For the past 2 years, Team Victory (sponsored by Hammer Nutrition!) have won the Kokoda Challenge – a grueling 96km run/walk/crawl through the most rugged terrain possible in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
This great event has been increasing it’s exposure every year and becoming a bigger and bigger event This year entries were closed months prior to close out date.
I asked Mike Page some questions on how the team prepare for this huge race.
1. How do you guys feel about the event, and is there a special feeling amongst the group around the name “Kokoda” with what it means to Australian people ?
The event is growing at an astonishing rate.
It’s a credit to Doug Henderson and his team who not only put on a great event, but have clearly captured the publics imagination. I think through experiencing such events it makes us understand a little more, just what those men experienced on the trail, and instills in us, a greater respect for what they actually achieved.
Doug has also ensured that the legacy of Kokoda lives on through his Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
This program is instilling in today’s youth, those typically Australian qualities that helped our diggers achieve so much in the Kokoda campaign.
It will definitely be interesting this year to see how the race unfolds.
While confident in our preparations for the event, we definitely don’t take it for granted that it’s in the bag.
A record number of teams in this years event, ensures that the competition will be more intense. Top teams from the past 2 years will be back to challenge us again, and there will no doubt be other teams coming.
With the popularity of 100km team events at an all time high, the standard of team over this distance is definitely improving.
3. Have you got the same team for this year, and can you give us a brief background on each person?
Yes. We have the same team this year – both runners and support crew – which is absolutely fantastic.
You won’t find another team of bigger nutbags and running freaks anywhere!
Peter Hall has run a total of 30 marathons during his time with a PB of 2:34:28.
Donnie Wallace has finished the prestigious Comrades Marathon 5 times. Twice in the top 10 and three times in the top 15.
He has also gone under 7 hours for 100km numerous times as well has a host of other results.
Nicki Carrol is a Sydney 2000 Olympian, having run a PB of 2:25:51 in the 1999 London Marathon. She is one of only 5 Australian females to go under the 2:30 mark.
Me (Mike Page) – I’ve competed in Ironman and other ultra distance events. Currently living in the shadow of my other team members!
I hold the Course Record holder for 62km Tambourine Trek and have achieved good results at several local races. PB of 9:48 hrs for Port Macquarie IM.
4. How is the team preparing for this years challenge and what sort of training are you doing?
This years preparation hasn ot differed much from last year.
We all prepare in our own way, but the one thing that is the same for everyone is dedication to training. Each of us puts in 160km+ per week leading up to this event. This is definitely a race where strength and endurance rule.
So volume over hilly terrain is paramount in the lead up to this race.
5. Do you train together as a team to get the team spirit going ?
The short answer to this question is no.
In saying that though 2 of the team (Donnie and Nicki) live (together) in Brisbane so they train together regularly.
Pete and myself both live on the Gold Coast so we also training together regularly.
As a group, we have known each other for a few years, with Donnie, Nicki, and Pete, going back a long, long, long time ;o)
As a team, we have a unique bond in this event. Don’t get me wrong: we are great friends.
However the bond we share for this event is based on a great respect for each other as runners.
This makes preparing for the event very easy, as each of us know that when we line up at the start, everyone in the team has done the work required.
6. Do you have a support crew and how important are they?
We have THE BEST support crew in the event.
Our support crew is made up of Pete’s wife Leanne, and my partner Mandy. These guys know exactly what we need and when we need it and know what is required to get us through the event.
They put up with our demands and our gradually increasing cranky moods throughout the day. How important are they? We simply could not complete the event without them.
8. What is the hardest thing about the challenge?
The hardest thing about this challenge is putting up with Donnnie’s sense of humour for 12 hours!
In all seriousness though, the hardest thing about this event is the amount of elevation gain and loss throughout the day.
The up-hills are near-anaerobic, lung-popping efforts that seem to go on forever, while the down-hills are nothing less than brutal.
You definitely know you have covered 96km by the time you get to the finish – and indeed, the next day.
9. If you had 2-3 tips for 1st time teams what would they be?
1. Make sure you go over as much of the course before hand as you can. The first year we competed, we covered every section of the course so we knew what we were in for.
2. Make sure you have trained in the gear you are going to race in.
It is important to know exactly where those shoes are going to rub, or if your hydration pack is going to cause you problems before you go into the event.
3. Have a nutrition plan that you have also tested in training. Know what works for you and know what your body needs.
Knowing what your body is trying to tell you during the day and responding to its needs before problems occur is 50% of the race.
10. Obviously nutrition is crucial to this event – what is the team plan for this year?
We’ve used Hammer products each time we have competed in this event and they have never let us down.
Our nutrition plan this year will be virtually the same as last year.
The key of course to any good nutrition plan is being able to change it at any point during the race to respond to your bodies needs. Knowing what your body is trying to tell you is the key.