Challenge yourself in 2019 with an epic walking event
Get fit, have fun and raise money for charity with one (or more!) of these eight long distance walking events. The 2019 dates for these challenges have been released, with distances ranging from 20 kms to 100 kms. The walks traverse a variety of locations, including Melbourne's inner suburbs, bushland treks on the city's outskirts and scenic coastal walks.
Most of the walks are team events, although some have individual entry options. Many also have shorter distance options available.
The events are listed below in the order of start date. Read each event website carefully for further details, including dates, registration information and costs – some events sell out very quickly and early bird entries have already closed for some! Give yourself plenty of time to find teammates, organise a training plan and start fundraising.
Where will you walk? The Coast Trek in May 2019 finishes at the scenic Point Nepean
This Ballarat event is held in memory of Nathan Shanahan, a returned soldier and firefighter, and other fallen Service Men and Women who have taken their own lives after battling mental health issues. The event encourages participation by everyone - families, colleagues, groups of friends and members of the Emergency Services and Defence Force. For the Ultimate Challenge, load up your pack with 20 kg to walk the full 20 km event. The walk takes place around a 2 km circuit, allowing younger kids to easily join participants for a lap or two along the way.
Where: Ballarat When: 23 March 2019 How far: 20 km with 20 kilograms Fundraising: The event focus is on raising awareness of mental health and participation for all, with any proceeds donated to Soldier On, Survivors of Suicide and Lifeline. Read more here
March with Me 2019
March with Me for Mental Health is an out-and-back 60 km walk from the Maribyrnong Football Club in Moonee Ponds to Brighton, via Port Melbourne. It raises money for the Love Me Love You foundation's various programs, which aim to empower and build resilience in young adults to overcome the stigma surrounding mental health and other life hardships. The event also caters for participants wishing to run the distances.
Where: Moonee Ponds to Brighton When: 24 March 2019 How far: 60 km (shorter distances also available: 30/15/5 km) Fundraising: Love Me Love You Read more here
One of the most well-known charity walks, Oxfam Trailwalker is truly epic. For the Melbourne event, teams of four have 36 hours to trek 100 km from Emerald Lake in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges to Fairfield, raising money for Oxfam to tackle poverty. The website has some great resources to help teams plan their training and organise fundraising.
Where: Emerald Lake to Fairfield When: 29-30 March 2019 How far: 100 km Fundraising: Oxfam Read more here
Surf Coast Trek
Head to the scenic Surf Coast west of Melbourne to trek 40 km along the magnificent Surf Coast Walk. The walk traverses along cliff tops, beaches and through coastal forest, with ocean views along the way. The event can be undertaken as an individual or in teams of two or four and raises money for two charities: the Kids Plus Foundation and the Give Where You Live Foundation.
Where: Aireys Inlet to Torquay When: 6 April 2019 How far: 40 km Fundraising: Kids Plus Foundation and the Give Where You Live Foundation Read more here
Go the Extra Mile
This 50 km walk takes place at Lysterfield Lake in Melbourne's east and is for teams of two or more. Walkers depart at 7 am with the aim of finishing by midnight, completing four different loops around the park. The event raises money for HopeBuilders International's work for disadvantaged children of Uganda.
Where: Lysterfield Lake When: 4 May 2019 How far: 50 km (shorter distances also available: 40/28/12 km) Fundraising: HopeBuilders International Read more here
Pull on the walking shoes for charity... and hope for good weather!
In teams of four, trek along the Mornington Peninsula's most scenic coastal walking tracks, finishing at Point Nepean. The event raises money for The Fred Hollows Foundation to help restore sight. Teams must be made up of at least 50% women, and the website has a handy section if you're looking to find teammates.
Where: Mornington Peninsula When: 24 May 2019 How far: 60 km (30 km option also available) Fundraising: The Fred Hollows Foundation Read more here
The Bloody Long Walk
This 35 km walk for teams or individuals starts at Yarra Bend Park in Fairfield, following the Yarra River to Southbank and then onto the finish at St Kilda. The event raises money for research into mitochondrial disease.
Where: Yarra Bend to St Kilda When: 25 August 2019 How far: 35 km Fundraising: Mito Foundation Read more here
Kokoda Challenge Melbourne
The Kokoda Challenge Melbourne takes teams of between two and four along 30 km of trails in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges. The event raises money for the Kokoda Youth Foundation, with the purpose of funding the organisation's youth programs. There are also options for schools to enter teams of five (four students and one adult) in the School Challenges.
Where: Dandenong Ranges When: October 2019 (exact date still to be released at the time of publishing) How far: 30 km (15 km option also available) Fundraising: Kokoda Youth Foundation Read more here
Another charity walk challenge is Upstream, which is a 50km walk (or run!) from Melbourne to Donvale along the Yarra River. I've heard from the organisers that the date for 2019 is likely to be 9th November - keep up to date with the website here:https://upstreamfoundation.org/, held