Reflections of Coastrek 2015

I am continually inspired by our wonderful Beauty of Exercise team who put their heart, sweat and tears into training and preparing for various events. This year’s Coastrek – 55km coastal walk from Palm Beach to Balmoral – is another example of true camaraderie. Below is a heartfelt insight from one of our ‘BEXI Trekkers’…

As I sit in my cosy warm home this morning I am grateful that today is not the day to embark on a 55km walk. It is grey and misty today, a far cry from the beautiful sunny day of Friday 6th March, 2015… the day of Sydney’s Coastrek. This is an event that brings together over 3500 people, with the aim of walking 55km over every beautiful beach and headland between Palm Beach (on the northern beaches of Sydney) to Balmoral. All in the aid of the Fred Hollows Foundation, which brings sight back to the needlessly blind. But the walk was more than just fundraising for a great cause. It is about grit, determination and most importantly about camaraderie and great friendships.

As the seasoned coastrekker in the group (ie. I had attempted it a few years ago), I knew what was ahead. Encouraged by the enthusiasm of all the ladies in the BEXI Trekkers team (walkers and support crew), I got up early on the hallowed sleep-in day (Sunday) to join in the training walks. These days were great fun and a wonderful way to start the day. Who can pass up the opportunity of a ‘gentle’ beach stroll, a good chin wag and a good coffee… and all at the same time. Heaven really!

But as the day got closer trepidation set in. Our fundraising goal was achieved (and superceded thanks to the generous souls out there). The support crew and logistics for the day were organised. However, I knew what was ahead of me and knew that it was not going to be all rosy. The sore feet, sore legs, blisters and SAND …. everywhere !

We arrived at Palm Beach early in the morning to be greeted by the most magnificent sunrise to start the day. Someone upstairs had been listening. The weather was not too wet, not too hot, not too cold, not too windy. Perfect really!

The air was filled with excitement but despite the laughter and banter there was a little bit of anxiety in the air as well. Yet all that anxiety melted away when we crossed the start line heading down Palm Beach, heading for Balmoral in the distance, somewhere. I could go on forever but that would be boring so I’ve listed some of the highlights :

  • A early morning snack of Lemonade icy-pole. Liza, how did you know that that would hit the spot perfectly.
  • Coming off Mona Vale beach and seeing our angels, the beautiful smiling faces of Liza Dukino and Ingrid Taylor waiting with cold drinks and cold watermelon… exactly what the doctor ordered.
  • Narabeen Lagoon – our support crew of angels and head angel, Debbie Solms.
  • The salty chips at Long Reef. Again, exactly what was needed.
  • Dee Why – Ingrid placating Lisa after her icy pole fell on the ground. (Best lower lip action I’ve seen in quite some time!)
  • Manly – our on-call coffee crew.
  • Balmoral – everyone! And the champagne at the end was perfect.
  • Lisa’s video blog – she left the best til last. (Amazing the effects of drugs and alcohol!)
  • Camadarie amongst all the walkers, the volunteers and the locals who were out cheering everyone on.

I cannot finish off without thanking my team. There were times (esp Warriewood-Collaroy) when I was struggling. However, they were there to encourage and support me all the way. They would wait for me and never complained at how slow I was walking. I think that without me they would have done the walk in a record time! However, we were in it as a team…and everyone knows that Together Everyone Achieves More!

  • Kirsten Prescott – She had been quite ill during the week but hadn’t said anything to the team as she didn’t want to let us down. As if they were even remotely possible.
  • Lisa Bale – She pushed through despite the horrific blisters that started fairly early on in the walk. Not a complaint from her either.
  • Kym Gray – A fine example of consistency and determination. She didn’t waver at all during the whole time, and all done with a great smile.
  • Liza Dukino, Ingrid Taylor and Debbie Solms – being at the right place at the right time and saying the right things. Your support means more than you’ll ever know.
  • And last but certainly not least, my family – for putting up with me being away and grumpy and sleeping all day the following day.

55km’s in 14.5 hours is not easy but with the help of gusty, determined, yet gentle, caring and beautiful souls it was a day I shall hold dear.

Lucia Hains
Bexi Trekker, March 2015


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