The Kokoda Challenge is Australia’s iconic team ultra-marathon, with 4 person teams tackling the tough 96km (4500m elevation) event through the beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland.
The event raises funds for the Kokoda youth Foundation. Our team this year comprised of 4 very experienced runners with our resident running physio Dave Coombs joined by Simon Byrne, Brad Glover, Kieran O’Brien and crewed by Troy Lethlean and Rob Bele.
The boys led things from the start and although their lead was only a handful of minutes at the Polly’s Kitchen checkpoint at 30k, they continued to extend their lead to over an hour by the finish. They completed the run in 12hours 55 minutes. To put this in perspective the cut-off time for all teams was 39hours and some teams needed all of that time to get through to the finish.
Photo of winning team and our ‘Running Physio’ Dave Coombs (right).
We asked Dave a few questions about the run:
How do you train for a run like this?
The key thing in training is to set yourself and your team some realistic goals and then work towards them. Most teams will spend the majority of the day walking so its important to practice being on your feet and walking for many hours at a time. We knew that we would be running as much of the event as possible, so we included lots of running in our own training and then got together as a team in the weeks leading up to the race to get familiar with the course. I was running about 10 hours a week in the weeks leading up to the event.
Was it all plain sailing or did you have any low points during the run?
Oh, we definitely had our moments! Actually this is one of the things that makes me so proud of our team performance on the day, that we dealt with everything that came our way calmly and with the minimum of fuss. The team spirit was extremely high all day. At one stage we had split up slightly and the two boys in front went the wrong way, so we had a few minutes of panic trying to sort that out, and at the last checkpoint we couldn’t find our crew and were running about yelling, stressing that we would have to do the last 15km without topping up our food and water. We finally found them frying sausages and drinking beer – they certainly weren’t panicking (picnicking more like!).
And what were the high points for you?
There were so many, its hard to pick. I loved seeing my family and friends who came out to support at Syd Duncan Park and at the finish. Running the last 2k into the Velodrome was incredible -suddenly we were all charging down the final decent, pain forgotten, buzzing with the adrenaline of getting to the finish, as a complete team of 4, in a time we were really happy with.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
Wow, so many people. Here is the abridged version! First up, a huge thanks to Simon, Brad, Kieran, Troy, and Rob. This truly is a team event and we nailed it this year. Thanks to all of the Physiologic family who supported our journey and contributed to the charity fundraising. Finally, massive thanks to Amanda and my boys for being my inspiration and best supporters!