Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Walk FOR CHARITY? You must be crazy?

Well, that is exactly what the 180 people did on last Saturday the 23rd of April by participating in the PowerFM Southern Charity Challenge.

Saturday’s PowerFM Southern Charity Challenge long distance walking event has been declared by the event organizer as a fantastic success. Brad Butler said, “We first ran the event in 2003 as a bit of a test run. Just putting our toe in the water ever so gently to gauge how much support there might be for a local long distance walk that held some challenges. The response particularly this year has been more than encouraging.”

The Southern Charity Challenge was run in 4 sections this year with the 15km walk from Goolwa to Victor Harbor being the most popular and best supported. However the 21.1km half marathon as well as the 37.8km and 61km courses to Back Valley via the Bluff were undoubtedly the most demanding.

The start line was a mass of activity as late registrations saw numbers peak at 180. It was particularly good to see several families choose to join the festivities by participating in the 15km course with their children. The Bell family from Genesis Tour and Charter assisted with a free courtesy bus to Goolwa for all short course participants.

The first individual to complete the 15km course was Steve Martin from Port Noarlunga but he only stopped for a quick drink before pushing through to the half marathon finish. Unfortunately Steve lost directions shortly before the Inman bridge which let Ray Berresheim push through to the finish line one second in front of for a creditable time of 1hr:31m:46s.

George and Jane Bennet a married couple from Nairne in their 50’s demonstrated the value of team work and organization. They finished the 37.8km course in the amazing time of 4h:16m:36s.

The 61km course is a demanding course with beach walking, several hills and then rugged bush sections. Although teams were thankful for clear skies during the day the high temperatures placed additional hardship on walkers. David and Carlt Schmaar were the first team over the line in the 61km event.

Teams travelled from Geelong, Adelaide and the Barossa to participate with all individuals enjoying the spirit of the event.

The PowerFM Southern Trails was run by Brad Butler as a volunteer with teams gaining sponsorship. All proceeds from the fundraising efforts of individuals will go to Oxfam Community Aid Abroad.

The PowerFM Southern Trails is expected to raise over $12,000 for a specific community empowerment project facilitated by Oxfam Community Aid Abroad.

Event organizer Brad Butler is now considering ways the event can be expanded for 2006. “With the support of great sponsors PowerFM, The Victor Times, Genesis Tour & Charter, Victor Print and Paddy Pallin the event can definitely be improved. I think there was enough interest shown over the last weekend to demonstrate support for an event which offers people the dual goals of improving fitness and raising funds for a better and fairer world.”

Brad Butler

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