Oxfam Trailwalker 2019
by Sam Davies
It’s that time of year again when our focus is drawn to the annual Oxfam Trailwalker event. This 100km trek for charity has over 2,000 teams of 4 enrol each year across Australia. From siblings, to workmates, this gruelling event brings out the best in people as we raise an average of $6 million dollars each year.
Over the 3 times I have done this event, it is actually the flat sections at night that cause the most mental fatigue. Not being able to see much, save for your feet clomping along the road for hours drives people mad. In your team of 4 you will each go through a “down moment” separately, and at different times. Support this team member, get them to listen to a podcast or some music and eat something they have been looking forward to (trust me, there are only so many muesli bars you can eat. A handful of lollies or something warm can go a long way to cheering you up at these times - for me it was ANZAC biscuits!!).
Looking at Oxfam statistics from last year only 54% of teams that finished, completed with the team of 4 they set out with. This is something your teams should look at. Try not to separate too much on the tracks as it adds to the mental fatigue especially during the night time hours. This loneliness as well as blisters force people to quit. Stay together, chat, make jokes and you will all be fine. Nailing the highs and lows of Bohemian Rhapsody at 4am got my brothers and me through another 8kms without us realising it.
29-30th March. Although most teams complete the
course in 20-30 hours, you have 48hrs to do so. The
fastest time ever recorded was 9hrs 51mins in 2012!
The track is new this year. Deviating from the
original Jells Park to Warburton trail. This update now starts from Lysterfield Lake, winding through the dense Dandenong Ranges and along the picturesque Yarra Trail until the competitors finish in Fairfield. Looking at the gradient map for the event it is clear the climb from Ferntree Gully to Olinda Reserve will be the hardest. Luckily it is one of the first sections- great to get out of the way early. This section can be mentally as well as physically taxing. Reminding yourself and everyone in the team that it is short-lived and early in the race is crucial. Keep hydrated and optimistic that once you are at Olinda Reserve the track gets a lot better.
As for blisters, be sure to change socks regularly. To get a blister all you need is friction with a little bit of moisture. Stand in a puddle? Change socks. Get sweaty feet after climbing Olinda? Change socks. At Frankston Foot Clinic we offer blister prevention taping (see picture above) the afternoon before the event. This will reduce those friction hot spots to help get you through the event as comfortably as possible.
Please remember to enjoy the 100km event. The feeling you get at the end is very special. If you have any questions please contact us at The Sports Injury Clinic but otherwise good luck, have fun!