Raising money for the Fred Hollows Foundation

WILD WOMEN WALKERS: Belinda Laurie, Nena Hicks and Jo Smith completed the 30km trek in just over 8 hours

WILD WOMEN WALKERS: Belinda Laurie, Nena Hicks and Jo Smith completed the 30km trek in just over 8 hours

Nowendoc women Nena Hicks, Jo Smith and Belinda Laurie were among nearly 3,000 trekkers taking part in the tenth annual Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek, last Friday. The event raised vital funds for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

“Team Nowendoc was joined by Marion Crossman from the Blue Mountains as unfortunately Kim Hart was unable to attend,” explained Ms Hicks. “Kim and Tony were with the team in spirit though and Kim’s enthusiasm remembered towards the end of the walk when feet and the odd blister were complaining. Marion brought her knitting, sense of humour and joy of swimming to the walk.”

The original team had trained together for the 30 km trek and now with Marion’s input are raising funds towards the event’s overall goal of $2.8 million by midnight on March 25, 2018. 

Going into the walk and at the end they were top of the leaders board for fundraising with over $13,500 collected.

“Our team comprised a farmer, a farmer/artist, a police officer and a teacher,” Ms Hicks explained.

“We wanted to help out, have fun together and get fit - Coastrek and Fred hit the mark!

“We trained when we could fit it in amongst work commitments, kids, log trucks and leeches. Our walking tracks took in National Parks, forestry, paddocks, log tracks, Logie Hill and the beautiful Tops Road.

“We are so grateful to the Wild Women On Top and The Fred Hollows Foundation for organising this amazing trek. It has brought us closer together and deepened our appreciation for our wonderful community and this countryside where we live.”

Team Nowendoc say they were  also inspired and supported by their Walcha friends and experienced Coastrekkers Prue Morgan, Pip Monie, Kirstie Gall and Angie Berry who walked the 30km as Team Walcha Ewes in 6 hours 56 mins.

To support Team Nowendoc or our other local team the Walcha Ewes, go to sydney.coastrek.com.au and search for their team name.

Since 2009, more than 25,000 Coastrekkers have walked an incredible 1.2 million kilometres across the three Coastrek events, in Sydney (since 2009), Melbourne (since 2015) and the Sunshine Coast (since 2017) - the equivalent of walking to the moon and back, and back to the moon again! 

Their efforts have also raised more than $20 million for The Fred Hollows Foundation, helping restore sight for hundreds of thousands of people living in the world’s poorest communities.

Sydney Coastrek stretches for 60 kilometres from one iconic beach at Manly to another at Bondi, or 30 kilometres from Kirribilli to Bondi Beach.

Trekkers walk in teams of four, including at least two women, and must raise at least $2,000 per team.

Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi Hollows, said it was inspiring to see so many people join the fight to end avoidable blindness.

“There are more than 36 million people in the world who are blind, and four out of five of them don’t need to be,” she said.

“I am always moved and inspired to see people still going to such great lengths to help realise Fred’s vision of a world where no person is needlessly blind.

“To everyone who participated in this year’s Sydney Coastrek, thank you for giving the gift of sight by taking on this challenge. We are incredibly grateful for your support.”

Founder and CEO of Wild Women on Top Coastrek, Di Westaway, said Sydney Coastrek was a way for women to come together for their own health and wellbeing, while also changing the lives of others.

“Coastrek motivates women to prioritise their own health while helping others. They regain their confidence through fun fitness with friends and their wanderlust experience makes them feel awesome,” she said.

“Coastrek has an even greater impact on the millions of women and girls who make up more than half of the world’s blind.

“By taking part in Coastrek, women are restoring sight to other women, which helps them to return to work so they can provide for themselves and their families, and also helps girls to return to school and continue their education.”

Coastrek has become one of Australia’s most popular adventure treks with events now held in Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast, as well as Sydney where it all began.

Coastrek Patrons Adam Spencer and Jennifer Byrne threw their support behind the trekkers this year, and VIP trekkers included Sydney Councillor Christine Forster, journalists Angela Mollard, Jacinta Tynan, Caroline Overington and Sarah Wilson.