Walking The Talk
Staying strong during uncertain times has never been so important. In looking at what we can control, nurturing our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being with some wellness goals that go the extra mile is the perfect way to keep healthy, as well as envision a better future for us all.
Oxfam has had precisely this in mind, since taking off in New Zealand in 2006 with its inaugural Trailwalker and raising over $14 million cumulatively throughout the years. Their mission? To offer a unique opportunity, in harnessing New Zealand’s diverse and spectacular scenery, to up the stakes on your fitness goals, but to also share in their quest to tackle the root causes of poverty in the Pacific and to create lasting solutions. The 2021 Oxfam Trailwalker challenge continues Oxfam’s mission to walk alongside those who need it the most, from providing clean water and sanitation in Papua New Guinea to supporting farmers to increase their incomes to help provide for their families.
The Oxfam Trailwalker is New Zealand’s largest team endurance event and their latest offering, taking place over 20-21 March 2021, is set to be yet another bucket list-worthy affair. This time around, Oxfam has sought to cover new ground in the stunning region of Taranaki for the first time in the event’s history with a brand-new trail exclusive only to Oxfam Trailwalker participants. A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts with its namesake volcano taking centre-stage amidst the rainforested Egmont National Park, this region has long been a weekend getaway magnet for Kiwis and tourists alike, and now more than ever, the perfect excuse to support domestic tourism as part of the new normal.
The beauty of the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge is that it is suitable for both newcomers and Oxfam Trailwalker “Legends” – for people aged 18 to 80 years and of all fitness levels. Teams of four can opt for distances of 50 kilometres or 100 kilometres to walk or run through the night. There is also the rewarding opportunity to try your hand at fundraising – be it a sausage sizzle or getting digitally creative – as well as training throughout the year alongside Oxfam, from the provision of training days to online fundraising coaching, encouraging participants to get involved from sign-up through to the event itself. The opportunity to get creative and have some fun in raising vital funds to fight the injustice of poverty only serves to deepen the sense of achievement and life-changing aspect of the Trailwalker challenge – ultimately, in finding more than just the finish line and acting as an ambassador for Oxfam’s global work.
Upon signing up, you will receive a Preparation Guide in your Trailwalker Trek Pack, covering training advice and nutritional pointers as well as fundraising assistance. Oxfam has also planned out 16- to 20-week training programmes tailored to suit all levels of participant – Trekking Tenderfoot for those who are new to this sort of event to complete the 50-kilometre trail in 18 hours or the 100-kilometre in 36 hours; Steady Stepping for participants who regularly undertake some aerobic activity, looking to complete the 50 kilometres in 12 hours and the 100 kilometres in 24 to 28 hours; and Sir Edmond Hillary for those with a high fitness base who may have completed a marathon before or multiple half-marathons, looking to complete the 100 kilometres in under 20 hours.
There are also Training Days for teams as well as their support crews, which can be RSVP’d for and also the opportunity to connect with other teams upon registration via the Facebook Oxfam Trailwalker Community to chat and exchange training and event weekend tips in the event’s lead-up. Volunteering opportunities also exist for those who might not be ready to walk it out but would still like to assist others in reaching their fundraising targets, get some experience around organising a massive event or just a sneak peek at the trail, including trail marshals, drivers, checkpoint coordinators and even physiotherapists.
Early bird entries are now open to take advantage of discounted rates, which close on 31 August 2020. More than half of the team spots are already filled, so you will need to get in quick. To find out more about this life-changing event, go to oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz to express your interest today.
All images by Artur Francisco / Oxfam