Following in the footsteps of bravery

McAuley College Kokoda 18km team. Image supplied.

Within three hours and 23 minutes, a McAuley College team of five completed the 18km Kokoda Challenge.

Katie Brown, Toby Brown, Teresa McClure and Macy Wright, along with teacher Miss Kiara Olivares, ran the trail on Saturday 3 June 2023, raising funds for the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.

Starting at 11am, from Brookfield Reserve, the team tackled 575 metres of elevation over the 18-kilometre course.

Overall, $250 was raised between the five team members.

For the McAuley students, training began in early April.

They participated in morning training every Wednesday and also dedicated a few weekends to vigorous training at Wyaralong Dam.

After completing the course, Toby Brown said he felt ready to go again.

Toby joked that the best part about finishing was getting “Maccas (McDonalds) after we ran.”

When asked if they would recommend the challenge, all participants replied positively.

“Yes, 100%,” said Macy Wright.

Macy and Teresa plan to compete again next year, hopefully attempting one of the longer distances.

The 18km School Cup, which is awarded to the fastest team to complete the track, is dedicated to John ‘Don’ McKay, a member of the 39th Battalion.

At just 17 years of age, McKay enlisted to fight in World War Two, and was deployed at the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.

During his service, he received the Military Medal for his bravery.

Inspired by McKay’s stamina during his plight, the McAuley College team strived to bring home the School Cup, but unfortunately were unable to keep pace with the fastest team, who finished in a mighty one hour and 33 minutes.

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