The picturesque Gold Coast Hinterland will serve as the backdrop for an extraordinary display of determination and camaraderie this Saturday at 7 am. A resolute group of 3,300 locals from the Gold Coast will embark on a momentous journey, participating in The Kokoda Challenge, an event known as Australia’s toughest team endurance challenge. With three distances to choose from – 30km, 48km, or a grueling 96km – participants aim to conquer the course within an impressive 39-hour timeframe. The event, now in its 18th year, invites hikers to follow in the heroic footsteps of Australian Diggers from World War II.
Spanning the mountainous terrain of the Gold Coast Hinterland, the arduous course presents teams with over 4,000 meters of elevation, making it no small feat. However, this challenge serves a noble purpose beyond personal achievement. The 18th annual Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge allows teams to raise vital funds in support of Australian youth programs organized by the Kokoda Youth Foundation.
Johllene Cooper, the CEO of the foundation, expresses her delight at the overwhelming support from the community, leading to yet another sold-out event. Since its inception in 2005, the Kokoda Challenge has transformed the lives of over 637 young Australians through self-discovery programs. These initiatives not only foster a sense of belonging but also encourage disengaged youth to stay in the education system.
“The Kokoda Challenge unites the community in the Spirit of Kokoda, and we are thrilled to return to the Gold Coast for the 18th year,” said Johllene.
Participating in The Kokoda Challenge entails more than a mere physical and mental test. It also means supporting the transformation of local kids through team fundraising efforts.
“Our diverse range of youth programs, provided at no cost to young people in the community, aims to mentor and empower them through experiential learning, enabling them to reach their full potential. Each Kokoda Challenge participant becomes a catalyst for changing the life of a young person through this remarkable event.”
The Kokoda Challenge holds a special place within the Gold Coast community as a living memorial, honoring the Australian veterans who valiantly served along the Kokoda Track in 1942. It embodies the values of courage, endurance, mateship, and sacrifice that enabled our Diggers to triumph over a formidable enemy.
“Gold Coasters have a proud history of standing by their mates and banding together in times of adversity,” said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.
“These qualities will help the brave 3,300 competitors as they set out to carry the spirit of Kokoda across a range of disciplines and events on July 15. Good luck!”
The grueling 96km trail, beginning in Mudgeeraba and concluding in Nerang via Hinze Dam, will push participants to their limits from 7 am on Saturday until late Sunday evening, when the last team crosses the finish line. With 39 hours to conquer relentless hills and navigate through the pitch-black night, teams showcase their unwavering commitment to the Kokoda Youth Foundation’s mission of changing the lives of Australian children within our community.
The Kokoda Challenge Gold Coast, an event that embodies the spirit of resilience and mateship, promises to be an awe-inspiring testament to the power of community and the triumph of the human spirit. As teams embark on their monumental journey, we can only stand in admiration of their dedication and wish them every success in their endeavors.
- Date: 15th – 16th July, 2023
- Distances: 30km, 48km, and 96km
- Registration Costs: Team registration fees start from $250
- Starting Location: [Location name not provided]