BWB Family Law has been involved in the Toowoomba Kokoda Challenge since it commenced in 2014. On Sunday 20 March 2016 the team from BWB Family Law took part again in the 30 Kilometre corporate event.

After a few stretches and some motivational words our BWB Wanderers made up of Max Sutton, Annabel Myatt, Emily Myatt and Neal Wood set off. Our first circuit of Toowoomba’s Redwood and Jubilee Parks saw us jogging downhill and scurrying up the inclines in good spirits. After a quick break at the half way mark we set off on our second 15Km loop confident for a finish around 1pm with a relaxed lunch to follow. Our second loop of Redwood Park was tougher than the first but with the GPS chiming in to remind us we were keeping a good pace it seemed the end (and lunch) were in site.

However as we were reminded on the day “it’s called Kokoda Challenge for a reason”. In 2015 it was the rain and mud but in 2016 it was the heat that would make for the real challenge! Whether it was the extra hills added to this year’s course, that one of our team members had heat stroke the previous day or that the mixed lollies had run out the last 10 Kilometres were unlike anything experienced in previous years.

With the midday sun on our backs and the clay and gravel reflecting the heat back in our faces we realised some of our team mates were in serious trouble. What started as twinges rapidly became muscle cramps and the aggravation of old injuries. Combined with the growing fatigue, pulling out not only became an option but probably one which we should sensibly have taken.

The idea of lunch and a respectable time vanished and just finishing what we started became our focus. In what can only be described as dogged grit and determination by the unstoppable Emily Myatt it would take us another 4 hours to make our way to the bottom of the Toowoomba Range and back up to the finish line. From carrying each other’s packs, sharing around energy snacks, constant encouragement and patience we slowly made our way to the finish, together.

As we crossed the line over 8 hours after we started and with the crowd of over 1,200 now reduced to a handful of event organisers we were stunned to be awarded our medals and announced as the winners of the Hutchinson Builders 30Km Corporate Challenge. By staying on our feet while other teams had either withdrawn or finished with less members than they started we managed our own Steven Bradbury” win.

With an event time we would rather forget and in an event like the Kokoda challenge where the real winners are the young people that benefit from the great work of the Kokoda Youth Foundation, winning and medals are not really what it’s about. After 30 kilometres in the heat with more hydration, sports nutrition, compression tights and GPS watches than you could ever need we can only begin to glimpse what it would have been like to trek in the PNG jungle over 50 years ago. We would like to think however that by finishing (albeit with a lot of groaning and sore muscles) we have a better insight into why the events mantra is to Run in the spirit of Kokoda- Courage. Endurance. Mateship. Sacrifice.

For our efforts we have also raised over $1,000 for the Toowoomba Branch of the Kokoda Youth Foundation which will remain in the community to support the great program which sees young people experience a leadership program which culminates in a trip to PNG to trek the real Kokoda Track.

Thanks to all that have donated and we look forward to doing it all again in 2017!

BWB Wanderers