Go team! Warners staff complete Oxfam Trailwalker

Posted on Friday 29th May, 2015

Being able to support each other in the workplace is a great thing. But for five Warners staff members, the spirit of teamwork spilled over into their private lives as they participated in the 2015 Oxfam Trailwalker event in April.

Held annually, the Oxfam Trailwalker involves tackling 100km of Australian bush within 48 hours to raise funds to help overcome poverty and injustice around the world. This year, five committed Warners staff – Barbara Harding, Jeremy Barrett, Mark Foy, Sandra Warner and Matt Warner – participated in the event, supporting each other through endless hours of training, and encouraging their colleagues during the challenge.

For Barbara Harding, participating in the challenge was as much about personal achievement as it was about supporting OXFAM. Having fallen short of the finish line during her last attempt at the event, Barbara was keen to prove to herself that she could achieve her goal. With the help of her team mates Sandra, Mark and his daughter Mikaela, she completed the walk in 27 hours and 31 minutes.

“A team can make or break your spirit, and attitude is more important than fitness or the right shoes,” says Barbara.

“My team knew I was really struggling about halfway, but they never let on. They just quietly and calmly pulled me through it. I would not have made it if they hadn’t believed that I could.”

According to Mark, this is the beauty of the challenge. Joining the group just days before the walk, he knew that sticking together would be the only way to succeed.

“I joined the team in the final week after one of their team members dropped out. Luckily, I enjoy walking, “ he laughs.

“For me, the most important thing was to cross the line as a group of four. This meant encouraging the others and keeping the team in good spirits as each member hit highs and lows.”

Having completed his fourth consecutive Oxfam walk, Jeremy Barrett believes communication is critical during the endurance event. Although participating in a separate group from Barbara, Mark and Sandra, he echoes their sentiments regarding the importance of teamwork.

“It’s very important to communicate constantly with your team mates. You might be feeling fine, but your team mates may be sore or tired, so it’s important to support them and aim to complete each stage as a team of four,” said Jeremy.

“Preparing for the walk is also important. As well as the physical training, I think it’s important to understand everyone’s strengths and weakness, and discuss strategies for how to prepare for the event.”

This year Matt Warner achieved a personal goal, clocking up his fifth Oxfam walk. Participating each year with a group of old friends, he sees the event as an opportunity to spend time with each other.

“In addition to training individually, we also trained together for several months leading up to the event, meeting every Sunday morning to complete a 3-5 hour walk. It’s critical to make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of fitness levels to ensure you complete the event as a team. There isn’t much point being extremely fast and fit if your other teammates aren’t…you can only go as fast as the slowest member.

Matt says a commitment to the team and positive attitude are critical to finishing the walk.

“Having a great support crew to encourage the walkers and boost them when they need it can also make a huge difference.”

In support of the outstanding achievements of Barbara, Mark, Sandra, Jeremy and Matt, Warners has donated $1000 to Oxfam Trailwalker.