It was the Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment (QGS) in Hong Kong who first started Trailwalker more than 30 years ago as a training exercise to test soldiers’ stamina and teamwork skills. In 2002, Trailwalker UK was opened up to the public via a partnership with Oxfam and has since grown into a major fundraising event for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT) - www.oxfam.org.uk/Trailwalker.
The Challenge is to complete the 100km Trailwalker trail across the South Downs in under 30 hours in teams of four. Trailwalker UK raises around £1million every year to help people in poverty to build a better life. The Gurkhas are a big part of the Trailwalker UK challenge; they provide the infrastructure behind the event and Gurkha soldier teams compete in the challenge every year.
Trailwalker is open to all sorts of teams: friends, colleagues, corporate teams, teams from sports clubs and societies, family teams, university teams; participants must be 18 years or over on the day of the challenge. Walking through the night is an unusual experience for most of us and being part of a snaking line of head torches along the trail is even more unusual!
There is a sign up fee of £200 (£150 before 18 February) for this year's event which runs over the weekend of 16-17 July. This goes towards covering the logistical costs for Oxfam putting on the event. This fee is non-refundable and is not included in reaching your team's fundraising target. The minimum team fundraising commitment is £1,500. Lots of teams raise much more than this and the organisers are confident that you will be surprised at how easily you reach your target.
There is plenty of support, advice and a preparation session on offer as well as food before, during and after the event, refreshments and the opportunity to take part in a fantastic event. There is also a wide range of extras (such as Official Trailwalker T-Shirts, Training Days with the Gurkhas and much more) which you can earn through the Fundraising Incentives and you’ll also receive a coveted Trailwalker medal and certificate when you cross the finish line. The Challenge website has full information and a really useful Team Resources Centre that will start filling up soon.