7 July, 2022

Kilcoy trio embarks on Kokoda Challenge

A GRUELLING Kokoda Challenge for Chris Bechly, Kody Bechly and Ryan Harlow turned out to be more productive than they could have imagined.

Kilcoy Auxiliary Firefighters Ryan Harlow, Kody Bechly and Chris Bechly raised more than $2300 as they took part in a recent Kokoda Challenge.
Kilcoy Auxiliary Firefighters Ryan Harlow, Kody Bechly and Chris Bechly raised more than $2300 as they took part in a recent Kokoda Challenge.

The three Kilcoy Auxiliary Firefighters set themselves a target of raising $750 in their Challenge, and ended up raising $2343.

Chris, Kody and Ryan undertook their strenuous 53km trek on Saturday June 18, starting in Kenilworth and going through Conondale National Park.

The trio pursued the Kokoda Challenge as they decided to support the Kokoda Youth Foundation; a charity and non- profit organisation which runs experiential youth programs.

Chris’s training comprised walking through Glasshouse Mountains National Park, Yul- Yan-Man track and Trachyte Circuit, and a couple of gym sessions each week including group box-fit sessions with Kiri Fitness.

Kody and Ryan said they had virtually no training, although Ryan said with a laugh that he “woke up with pure excitement” on the morning of their trek. 

Kody and Ryan said they only took part after Chris talked them into doing it with him.

“I said ‘this looks cool, how about it?’” Chris said.

“It’s a good cause, and it’s a lot similar to what we represent here (in the fire service).

“Courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice, that sort of thing.”

A lot of locals showed their support for the trio, as word of their trek was shared through social media and word of mouth.

Having started the trek at 7am and finished at 6.34pm, the trio said afterwards that they found it very rewarding, albeit more so after the pain subsided.

“It started at two degrees with frost on the ground, and we finished at eight degrees in the dark,” Chris said.

“It started cold and finished cold. In between it was really good.”

Kody said he found it particularly tough when going uphill, while Ryan said he found going downhill was the hardest as some hilly parts were “almost vertical”.

“There was a lot of loose rock, and a few spots going downhill were a bit scary,” Ryan said.

The trio said the journey took them up a cumulative uphill elevation of over 1,400m, with some hills lasting over 3km incline.

There was a 30-minute break at the 26km check point, where the trio stopped for food. They had backpacks carrying water, food and first aid kits for the duration of the hike.

As for the following morning, the trio said they all woke up with sore feet.

“My feet were definitely the sorest. My walking was similar to that of a penguin,” Kody said.

Ryan said that trying to put weight on his feet was the hardest part.

As for whether the trio would take part in another Kokoda Challenge, Chris said with a laugh, “I’ll encourage/ con them into it again.”


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