We here at APC consistently hear about the amazing stories and experiences of our clients from around the world. This E-news’ shared experience comes from Barry Goss who walked 50km with a team of 4 in the OXFAM Trailwalker event to raise money and awareness, “Challenging Poverty”.

We firstly would like to thank all those who donated to the team and some who apologised but wished us well. We finished in 57 place in the 50km walk winning the over 60’s with ease. Elapsed time was 12:07 with a walking time of about 10:30 (we did have three breaks).

The thunderstorms along the way slowed our progress and I had a few strange back problems on the flat rail trail. A few of Gregs neurofen  helped so i came good for the final hilly sections. Dinner was supplied at Millgrove by our wonderful support crew of Lorraine, Toni and Gay and a special thanks to our drop off driver Geoff who made sure we did not miss the start.

We had stayed dry until check point 1 on the 50k trail, then it poured after the lightening and thunder warned us of what was to come. Not too bad but slower than planned on the rail trail but on the last leg after a pleasant stroll along the old O’Shannesy aqueduct we headed up over Mount Little Joe. Donna Buang was being lit up by lightening across the Yarra Valley to our north, and as night fell a flash followed by a clap of thunder told us that we were about to be cooled down again.

Down came the rain and the once dusted track turned to mud. Navigation became tricky as the markers were being obscured by rain on glasses and the fog of hot breathes. The girls almost lead the train of walkers down the wrong path over a yell from me and a whistle from greg brought them back on track. After that I navigated w=down the long decent towards the bottom of the famous last climb. (remember that climb Emma?). I found the going very difficult as I had to not only try and see my feet though the rain coming straight on but also look out for markers to show we were on the right trail. We had passed numerous teams of 100km wakers but had not been passed by any 50km teams until we started up Little Joe. In the rain we were still catching 100km teams but I only met 1 lone walker who might have been a 50km entrant who might have gone down the wrong track (the one the girls started down) as he joined from the right and said oh a marker at last. he headed off up the last climb and I waited for the team to appear.  We then started up the climb, I tried to keep track of where the team was but looking back in the pouring rain one set of lights looks much the same as any other.

The old saying that you do the flats and the down hill together but “you climb alone” is very true as everyone has there own pace and method, I am the “don’t stop to the top” slow plodder, while others are fast forward, stop rest then fast forward. I plodded up to the top where the last turn before the down hill was  known gathering spot. Going up the sides of the runoff trenches cut across the track proved to be tiring as they were now mud. Thank god for walking poles. At the top I looked back again and i thought our team was not far behind me as I thought the light I had been keeping track of was Wendy’s, however there were now 25 lights all coming up the slope in the rain, normally a pretty sight but not then. A number of 50km teams passed by as I waited usually a climber lead to the top and waited until the rest arrived then headed for home. All the teams that were chasing us from Millgrove now seemed to appear at once.

Our light appeared and the team regrouped and headed off down the final slippery slope together Greg acted as the sheep dog keeping Wendy on the best track until we reached the bottom, then a quick dash through the final path to the finish line awaited. I suggested a running finish to catch the team in front but this was overruled. Our support was waiting with champers, chips and dry cloths.

Greg suggested we do it next year ro try for the >70 category, Gay did point out the name of our team (One Last Time) while Wendy said “never again”. Greg, Chris and myself are now all Oxfam legends having completed at least 5 Oxfam’s, Greg and Barry having completed the first 100km and now the first 50km walks. Maybe they will have a 25km for the over 80’s!!!