Oxfam Trailwalker 2019 – Recapping the Walk

Some of VETtrak’s team hit the trail with our ReadyTech colleagues for the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker in Melbourne in March, together raising over $10,000 to combat poverty around the world.

Would you take on a gruelling 100km walking challenge if it meant helping reduce global poverty?

That’s the question facing every person who enters the Oxfam Trailwalker, and it’s the same question some of VETtrak’s team answered ‘Yes’ to this year as part of ReadyTech’s group of 16 entrants.

Australia’s original charity team endurance event, the Oxfam Trailwalker brings together hundreds of teams in Melbourne over two days in March. ReadyTech entered four teams of four in the Melbourne event, raising over $10,000 in total after taking on the elements (including hail) on the trail.

So what was it like to walk the walk? We sat down with VETtrak’s team for the inside story.

Q&A: Trevor Fairweather, General Manager

Why did you do it?  

I feel that we are in a privileged position with the lives we lead and should look at ways in which we can give back – personally and through our business. Leading a business like VETtrak gives us the opportunity to do that, whether that be through our teams or our clients. We have the reach to highlight awareness and drive support of community-based initiatives.

How did the ReadyTech team go? 

Super proud to see that we had 16 individuals across the Readytech group participate. Twelve out of the 16 completed and in tough circumstances – it was the coldest March night in 41 years, and we battled rain, hail and sunshine! We raised over $10,000 for Oxfam and importantly raised awareness and contributed to a cause involving individuals that are far less fortunate than us.

The main highlight for you? 

The camaraderie we developed across the walk and the way in which individuals supported and encouraged each other. There was a spirit of putting your personal health and well-being aside for a great cause, and the persistence and determination of the group to contribute to such a great cause.

Most challenging moment? 

The last 20 kms. We experienced some shocking weather – clothes were soaked and we were mentally challenged. This lead to chaffing issues which made the final leg tough!

How does 100kms actually feel? 

Amazing! It’s hard to describe, but it actually feels unattainable to walk 100kms! It feels somewhat surreal upon completion that you’ve done it.

Would you do it over again? 

Immediately crossing the finish and pushing through on the last leg, I said to myself that I would never do this again… Then after you recover and you reflect on what you have achieved, you are so proud and inspired to do it again. Perhaps the next time I’d do more training so I don’t feel that pain so much!

Q&A: Daniel Martin, Head of Marketing 

Why did you do it?  

Aside from the more immediate and obvious motivations around raising funds and promoting a noble cause, my motivation was physical. The distance, the duration and the steep first quarter all appealed to me as a novel undertaking. The distance seemed abstract, and I often hear news reports of displaced people – such as those in Northern Africa – fleeing over 100s of kilometres to find sanctuary – and I wanted a sense of that scale.

How did the ReadyTech team go? 

Really well. We had a 75% completion rate with 4 teams of varying abilities, ages and preparedness. We have avid trekkers, runners and triathletes, but it was the others that stood out. Be it Mo Derie from HR3 who, about to withdraw, instead patched his injuries, declared his patched version Mo 2.0 and managed to complete the race. Or Jenny from HR3 who, despite being the oldest member of the team, often disappeared over the horizon leading the team to the next checkpoint.

The main highlight for you? 

Many entered as strangers and left as friends. It’s so easy to fall into a complacent office hello without really digging into what drives your colleagues. It’s not so easy to take on a 100 km walk without learning a lot about your walking partner’s lives, their motivations, their hopes for the future, and their capacity to take on the improbable. Seeing people at their best was a highlight. 

Most challenging moment? 

There’s probably a time for everyone where they look ahead and wonder – is this too much? Am I capable of this? I didn’t find this on the walk though, I was determined to finish – why start if not to finish? Having said that, it’s probably the last leg walking on hard surfaces, the chat petering out, feeling the blisters growing confidence – it’s probably then when I thought, maybe I will catch an Uber home. 

How does 100kms actually feel? 

It’s a great personal milestone. I can look at any distance now and know with certainty that I can take it on with confidence. I came in with 1 week’s training in my “couch to 100km” campaign but finished it none-the-less. It reinforced my sense of self and showed me that having an “opt-out” rather than “opt-in” attitude to fitness is a better approach.

Would you do it over again? 

Not sure. I like new challenges – blue sky. If I did it again it’d probably be a different course. I found the course itself a little too urban, and the surfaces too manufactured. I found myself longing for a mountain to climb. Perhaps Sydney or NZ?

Q&A: Nick Bishop, Partner and Client Experience Manager

Why did you do it? 

I’ve worked with various charities and helped raise money through other organisations and hobbies for several years. I was more than happy to join the ReadyTech teams to help Oxfam with the good work they do.

How did the ReadyTech team go?

Apart from some injuries during the walk, the ReadyTech team powered through to the end of the trail where there was a welcoming beverage awaiting them. The teams were amazing getting through to the end and the support crew was super helpful at the checkpoints to give them a moment’s respite and get them ready to hit the next section of the trail.

The main highlight for you?

Getting to meet and know other members of the ReadyTech team that I wouldn’t normally get to speak with as part of the day-to-day role in the business. Also getting to walk through some fantastic areas and countryside that I wouldn’t usually see.

Most challenging moment?

Trying to make it to the top of the ‘Great Big Hill’ (though during the walk it was called many other names).

How does 100kms actually feel?

I wish I could say but unfortunately, due to injury, I had to retire before I made it to the end of the trail.

Would you do it over again?

Third time’s a charm eh?