Kokoda challenge team

Our Operations Manager takes on the Kokoda Challenge!

Our fabulous Operations Manager, Sharron Howitt, is taking on the 2021 Brisbane 30km Kokoda Challenge! Sharron’s fellow team members, Heather and Liz, met locally as mums a few years back and have since gone on to develop a strong friendship. What better way to tackle Australia’s toughest team endurance event than with close friends?

The trio have named their team the Sunny Striders – very appropriate as they live in the gorgeous sunny state! We find out more on what the challenge is about and why Sharron’s taking in on.

What is the Kokoda Youth Foundation?

Taking place on Saturday 5 June 2021, the Kokoda Challenge raises funds for Aussie kids who participate in the Youth Programs run by local charity, Kokoda Youth Foundation.

Their mission is to change the lives of Aussie teens by providing experiential programs that engage and inspire them to reach their full potential. So far, the foundation has changed the lives of 602 Aussie teens since its creation in 2004.

Any donation is much appreciated – please donate here!

The Kokoda origins

The Spirit of Kokoda was forged by Australian troops on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea (PNG) during WWII in 1942. The Japanese had entered the war the year before after bombing Pearl Harbour and had set about conquering several Southeast Asian countries before advancing to PNG (Australian territory at the time) with the intention of invading Australia. It was only these young soldiers that stopped what seemed like an invincible force.

Kokoda lives on to spread awareness of the spirit of the soldier’s heroic defence of Australia and instilling the Kokoda values of Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice into today’s community. These timeless Kokoda values, ‘demonstrates that when we work together, look out for each other, and show commitment to a task, things that at first seem impossible, suddenly become achievable.’

We fully support Sharron and her team!

We are so proud of Sharron and her team for taking on this epic and worthwhile challenge and fully support her. We asked Sharron a few questions to find out more…

Have you done anything like this before?

Yes, in my previous job, I participated in the Gold Coast 3-day Kokoda Challenge in 2017 and 2018, which is the only location with the full 96km course! This is the distance of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.

What training have you done to prepare yourself?

Twice a week, Heather, Liz and I choose one of Buderim’s 9 steep hills to climb and then we usually do a long walk on the weekend. The biggest walk we’ve done is 18km, although still short of the 30km, I’m confident we’ll be fine!

Why are you taking on the challenge?

We are tackling the Kokoda Challenge to push our physical and mental boundaries and to change the lives of youth in our community.

Do you personally know teens you would like to help through the program?

No one personally, I just believe the Kokoda Challenge is for a really good cause. I also feel very fortunate and feel my family is blessed. I want to give back to the community and treat people how I’d want to be treated!

Sharron and team completed the Brisbane Kokoda challenge!

We are pleased that Sharron and her team made it back safe and sound! So, we caught up with her to find out how it went…

How long did it take you to complete?

Our goal was between 6 – 8 hours and we completed it in 6 hours 44 minutes!

How physically and mentally challenging did you find it?

It replicated the Kokoda track, so it was full of steep hills, which was physically very challenging. Especially the legs – they screamed “no more”.

We were mentally prepared by staying together as a team and giving each other pep talks when we got tired. We were in it to finish, so we talked each other through and succeeded from our team effort.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of participating?

Train for the hills! And enter with a team where you are all similar fitness levels.

Will you be taking part in any more challenges?

Yes – I’m always up for charity walks! Not sure which ones yet…

How much did you raise?

Our goal was to raise $300 and we raised $495! And the Brisbane challenge raised over $285,000 for the Kokoda Youth Foundation!

We were introduced to teens that have participated in the Kokoda youth programme who now are Kokoda leaders themselves! So, it’s great to know we have made a contribution to improving the lives of teens.

Support the Sunny Striders and Kokoda

Your support will ensure even more young Australian’s can have the life changing experience of being a Kokoda Kid.

Any donation is much appreciated!

Make a donation

Feature image: Kokoda Challenge