Supporting the Team

Photo_ACEF4249-72B5-90F0-69D4-22E88DD0CC75The past two weekends I have supported teams out on the trail. First the Kokoda Challenge down the Gold Coast last weekend, and secondly the trail runners doing the Flinders Tour today.

Both are great events and are well run, though the Flinders Tour is a bit smaller then the Gold Coast event.

The Kokoda Challenge saw a team of 4 people (which I was crewing for) traverse over 96km in the Gold Coast Hinterland. it was wet, muddy and very, very slippery. While one team member did have to pull out due to injury, she still managed to complete a very impressive 64km. Unfortunately I missed the beginning which I was told, was pretty amazing. A large oval was filled to overflowing with competitors. The first checkpoint was almost as busy as it contained both competitors and their crew and their vehicles (along with the obligatory mud and drizzly rain). I came in when it was time to go and stake out the meeting point and await our time to visit the 2nd major checkpoint, Polly’s Kitchen.

The team still looked good, the mud wasn’t too bad (until it was time to leave) and the crew did the quickest unpack and setup on the whole trip (we ended up having a long wait though). This stop was pretty uneventful with everyone still laughing and looking well. No injuries at this stage either. After a quick feed, changing into night clothes, along with reflective gear and headlights (which did work) we sent them on, enjoyed a snack ourselves and packed up before heading off on a long trek to the next stop.

Numinbah Hall was a big one, as we got there early enough so that we could enjoy a break, some dinner and a quick snooze for those who had been up since 3.30am. This stop we waited until about 1am which was when the team came in. We were getting a little worried as the timeline they set themselves was starting to slip away. At this checkpoint we diverted them away from the roaring fires, wrapped them up in blankets and warm jackets, fed them piping hot food, that was sold on site, and filled them with coffee or hot tea. It was at this checkpoint we saw the weariness start to kick in. Mini power naps happened as I pulled off their mud encrusted shoes and socks. Kicking them out of camp at about 1.45am-2am we packed up again and headed to our next rest stop (rest was had).

Once the sun had risen it was off to the next stop to provide a quick refresher for the team (didn’t bother unpacking everything at this stage) before heading to the final major checkpoint, which included a snooze and a decent wait. The end was in site, the birds were chirping and the toilets were disgusting and out of toilet paper.

Once we got the team through this checkpoint, we parted ways and while the rest of the crew headed back to the finish line I headed on home. I had family to get back to and I didn’t get home until early evening, 5hrs past the expected finish time.

Despite my late start and early finish, I had a great time and would crew again, knowing more then I did at the beginning. It was interesting to watch the teams as they succeeded, fell apart and quit. So many overcome the obstacles put in front of them and won. This wasn’t a race about coming first (though the winning team came in, in just over 10hrs) but about pushing past barriers and about being a team. It was hard, and people got hurt and had to pull out, but they still won. They had the courage to start this at the beginning.

Well done to all who participated.

(P.S. The picture above was the only picture I could get before my phone battery decided to almost die on me, and, of course, I left my charger at home!)

Flinders Tour – Well, it was an excellent run and I had fun being able to help out at the checkpoints. Reading numbers, writing times and filling water bottles.

Can’t wait till the next event!

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