On Saturday two intrepid Somerset College teams set out on 48km version of the Kokoda Challenge.

The teams had, throughout the year completed a number of training hikes in the National Park trails that comprise most of the route for the challenge.

The students also completed the fundraising component with our Kokoda fairy floss stand.

Part of the aim of the Kokoda Challenge is to support the charity work of the foundation while trying in some small way to replicate the challenge of the WWII diggers who traversed the Kokoda track in PNG.

The requisite for successful completion is that all members must finish together. The principle of not leaving a mate behind was most evident as the teams supported their colleagues with positivity.

I haven’t done the PNG Kokoda but Ive done lots of tough school camp hikes and this event was one of the toughest events Ive ever experienced. The mental and physical challenge the students experienced was enough to make a grown man cry ( almost ).

The terrain is unforgiving, the uphills are relentless and the downhills that follow are even worse (on the knees). This is done knowing that much of the event will be completed in the dark and cold.

Both teams started with a 12-13 hr race plan and performed beyond expectations.

The teachers felt comfortable with that race pace plan but when the gun sounded, of course Somerset students responded to any other school groups passing with an increase in pace.

The students sustained these bursts of pace and encouraged their poor teachers to keep up.

The Teams

  • Somerset 2-  Mr Craig Sayer, Joe Wright-Smith, Nick Tan, Bradley Shepard and Miku Adachi
  • Somerset 1 - Mr Jordan Gasmier, Tom Halloran, Tom Enwright, Jared Crowley and Austin Macrossan

Congratulations to Somerset College 2 who finished in 8hr 58min to claim eighth position and Somerset College 1 who completed the event with relative ease, finishing in 10hr 35min in 26th place from 158 competing teams.

Mr Sayer and Mr Gasmier are nursing very sore joints, blisters and a new respect for the event. The students on the other hand I suspect are all looking forward to an attempt at the 96km event in the future.

Much thanks must go to our support crew led by Jacqui Sina, Emma Easther and parents, Maeve Halloran, Helen Aleman, Katy Osborne, Brendan Crowley, Michelle Andrewartha and Peter and Monica Macrossan who kept us fed and hydrated throughout the journey.

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