Teams 'Midnight Madness' and 'Night Warriors' set to start in 48km Kokoda Challenge

Prepared: Ian McCarthy, Rod Douglass, Deb Mayers, Donna Wilson and Mel Owen. (Back row from left) Mike Wood and Anthony Drury.
Prepared: Ian McCarthy, Rod Douglass, Deb Mayers, Donna Wilson and Mel Owen. (Back row from left) Mike Wood and Anthony Drury.

Today two Manning teams will drive to the Gold Coast Hinterland to test their physical and mental limits in the 48km Kokoda Challenge.

Mel Owen successfully rallied friends and work colleagues to join her in a Bucket List goal to take part in an adventure event before she turned 40 years old. They formed two teams, Midnight Madness and Night Warriors, began training – day and night training hikes of 10km, 20km and 30km – and raising funds for the Kokoda Youth Foundation.

Mel Owen leads a training hike with team members Deb Mayers, Donna Wilson, Rod Douglass, Ian McCarthy, Anthony Drury and Mike Wood.

Mel Owen leads a training hike with team members Deb Mayers, Donna Wilson, Rod Douglass, Ian McCarthy, Anthony Drury and Mike Wood.

Mel with Ian McCarthy, Rod Douglass, Deb Mayers, Donna Wilson, Mike Wood, Anthony Drury and Natalie Drury set a fundraising target of around $1500 for the two teams and are celebrating the support of individuals and businesses with more than $7000 donated. The teams currently rank in the fundraising top 10 for the State and Mel says the money will support the foundation’s programs that focus on mentoring and training young people.

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They now plan to back up their successful fundraising with completion of the 48km hike in about 15 hours. It’s what they’ve calculated they can do but Mel qualifies it by saying, “it will depend a great deal on the terrain and weather conditions.” They have 33 hours in which to complete the event. 

She is confident, says they recently did a 37 kilomentres training hike in about eight hours “that involved a little sun, a little rain and a little dark and was alright.”

Last weekend it was a 12 kilometre hike with lots of hills and Mel says she “felt really good, tired, but I could have kept going which is a good sign.”

Tomorrow (July 14) at 1pm the teams will begin their 48 kilometre event walk and the afternoon start means they will walk at night when they are tired.

Ian McCarthy hopes the fact that many of the team members are shift workers will be an advantage.

“We are used to being awake at night,” he said.

“It's the decisions you make while you are walking at night that brings a lot of people undone. The trick is to not look up at the stars while you are walking because you tend to fall over!

Headlamp down, focus on where you are going and if you want to look at the stars, stop walking! It is very relaxing but it can be scary because it's very dark and you can hear so many different noises. You don't want killer kangaroos coming at you!

Ian McCarthy

The team members urge businesses and individuals to add to their fundraising total at https://kokodachallenge.com/donate-online; submit either team name in the website form details to ensure the donation is allocated to their fundraising total. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.