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I was asked by a parent from my children's school 4 weeks prior to the event to fill in for someone in the Kokoda challenge.

The Kokoda challenge is a foot race over 96km of steep trails in the Gold Coast hinterland. It is meant to represent the hardship that the Australian soldiers endured in Papua New Guinea in WW2. Teams are made up of 4 people and they have to finish the course together in order to get a place. The idea is to work together and experience the mateship that the soldiers developed for each other.

I was a bit worried because my level of fitness was not the best and I was suffering from a cold that I could not shake. I started up training and my cold was getting worse so it was a toss up between getting fit and getting well. With only one week to go I decided to stop training and get over my cold.

On the day I felt good but not confident that I was fit enough. I was worried that I would hold up my team mates.

My team consisted of Stewart, Tim, Ben and myself. We went out pretty fast at the start and soon left the bitumen and headed into the hills. The first hills we took a good speed and I thought that the others must be very fit and I would have to put in lots keep up. After a few more ups and downs Ben and Stewart started getting cramps and used some Cramp Stop (great stuff for instant relieve of cramps). Tim was still going strong, but Ben was struggling a bit with his toe that he broke a few days ago.

The first manned check point was a quick stop and we left towards Pollies Kitchen. We were told that the hill after Pollies Kitchen was the hardest of the race and we have had a practice run of it about 2 weeks ago. But I am sure that the hills that we found on the way towards Pollies Kitchen were harder. Ben started not to feel his toe anymore, which was good, but he started to struggle with blisters and a chaffed back side. Stewart was starting to suffer a bit as well. Tim was still going strong and I was having a bit of knee problems.

From Pollies Kitchen onwards Stewart started going downhill a bit and when we came to the next manned checkpoint I thought that he won't make it for much longer. We had something to eat and I had a nice cup of coffee. Our support crew (Barry, Leslie and Alex) were great and had everything ready for us. Yet I missed my usual support crew of Puffin and kids greatly.

During the next stage I saw the biggest recovery I ever saw in a person. Stewart just suddenly picked up and was powering on with new found strength. I was feeling good too apart from my knee, which I fixed with a couple of Panadol. Ben was gettin worse and Tim started to get big blisters.

At the next checkpoint I thought Ben would pull out, but he did not give up. He is a pretty tough bugger. We got through midnight alright and went down a big decline which did my knee not much good. Pop, here go another couple of Panadol (actually 3).

The next manned stop saw a surpise withdrawl of Tim. His blisters were bad and I think he was pretty buggerd. Ben kept on going, but he was in pain and moving very slowly. Another 4 km in he couldn't go on. Stewart and I tried to carry him, but that did not work to well. We had to organise a 4WD to pick him up. I ran to the next checkpoint and enjoyed the run. I was feeling great. Even the knee didn't give me much trouble anymore. The ambulance picked up Ben (great effort Ben) and Stewart and I kept on going for the last 14 km. We made good time and ran the last few hundred meters to finish in just under 25 hours.

I am still amazed at the determination that the whole team showed and thoroughly loved the event.

Next year my wife and a couple of other friend are going to do it with me and we are planning on beating the 25 hours with a full team to finish.

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