A St Andrew’s Anglican College team is celebrating a record-breaking effort in the Kokoda Challenge.
The team showed resilience and strength to win the event for the fourth time, after more than 250 people converged for the event, which included distances of 15k, 30km and 48km.
Teacher Alex Austin and his team of students, Harry, Luca, Cory and Jack, broke the 48km record by 20 minutes, finishing in 6 hours and 19 minutes.
Alex has competed in the challenge seven times and won four times and he said the event helped students and relationships grow stronger.
“I’ve been really lucky to have been a part of some great teams over the years,” he said.
“The last three years in particular have been made up of a core Teacher Alex Austin and his team of students, Harry, Luca, Cory and Jack, broke the 48km record by 20 minutes, finishing in 6 hours and 19 minutes.
“Their determination is what fuels the fire.
“I love the enthusiasm that the students show towards training and competing in this challenge. You get to build a real connection with the team and their families throughout the whole process.”
It was the 12th year the school entered the Kokoda Challenge and the event has become a significant part of the college’s culture.
“I think it’s really important for students to have a crack at something like this as it teaches you how to deal with adversity and forces you to use mental strength that sometimes you didn’t think you possessed,” Mr Austin said.
“Everyone is really pushed outside their comfort zone and it’s awesome to see teams encouraging each other and working together to get to the finish.
“This challenge is so much more than just a physical test; you don’t always know the problems you’ll encounter so the mindset it teaches you to overcome these challenging situations can be used in different facets in life.”
The event provided students of all abilities and passions with an opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zone and see what can be achieved with determination and great friends by their side.
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When piano teacher Clare Hannaway was approached by Year 4 student Evie to enter, she knew it was an opportunity not to be missed.
With encouragement to find three more willing students, Evie recruited fellow music loving students Summer, August and Lilah, who were all excited by the challenge of competing for the first time.
Inspired by their team motto ‘Courage will get us to the starting line, but only together as a team will we cross the finish line’ and their favourite team training song ‘The Hamster Dance Song’, the team committed to training with a goal to complete the 15km course in under four hours.
“We wanted to get to the starting line with an open mind and to enjoy the experience, each other’s company and entertain the other participants with our singing along the way,” Ms Hannaway said.
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“We have been really motivated with our fundraising for the Kokoda Youth Program and we are fortunate to have a big support team behind us who are proud of our every step.
“In fact, some training sessions we had up to 14 people along for the ride.
“It’s been incredible having the support from parents and siblings helping us complete our training sessions all together as one big (mostly happy) family.”
St Andrew’s raised more than $15,000 for the Kokoda Youth Foundation, who run life skills programs for Australian teens who come from all walks of life and every segment of society.