One of our amazing participants Carolyn is coming back to do the WW1 Challenge for the 4th time in October 2017, we asked her why she keeps coming back for more...
"Inspiring me to return for my 4th EEE WW1 challenge is for multiple reasons. I participate in many endurance events but this one has come to occupy a very personal space. It is not a race but rather a reflection of Courage, Sacrifice, Mateship and Endurance. These of course are the 4 Kokoda pillars of those whose sacrifices were made during a different war.
When I did Kokoda my trek leader asked us all what motivated us to come to PNG. Reflections made were of the trekking, the forest, the culture, the history and the mateship. The WW1 challenge to me also holds all these elements.
The challenge is commenced as a team and this is strengthened along the trail. It is an absolute privilege to listen to the ode of remembrance at the commencement, experience others conversations and passions for participating for the first time or returning event after event.
EEE's and Kedron-Wavell RSL's commitment to the challenge is unwavering. Their encouragement and wider charitable associations is genuine and humbling. All these attributes make the WW1 challenge a legacy that I will continue to endure as long as service persons bricks are required to be carried.
Dig deep for this course, it will change your life. Challenges presented to you will become easier and your resilience will grow. To participate does require time training, it does take a willpower to want to challenge self. A wall often does need to be pushed through but the above described motivators and reasons for participation are what gives me the endurance and strength to focus and continue to put one foot in front of the other."
"I was impressed with how well the WW1 challenge event was run over the weekend. I only did the first leg & I was amazed at how well EEE ran this event. I did two Oxfam events this year & Kokoda last year & this one really opened my eyes as to how many teams can come together & form “ONE team” I liked how everybody stayed together & it wasn’t a race!"
Wayne Swan has been a great supporter of the WW1 Challenge since it began...
"In all 416,000 Australians enlisted in the Great War, 60,000 died and 156,000 were wounded, but what you might not know was that one of them was my grandfather. In 2014, in my Nundah office, I opened an Australia Post parcel and, as I did so, some medals fell to the floor. As it turned out, they belonged to my grandfather, a man I never met and who died at 56 years of age from the effects of wounds and gassings experienced on the Western Front that completely wrecked his health.
The note attached to the medals was very moving. It was from a collector who, decades ago, had picked them up at an antique shop. He felt with the centenary coming up, he would make every effort to find the owners of hundreds of medals in his possession. He said of the medals:
They all have a man with a story behind the name impressed upon them; they are fantastic pieces of history and mean a great deal to me; they were all great men.
Yes, they were great men. On Anzac Day they were all represented at the ceremonies we went to by the medals which were proudly worn by their descendants and by the medals proudly displayed by our current war veterans. This, more than anything else, signifies why this centenary is so important.
As a proud Queenslander, the son of a veteran of the Second World War and the grandson of a veteran of the First World War, the WW1 Queenslander Challenge spoke to me, and participating in the trek was one of the most rewarding things I have done. The true spirit of ANZAC is local and contributing to the construction of the memorial wall at Woodford was very moving. It reminded me that each of the names engraved on the bricks we carry along the trek could have been our parents, our grandparents or our neighbours. We, on the north side of Brisbane, played a significant part in the Great War joining those who fought for a nation founded on the universal principle of equality. That is what the centenary year means to me.
The WW1 Queenslander Challenge brings out that Gallipoli spirit, the moral code that rapidly established itself as our supreme national virtue—a combination of bravery, resilience, the ability to improvise, and sticking together in hard times, no matter what. This is what I saw come to life during the trek as I completed the first leg of this 100klm journey, you help your comrades through each kilometre as you make your way through the hinterland of South-East Queensland.
It is a fitting tribute to all of those who served and have sacrificed for our country and recommend it to anyone who would like to commemorate our ANZACS during the Centenary.