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Oxfam urges Kiwis to hit the road

Oxfam urges Kiwis to hit the road

The reservation deadline to book a spot in Oxfam Trailwalker 2007 is three weeks away and people from around the country are already gearing up for New Zealand's only charity ultrachallenge. Teams of four people will walk 100km around Taupo on April 14-15 and raise funds to support Oxfam's humanitarian and development work.

The inaugural event was an astounding success, with 187 teams collecting nearly $900,000 to overcome poverty and injustice. Event organisers are hoping for an even better turnout next year.

Barry Coates, Oxfam's Executive Director, said, "Trailwalker is such an inspiring event—seeing the sense of accomplishment on people's faces after they finished was amazing. You might not think walking 100km in 36 hours is fun, but everyone was having a great time out there. And all the people who dressed up in costume to cross the finish line were a real kick."

Although the reservation deadline is on November 30, participants don't have to get the other three members of their team together and pay the entry fee until four weeks after they reserve a place. And for those who don't have a full team to take on the challenge, the Oxfam Trailwalker website has a feature called Lonely Boots that connects people with incomplete teams.

Rebecca Cooper from Auckland took part in the 2006 event and used Lonely Boots to join up with three guys from Wellington. "I originally signed up with my family, but they dumped me! I really wanted to do Trailwalker, so I joined the Backorder Banjo Reporter team. We went from complete strangers to good friends in no time at all, and we're still in touch today," said Rebecca.

Barry Coates explained that "the teambuilding aspect is really catching on. You get close with your friends and workmates when you train and fundraise for months together. By the time you have walked for an entire day and night around some of the most beautiful scenery in New Zealand, the bonds are cemented."

"The thing that makes Oxfam Trailwalker different is the thing that keeps people walking all that way—every step you take is making a real difference to people living in extreme poverty," added Barry.

With training and a positive attitude just about anyone can complete the course, but entries are limited. To reserve a place in Oxfam Trailwalker, visit http://www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz. To learn more about the emergency relief, human rights and campaigning work done by Oxfam, visit their website http://www.oxfam.org.nz.


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