Jeepers. The look on the faces of these three girls says it was a bitterly cold morning by the Victor Harbor causeway. Even the camera lense fogged up.
However, it wasn’t the chill of the morn on our day of solstice that was the problem – they had just finished a one-hour brisk walk around Granite Island and again and again and it was still only seven o’clock.
Madness, we say, but these local girls (from left) Sonia McFarland, Sarah Milosevic and Emily Clements-Porteous mean business. They are the Walking Wonder Women – their official name in the amazing Coastrek – Hiking for Wellbeing event along our nation’s magnificant coastline.
While teams in Melbourne, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast will walk their coastline and raise funds for another incredibly-worthy cause, the Fred Hollows Foundation, more than 1000 walkers in teams of four – with a minimum two women – will converge on our south coast on Friday, September 21 to raise funds and awareness for the brilliant beyondblue organisation.
Sonia, Sarah and Emily, plus their other team member Kimberly Fisher, have been training almost every morning for the past two months as part of a 12-week fitness program.
The Coastrek adventure was created 10 years ago by the Wild Women on Top organisation, established in 2002 by Sydney-based Di Westaway, after she suffered a ‘mid-wife’ crisis. She found a solution to her sadness in a mountain quest which inspired her to transform her life.
Di’s Hiking for Wellbeing concept has already encouraged more than 25,000 people to get off the couch through shared hiking adventures while raising over $20 million for charity and helping women lead adventurous lives for which they yearn.
This is the first Coastrek in South Australia, and funds raised here will go directly to beyondblue, which does a marvellous job in raising awareness of depression, and creating pathways for so many who have difficulty finding the best way out of the dark hole in their life. It is a never-ending battle; we need to do more to understand and find the best possible outcomes.
Our Coastrek is a team-trekking challenge for fun, fitness, friends. Hikers will cover either 60 km from Parsons Beach to Goolwa, or join others at Victor Harbor for the remaining 30km of the journey.
These girls pictured, the Walking Wonder Women, don’t see their challenge about themselves, but the cause, hoping others will join them along this amazing trail.
Emily said they knew each other before going online and entering the challenge, but had now become very close friends. “The more we walked the more we discovered how much we have in common, and in some ways it is better than going to a psychologist because you are talking about what is on your mind. Friends are there to supoport you, and yes, there is a lot of talking and walking.
“This is all for a great cause, but the event is also about fitness and friendship.”
They each also had their personal reason. Emily works in mental health environment through the outstanding programs at Victor Harbor High School Flexible Learning Options. She sees first hand the value in reaching out to younger people.
Sarah is an accountant, and spoke of how a business partner had been going through severe depression and had not been able to work for more than 12 months. “This does impact me personally,” Sarah said. “Years ago there was a stigma about mental health, but now people are willing to talk about it which is a great part of helping them get through the ordeal.
“There is a lot of training preparing for this hike, but it’s all one big great adventure.”
Sonia, who works in property management, said mental health was a community issue and those affected needed the support of everyone. “We all really hope more people get behind this trek… there is a great message of hope behind the cause.”
The teams of four are encouraged to do fundraising. Cost per entry for the scenic 30km challenge under 10 hours of mild intensity is $172 per person, but get in early and it’s $159. The Sunrise Team Challenge over 60km under 18 hours of moderate intensity is $234, but again, get in early and it’s only $209. In both categories, the fundraising goal per team is $2000.
The events are for 16 years-plus, and those under 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
beyondblue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to reduce the impact of anxiety and depression and prevent suicide in Australia. The Coastrek adventure enables you to look after your body, get healthier and stronger, as well as learn essential tools for your mental wellbeing.
Donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia, and may be made through the Coastrek website or directly to beyondblue. Receipts will be issued.
If you would like to support the Walking Wonder Women with their team fundraising visit: https://adelaide.coastrek.com.au/fundraisers/WalkingWonderWomen156
You may also support the whole campaign. Visit: www.beyondblue.org.au/get-involved/fundraise-for-us/run-for-team-beyondblue/adelaide-coastrek