Monday, April 22, 2013

Completing Trailwalker - the first ever non-walking participant

The crew at the finishing line - from left to right Ben Hart,
David Ponsford, Masha, Scott Lever,team pilot Bruce Towers
Gary Porter, Megan Watson and David Southwick
In 2012 22,000 people around the world walked 2.2 million kilometers - sponsored to raise money for Oxfam. The Trailwalker event was first conducted in 1986. That is a lot of people.

This weekend in Melbourne, for the first time in that entire history, someone completed the challenge without actually walking. That someone was Bruce Towers and he was the rider in a TrailRider that was guided by 7 sherpas. A Trailwalker team must have four members and the two Parks Victoria teams, one rider and seven sherpas made up the eight.
Victorious!

The teams trained hard for the three months leading up to the event but that could not really approximate to the actual effort of covering 100 km. For the sherpas it was sore legs and blisters and for Bruce it was above all the cold, still on the track at midnight at the top of a mountain. Bruce, who at first was the "passenger" and came to be known as the "pilot", became a paraplegic after a helicopter crash and joined the venture highly qualified as someone who was brave, crazy and adventurous enough to take it on.


Parks Victoria finished 405th out of 756 teams taking 32 hrs 18 minutes to complete the course. Their involvement is a credit to son and foundation sherpa Ben Hart who had the original idea, John Kenwright at Parks Victorian who organised it all  and to MLA David Southwick who lead the teams. This of course is not to mention the five other sherpas from Parks Victoria and the star of the whole occasion. Bruce.

Photo and video by Ros Hart

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