lang.
This is an experience none of us will forget any time soon.
Helping the teams along the way was a cheer squad and support crew, driving between checkpoints and preparing food, massage stations, wound care and even cutting the toes out of shoes to soothe swollen feet.
Throughout the course, Kokoda history signs are located at every checkpoint to educate participants about the history of the Kokoda Campaign in 1942.
The Legendaddy support crew was led by kilt-bearing funny man and long term Legendaddy, David Gustaffson. David’s wife Monika also completed the 96km along with the Legends.
“That was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” shared Monika, after crossing the finish line sore and tired.
One of the Legendaddies included Emergency Nurse and father-of-two, Ranjith Mudigere Chandrappa. Ranjith conquered the 96km trek despite living with subclinical hypothyroidism which makes it difficult to shift weight.
“I was just so happy to have made it to the end. I don’t think I could have walked another step,” said Ranjith.
This year the event, run by Kokoda Youth Foundation saw over 3,000 people take on the 48 or 96km course.
Being a registered charity, the Kokoda Youth Foundation relies on the donations raised from these events to fund their self-discovery programs provided to local teens.
Just one of the youth programs provided by the funds raised is the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program (KCYP) a 14-month personal development and life skills program that helps inspire kids to reach their full potential and discover who they really are.
The Kokoda Youth Foundation also runs other programs that aim to help disengaged youth remain in the education system and improve their employment prospects for life after school.
“We are delighted to report a record number of donations exceeding $1 million from this year’s Kokoda Challenge events” says Chief Executive Officer, Johllene Elson.