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.
I asked Scott Whimpey 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, this year filling in only 30 hrs, over 90 teams were wait listed and missed getting in.
It’s a credit to Doug Henderson and his team who not only put on a great event, but have clearly captured the public’s imagination. I think through experiencing such events it makes us understand a little more, just what those men experienced on the trail, and instils 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.
2. Do you think this years event is going to be more challenging now that you have had the winning team for 2 years and going for your 3rd win?
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, this was shown in 2009 with Nike Hammer losing a team member with only 3 hrs to go. Everything must go right for the team to succeed.
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?
No, we have changed the team with the inclusion of myself, Scott Whimpey and Mike Page having a rest this year. The support crew has also changed with Dennis Fitzgerald backing us up.
This year we are ready to hammer the 96km with-
Peter Hall has run a total of 30 marathons during his time with a PB of 2:34:28.
Don 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, this year running a marathon already in 2:33.
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 (Scott Whimpey) – I competed in this years Australian Ironman and have run various Australian x country races and some international races. My PB in the half marathon is 66min, and some good 10k times of sub 30 min.
4. How is the team preparing for this years challenge and what sort of training are you doing?
Preparation this year has been excellent, Nic and Donny are in great shape, running hills and forest sections in Brisbane, peter and myself have been running various sections on the Kokoda Challenge track and some great long runs up around 35km. We are all in fantastic shape.
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 big kilometres 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 ?
Not really, we get together when we can.
Two of the team (Don 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 over 20 years, going back a long, long, long time
6. Do you have a support crew and how important are they?
We have a new face supporting us this year – Dennis Fitsgerrald.
Dennis is a nationally classed runner, competing in X Country events, Half and Full marathons and international Races, he is on the money for motivation and support. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it and know what is required to get us through the event.
7.0 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 the un expected, 12 hrs of running on hills and a heart rate of 140 plus can do strange things to your body, we are as prepared as can be, however we are in the lap of the running gods here.
9. If you had 2-3 tips for 1st time teams what would they be?
- 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.
- ake 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.
- 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 ra
10. Obviously nutrition is crucial to this event – what is the team plan for this year?
Our nutrition plan this year is to use all Hammer products. Basically, we will looking to consume around the 250-300 calories per hour maximum. On top of this we will be drinking approx 600-750 ml water per hour.
The main thing is not to consume too many calories and to avoid the simple sugars. The simple sugars will give you large spikes and falls in the blood sugar levels which could make you really suffer as the race goes on.
Taking too much nutrition will lead to your system shutting down like a road traffic jam ! and eventually crashing. Always remember less is better because you can always correct it by adding more!
You can contact Hammer via email for any advice.