Worl War 1 Challenge

Kiwi’s honouring Queenslanders

ASA All Stars continue participation in the Queensland WW1 100km Challenge in Brisbane – by Simon Pohatu

The ASA All Stars was established by ASA Chief Operations Officer Debs Pohatu, who entered the challenge in May 2015 and who has continued to support the event ever since, through the provision of event ambulance’s, marketing and fundraising and of course trekking. For 2016 the ASA All Stars comprised Debs Pohatu, Simon Pohatu, Nassey Pohatu, Melissa Ngaru, Angelic Graham, Alexis Clark and Angela Cresswell. The team retained its identity as the only Kiwi and Ex NZDF team in an Australian event.

The Queensland WW1 100km Challenge commemorates the sacrifices made by soldiers from Queensland in WW1. The challenge comprises a 4 stage 100km trek across the rugged D’Aguilar Ranges in south east Queensland over a 32 hour period, as a relay team or individual. It is held on 4 occasions each year. The trek includes carrying a brick engraved with the name of a fallen WW1 Queensland soldier. Each brick goes towards a memorial wall to be constructed at The Gap in Brisbane on 11 Nov 2018.

The challenge is administered by Executive Excellence Events for the charities Whiskeys Wish, Legacy and Soldier On, all of which support current and past Australian Defence Force members, Domestic Service members and Service Dogs that have suffered injuries or illnesses as a result of their service. The ASA All Stars participation continues because of a belief in the cause, and for each member of the team the challenge is not only for the WW1 soldiers from Queensland, but for all ANZAC soldiers, and their own families at home in NZ.

The challenge, the first for the year, was held over the weekend 2-3 Apr 2016. There were only 32 trekkers this time round with about a dozen walking in each stage. The event was not easy and certainly not painless. Missy, Alexis and I did the first leg of 22.5km which commenced 6.00am at the Enoggera Reservoir. Alexis completed the trek with ease whilst Missy tried to support me through. Unfortunately, I suffered from the pace of the trek and eventually my arthritis ended my venture. The remaining team members had set up food and refreshments at the Mt Nebo School checkpoint, including supporter Angela who also watched over Missy’s kids. Early afternoon Alexis continued on the second leg of 25km along with the always high spirited Ange Graham. Blisters, aches and pains slowed Alexis whilst Ange persevered with the remaining trekkers. At the White Cedar checkpoint, the team enjoyed a hangi dinner. At 9.00pm Debs and Nassey then set off on the gruelling 37.5km overnight third leg. They arrived at the Gantry checkpoint at 7.30am the next morning completely exhausted but eager to restore energy with our hangi fry-up, and bacon and eggs – followed by fruit and nut chocolate! At each checkpoint we all enjoyed free massages from numerous 2nd year physiotherapy students, which was a very welcome treat! Our next dilemma was who would complete the last leg of 17.5km. Ange Graham was fit to go but needed a partner – and the rest of us were buggered! And so it came to be, that Angela the babysitter inadvertently became the 7th trekker of the team. The two Ange’s successfully completed the trek early afternoon and the team reunited in Woodford to conduct the march past up to the RSL, followed by formalities, including the handover of the memorial bricks from the individual trekkers to the Woodford RSL padre. Well done again to the team for their efforts!

ASA All Stars looks forward to a continued association with friends and veterans Bruce Barker and the Executive Excellence Events team; Greg, Phil, Darryl, Marianne, Sam, etc, from the Kedron-Wavell RSL and Sub-Branch; Lyn and the physiotherapy team from Australian Catholic University; and Nato and the team from Australian Warfighters.

Last but not least, many thanks especially to our main supporters the ASA Company Directors Gavin and Ron and our sponsors ASA Field Staff, Becis Chartered Accountants, Ziggiz Print Centre, The Meat Warehouse, Diverse Training Concepts, Trans-Civ, the many whanau from NZ and all followers on Facebook. Let us not forget the spirit of the ANZAC’s.

Footnote: ASA All Stars welcomes your future participation – as a trekker, supporter or sponsor. Please feel free to contact Debs on 0400 908 536 to discuss your next contribution.