May 18, 2023

Community participation shines bright

The sun shone for this year’s annual Surf Coast Trek with a record number of participants trekking to raise money for local organisations.

Trek organiser and Kids+ marketing manager, Sharron Gibbons, said the Saturday May 13 event attracted a record 806 participants who took part in either the 26km Anglesea to Torquay walk or the 40km walk from Aireys Inlet to Torquay.

The annual walk fundraises for Kids+ and the Give Where You Live Foundation, and Ms Gibbons encouraged community members to help reach this year’s fundraising goal of $250,000, announcing donations could be made until June 10. The trek’s tally was sitting at $238,385 when this newspaper went to print.

“It was an incredible day overall,” Ms Gibbons said.

“It just felt like the stars aligned for us this year, with the weather and how everything ran so smoothly. It was definitely our best finish line atmosphere this year."

“We’re just really happy with how everything went on the day.”

The trek began at Aireys Inlet at 7am with a Welcome To Country ceremony, with trekkers following a route through through Iron Bark Basin, across beaches, and cliff paths before finishing at the event village in Torquay, which featured activities and food.

“We are proud to work alongside our Give Where You Live Foundation colleagues to bring the Surf Coast Trek to life each year, 2023 being one of our biggest, with easily our best finish line event,” Ms Gibbons said.

“This year we had a group of Kids+ participants, some of whom are wheelchair and frame runner users, take part, completing 2km from Torquay SLSC and a 100m Dash along Elephant Walk.”

“As proud advocates for inclusion, seeing our participants cross the finish line to cheers and medals was a powerful moment that we will remember for a long time."

Torquay resident for more than 28 years, Nathan Kowalik helped raise over $4,000 with his group ‘1 down, 5 up’ for the trek, which included a generous donation from one of Torquay’s local community groups.

“Prior to the event, I received a very generous donation for $1,000 from the Torquay Angling Club to sponsor the Give Where You Live Foundation,” Mr Kowalik said.

“Many people around the community know the angling club for being a nice, family-friendly fishing group, but it really does like to think outside the box and give back where it can.

“The Surf Coast Trek is centred around that concept, I think.”

To donate to the cause, head to .

For more information on the 2024 Surf Coast Trek, head here.

Read Surf Coast Times story here.

Image: Just over 800 trekkers took part in this year’s event. Credit: Surf Coast Trek


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