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Army April 1, 2010
By Sgt Brian Hartigan
AUSTRALIA's premier bushwalking teams' event
-- where teams of four trek a 96km course through the
Gold Coast hinterland with a 39-hour time limit -- will
be well supported by Defence teams come July.
Two teams from 20 STA Regt, plus one each from
DFR Coolangatta, 2HSB and 41 Bty, will be augmented
by a collection of 'Fat, Old and Broken Soldiers' mainly
Another, non-Defence team headed by a former MP,
going under the name 'Commando Knights' is also worth
mentioning thanks to their "insane" intent to finish the
course carrying a loaded stretcher -- a feat they hope will
get them a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
And, while the event may be months away, Team
Defence Force Recruiting Coolangatta are also hard at
work preparing for the gruelling 96km cross-country trek.
What started out as good natured banter around the
office finished with Capt Clarke Brown and Cpl Terry
Toon teaming with PO Doug Thomas and RAAF Cpl
James Lavery to take up the challenge.
"There had been a fair bit of effort in the office to
improve our fitness, which resulted in some friendly rib-
bing between the services," PO Thomas said.
"When we heard about the Kokoda Challenge, we
thought this would be a great goal to aim for as a team,
as well as a chance to raise some money for charity and
another way to promote Defence recruiting."
Commando Knights leader Brett Tanton said his team
was really getting into the spirit of the Kokoda Challenge
and would carry a World War II stretcher complete with a
period-uniformed mannequin named Frank in honour of Z
Force and Kokoda-veteran legend Frank Holland.
"Frank was an extraordinary man and I'm sure his
spirit will egg us on to go the distance," Mr Tanton said.
"This will be a full-on challenge -- an insane challenge
to be honest -- but it will be worth it for the kids."
The Kokoda Challenge was designed to reflect the key
elements of the spirit of Kokoda with 96km represent-
ing the actual distance of the Kokoda Track and the 39
hours symbolising the 39th Militia, who were the first
Australian troops to arrive at Kokoda on 15 July 1942.
Participants will also cope with more than 5000m of
ascents and 5000m of descents during the course of the
Organisers said there was no doubt participants would
need to call on the spirit of the Anzacs -- endurance, sacri-
fice, courage and mateship -- to finish the challenge.
Funds raised through sponsorship of teams will go
mainly to supporting the Kokoda community and the
descendants of the fuzzy wuzzy angels.
The sixth annual Kokoda Challenge will be held on
July 17-18 in the Gold Coast hinterland.
With a full quota of 300 teams already registered -- and
a possible Guinness World Record on the line -- it is set to
be a huge event.
To learn more about the Kokoda Challenge or to sponsor your
favourite team, visit www.kokodachallenge.com
Up for a challenge
Record haul: The
Tanton family and
friend (above). Former
MP Brett Tanton,
back left, and Stuart
Holmes hold up the
rear of the stretcher
they intend to carry
for the duration of
the 96km trek while
Blake Tanton, 13, and
Saeran Tanton, 14,
make up the rest of
Surf's up: Cpl Terry
Toon and Capt Clarke
Brown (left) won't be
needing the board
when they take on
the Kokoda Challenge
through the Gold
CAPT Gary Kristensen, RAEME, has his
sights set on the Australian Masters Track
championships in Melbourne from April
15-18 after being crowned champion in the
3000m individual pursuit for the second
successive year at the Queensland Masters
Track Championships in Brisbane from
He also took out silver in the 666m time trial.
In the 3000m individual pursuit, cyclists
race in a time trial to set the four fastest times
and then the top four cyclists ride off for the top
After qualifying in 3min 49.62sec and set-
ting a state record, Capt Kristensen had his work
cut out for him in the qualifying round when he
faced Scott Robinson, UCC.
"I usually go out soft in the first kilometre,"
he said. "In doing that, I had to overturn a four-
bike-length deficit that Scott had built up in those
first four laps."
His opponent dug deep and produced an
excellent 3:50.52 to set up a rematch in the ride-
off for gold and silver.
"In the final, I decided to reverse my strategy
and go out slightly harder from the start.
"Fortunately, this worked perfectly and I was
able to put inroads into my opponent and take the
race in 3:50.84 with Scott finishing in 3:53.50."
The current ADF criterium and time trial
champion, Capt Kristensen completed the 666m
time trial in 48.96sec.
"This event involves an all-out effort for just
two laps and is really difficult," he said.
"It is akin to the effort required for a straight
400m on the athletics track."
Capt Kristensen is planning to compete in the
750m time trial and 3000m individual pursuit at
the Australian championships.
After that he intends to compete in the
Queensland Masters Criterium Championships
after missing the 2009 titles through injury.
"I competed in 2008 and won a silver medal
and hope to go one better this year."
Pedal power: Capt Gary Kristensen puts in
the hard yards in the 666m time trial.
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