COVID Couldn’t Stop Spirit of Kokoda

Kokoda Youth Foundation

2,600 people will walk up to 48kms this Saturday the 5th of June from Brookfield to Camp Mountain and back through D’Aguilar National Park in The Kokoda Challenge to raise much-needed funds for kids in our local community.

The Brisbane Kokoda Challenge is back for its 9th year after the event were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. The event has completely sold out and has reached a record number of walkers who are wanting to honour our Kokoda veterans, support Aussie teens in the Kokoda Challenge Youth Programs and push their own physical and mental boundaries.

572 teams will be tackling either the 15, 30 or 48km Kokoda Challenge that honours our diggers and raises funds for the Kokoda Youth Foundation; an Australian charity that runs personal development programs for teens in our local community. The event also encourages participants to walk in the shoes of our veterans while learning about Australia’s most significant battle fought along the Kokoda Track in 1942.

“The whole reason these events exist is to support the numerous Youth Programs we offer young people” says Chief Operating Officer Johllene Elson. “Participants must raise funds to compete in our events and all the proceeds enable local kids to undertake our youth programs free of charge. Our flagship program, the KCYP is 14-month life skills program that helps inspire them to reach their full potential and discover who they really are.”

The Kokoda Youth Foundation also incorporates the Spirit of Kokoda in all their programs and events. “We have veterans present the Kokoda Challengers with dog tags at the finish line” says Founder of the Kokoda Youth Foundation and Vietnam Veteran Doug Henderson. “They shake the hands of the men who fought for our country and have enabled the freedom we all share today.”

One of the last remaining Kokoda veterans, Alan “Kanga” Moore from the 39th Battalion passed away earlier this year at 100 years of age. Alan was one of the veterans who shook the hands of the men, women and children at the finish line and his presence will be sadly missed. “There has never been a more important time to keep the story of these brave men alive” says Doug.

Many of those who fought on the Kokoda Track were un-trained and severely lacked artillery and medical supplies. This forced many of them to cut the back off their shorts to avoid constantly soiling themselves due to malaria and other infections. These sicknesses cost the life of over 4,000 men alone, hundreds more were lost in battle.

The start/finish line will be held at Brookfield Reserve and we welcome spectators to come along at 6:45am to cheer on the incredible people who are hiking over 2kms in elevation and who will be walking for up to 20 hours through the night. The fastest time the 48km Kokoda Challenge has ever been completed was an astounding 6 hours and 40 minutes, with some athletes aiming to beat this time in 2021. The 2021 Brisbane Kokoda Challenge is set to be the biggest and best yet.

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