Led by master charity event team arranger – James Goswell a group of SUBC rowers – James, Henry Mander and Demon Ed de Carvalho along with friend Rob Taylor tackled the 2011 Oxfam Trailwalker from the Hawkesbury to Sydney last Friday night 26th August – the team was ‘Voldemort’s Hooded Ones’. Ed was a last minute replacement for Toby Ledgerwood and had only a couple of days to prepare. Report of the team’s efforts here is from our ”embedded journalist” James Goswell. The team had been training for the event for four months. Aiming to run large sections of the trail they worked on developing running endurance above and beyond what is required in rowing.

In the first half of the trail the team was 30 mins ahead of their planned pace and moving really well in 5thplace overall. The first 50km is the more ‘up and down’ half and we built a large buffer over the teams following behind. Unfortunately Henry was not 100% on the day, beginning the event with an upset stomach and developing an injury within the first 10km. He showed determination and toughness to move with the fast pace of the team right through the first half. His bad luck was compounded when he fell at about 35km. All team members hit the deck during the event but Henry’s was the most dramatic, slipping on a creek crossing – ending up both legs submerged, between rocks, with a large gash on his knee. When it’s not your day on the trail – it’s not your day on the trail.

After 60km Henry retired from the event absolutely spent and unable to continue. The team, which had slowed a little, quickly jumped back into 5th and started rebuilding their lead over 6th. As darkness fell James started to suffer stomach cramping as a result of ingesting too many high-energy food supplements in the early stages. Rob Taylor led the team through the dark to Check Point 7 and with 19km to go we still enjoyed a handy buffer over other teams in the top 10.However, James was really beginning to suffer the effects of dehydration and energy loss, as he had been unable to take on suitable amounts of food and water. We suffered a dramatic slow down through to Check Point 8, although with just 11km to go we were still in 5th.In the final stage the team lost a lot of time to following teams. We were overrun by 3 teams and finished in 8th position overall in a time of 16 hours and 36 mins. Amongst top 10 teams we were the youngest (by a long stretch) and the only team with no previous finishers. We certainly learned a lot from our first attempt and really enjoyed the epic nature of the challenge.

Teams who participate in Oxfam Trailwalker are also required to fundraise for OxfamAustraliaand our team raised $6,175. We’d like to thank all those members of the SUBC community who supported us in this endeavour. Thanks also to Mike Mander who ran our support team throughout the day.

Ed and James will now shift back into rowing mode and rejoin the University Games crew in striving for the Oxford Cambridge Cup.