The third annual Oxfam Ireland TRAILTREKKER event attracted more than 400 participants to set off from Donard Park in Newcastle early on Saturday 10th September at the start of one of the most gruelling charity endurance challenges. Each team had a single goal – to complete the epic 100km or alternative 50km route and reach the finishing line at Carlingford Sailing Club inside 36 or 20 hours.Battling the weather to walk by day and by night through the Mournes, the Ring of Gullion and the Cooley Peninsula, a team called the Dromintee 4 were the 100km winners in a record time of 15 hours and 39 minutes. Consisting of local men Ciaran McMullan, Jude Hayes, Dermot Winters and Kevin Murray, the Dromintee 4 completed the trek to arrive in Carlingford just shy of Saturday midnight after setting out from Newcastle at 8.00am that morning.
The first 50km trekkers to cross the line was mixed team from State Street Ireland, major sponsor of the event. Rebecca Fleming, Aidan Doyle, David O’Connor and Keith Geoghegan – calling themselves Incendiary Porcupine Pastille Tool 4000 (IPPT4000) – are from Dublin and finished in a time of 10 hours and 36 minutes.
The Oxfam Strollers, lead by team captain Michael Sloan, finished second overall in the 100km trek and won the title of Fastest Mixed Team for the second year running. Michael said: “With the boat crossing over Carlingford Lough, and walking through the night… it’s certainly a challenge! But it’s all worthwhile for the sense of personal achievement, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve helped Oxfam Ireland raise money for its work in Africa and around the world, such as the emergency responses to the Somalia famine.”
Hundreds of staff and volunteers work in roles such as podiatrists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, trail marshals, parking marshals, drivers and a “sweep team” to clean up after the teams. Many more lose sleep over the weekend to act as a lifeline to each team, providing them with food, band aids, hugs, clean socks – anything they need to keep walking.
Congratulations to the winners and all who took part in TRAILTREKKER 2011!