Last weekend 1,200 intrepid participants were on the start line for Trailwalker 2014, an epic adventure which involved walking 100km nonstop across the South Downs to raise money for Oxfam and The Gurkha Welfare Trust.
This year’s Trailwalker was a huge success and is expected to raise over £750,000 for the two charities. The walk started on Saturday 26 July at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Petersfield and finished on Sunday 27 July at Brighton Racecourse, with competitors battling in very hot conditions.
The challenge was originally started by the Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment in 1981 as the ultimate test of teamwork and endurance for new recruits.
The Gurkhas still play a major role today, providing the logistical infrastructure behind the scenes. Gurkha teams also compete in the challenge every year and have yet to be beaten with a record of nine hours 50 minutes.
The fastest team this year were the Royal Gurkha Rifles Team A who completed the 100km course in 9 hours 56 minutes, just six minutes over the course record.
The fastest civilian team were the Pompey Ultra AC who crossed the line in an impressive 15 hours 40 minutes. The Queen’s Gurkha Signals team made history, by being the first team ever to complete the course whilst carrying 25kg of weight on their backs.
The team were emulating a Doko Race, which is the hardest physical challenge of Gurkha recruitment in Nepal, perhaps the hardest challenge anywhere in the British Army.
Louise Gebbett, Oxfam spokesperson said: “Trailwalker is an unforgettable experience. Participants pushed themselves further than ever before, fighting through the sweat, blisters, aches and pains as well as the exhaustion of walking through the day and night.
“At the start of the race, somebody said ‘pain is temporary, pride lasts forever’ and this was adopted as the moto for the weekend. From the fastest running teams, to the heroes that pushed themselves to their limit, every person that took on Trailwalker achieved something incredible.
“It was truly an amazing effort from all involved and the money raised will have a huge impact on so many people’s lives around the world”.
Now with 16 events in 12 countries and counting, Trailwalker is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Globally, the events have raised more than £60 million for Oxfam’s life changing work around the world
2015 will be the 200th year anniversary of the Gurkha’s, for further information about the challenge and to register your interest for the commemorative 2015 Trailwalker event go to: www.oxfam.org.uk/trailwalker
Report and pictures contributed by Oxfam.