Teams blaze a trail to tackle poverty at Oxfam TRAILTREKKER 2012

After walking non-stop by day and night through the Mournes, the Ring of Gullion and the Cooley Peninsula in Oxfam Ireland’s epic TRAILTREKKER event, the first 100km team to cross the line were the Oxfam Strollers with a time of 16 hours and 16 minutes hours.

Over the weekend, 298 participants trekked 50km or 100km from Newcastle, Co. Down through the Mourne Mountains to Carlingford, Co. Louth to raise vital funds for people affected by poverty.

The members of Oxfam Strollers are Michael Sloan (from Ballymena) and Noel McCarter, husband and wife Noel and Maria McCarter (Omagh) and Robert Boyd (Belfast). Team captain Michael is an Oxfam Ireland District Retail Manager, Noel is the manager of Oxfam’s Omagh shop and Robert is an Oxfam volunteer. They came second in the 100km event in 2011 and were also that year’s fastest mixed team.

Supported by global sponsor State Street, the endurance event is now in its fourth year in Ireland and, through the funds its participants raise, helps to improve the lives of families and communities affected by poverty and injustice that are supported by Oxfam.

Oxfam Strollers team captain Michael Sloan said: “TRAILTREKKER tests your stamina to the limits, but the sense of achievement when you cross the finishing line is like no other. We feel elated right now and are really proud of what we’ve achieved as a team. It’s a challenge like no other. Knowing that we are helping to bring positive change to some of the poorest communities in the world spurred us on. We’re delighted that we did it.”

The first 50km team to complete the trek with a record-breaking time of 7 hours and 48 minutes (compared to last year’s winning time of 10 hours and 36 minutes) was Team GAM Grylis, comprising of colleagues Niamh Flaherty and Brendan Sheehan (both Dubliners) from fund management company GAM. Speaking after the event, Brendan said: “We are absolutely delighted with our result. The 50km event is an acheivable goal for anybody with the right training, along with a support team like ours who provided us with brilliant motivation throughout. It was great to get people together through work and raise funds for Oxfam.”

Team captain Niamh added: “We decided at our Christmas party that we would do something together for charity and 12 of us have been training together to prepare for TRAILTREKKER. As a group we have raised €10,000 and counting for Oxfam, thanks to the support of our colleagues, family and friends.”

TRAILTREKKER is part of a growing worldwide phenomenon of 15 events in 12 different countries that in 2012 sees over 22,000 people collectively walk over 2.2 million km (the same distance as walking around the world 55 times!), becoming great ambassadors for Oxfam’s work and aiming to raise over €13.7 million/£11.3 million worldwide.

Along with the support of global sponsor State Street, other partners that help to make Oxfam Ireland’s TRAILTREKKER a success include 53 Degrees North, O’Briens, Louth County Council, Newry and Mourne District Council and Down District Council.