Earlier this month Team Vegan had an impressive showing in the Oxfam Trailwalker. Our team of four walked 100km in 22 hours and 26 minutes – coming in 64th out of 265 teams. This photo shows our boundless elation at having finished such a mighty walking challenge. Not only did we give vegans everywhere a good name, we raised $3,320 for Oxfam New Zealand. Go Team Vegan!
Preparation for the Trailwalker started several months ago. Unsurprisingly, we found that walking was the best training exercise. Our team walked the Coast-to-Coast walkway three times and made several trips to the Waitakere Ranges. It was in the Waitakere Ranges that Team Vegan suffered its only training setback, when David Tong was bested by a giant sandwich:
This was, thankfully, a temporary setback. Our team spent the remainder of its training doing what it does best: eating lots of vegan food and doing lots of walking. We found that a good baseline level of fitness was all one needed to meet the endurance challenge of the trailwalker. Of course, our vegan diet helped us with the endurance challenge: according to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, vegan diets have a myriad of health benefits for athletes – see this link.
Once the Trailwalker started, I noticed that our bodies took on a sort of frenzy – we had to finish. As long as we kept moving, our bodies kept up the momentum; the challenge came only when we stopped to break. It was for this reason that we took only four ten minute and three thirty minute breaks. Zeljka buoyed our spirits with her fierce determination, and David A and Mr Tong helped us keep a cracking good pace. I kept everyone hurrying along to escape my routine of bad jokes. This was a consummate team effort.
Our team owes its success to a fabulous support crew – tireless individuals who gave generously of their time to ensure that our bellies and water bottles were full at each checkpoint. Our support crew’s contribution cannot be overstated – providing food and water for us at seven checkpoints was a mammoth effort that was masterfully coordinated by everyone. Who wouldn’t feel lucky eating delicious vegan food like this? Yum – wheat pasta and gnocchi!
Ultimately this year’s Trailwalker was as close to perfect as one can get. The weather was great; we had no injuries (aside from Zeljka’s blisters, but she powered on!); we met our fundraising goal; our support crew was impeccable.
It all worked so well, I resolved never to do the Trailwalker again: There’s no need to mess with perfection, after all.
However, there have been murmurs of interest in forming another Team Vegan for next year’s trailwalker – jogging instead of walking. This sounds like a great challenge, and, what vegan doesn’t like a good challenge? 🙂