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By Romana Roske on 16.7.2023

Kent student takes on Gurkha challenge

Trailwalker UK, an event coordinated by charity organization Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust, is taking place on the 18th and 19th of July. The expedition expects teams of four to cover a 62 mile course across the South Downs in less than 30 hours to raise money for community projects in Nepal.

The Gurkha Welfare Trust was set up in 1969 to relieve hardship and distress among Gurkha ex-servicemen of the British Army and their dependents in Nepal – one of the poorest countries in the world. So far the collaboration with Oxfam has already raised over 1 million pounds through fundraising and sponsorships.

The event starts at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Petersfield, Hampshire and is going to end at the Brighton Race Course. The first groups are going to set off at 6am and the final one at 10am.

Trailwalker was started by Gurkha soldiers in Hong Kong in 1981 as a training exercise to test endurance and encourage teamwork. It is the equivalent of 2.5 marathons and a complete ascent of Ben Nevis. The 2,000 people taking part will collectively walk four times around the world, taking a total of 200 million steps.

230 Gurkha soldiers, including 13 chefs, will be providing logistical support. Over three days the Gurkha chefs will produce 10, 000 Nepalese curries and 2,000 cooked breakfasts, while Oxfam supporters are going to make 15,000 cups of tea and also provide massages and cheering.

One of the participating teams “Four Go Walking” is made up of Manda Little, a teaching assistant at Harbour School, Kathy Butterworth who is studying for a PhD at the University of Kent, Helen Vass, a secondary school teacher in Maidstone and Jon Vass who currently works for Argos.

In an interview Kathy Butterworth, who is taking part for the first time, told inQuire that she and her team members have been training for this event since January. “We started out doing quite short walks of about 5/6miles and have built them slowly over the weeks so that we were walking just over 30 miles for our last couple of walks. These walks were all done as a team though some of us have done some cross training with cycling, aerobics and pilates.”

Kathy is not only hoping to raise money but is also looking forward to experiencing a sense of achievement. ”It is amazing how much you rely on each other to keep going even on just a 30 mile walk so I can imagine it is going to be crucial to us getting through the whole 62 miles.”

The current record for completing the course is 9 hours and 50 minutes, held by the Ghurkhas.

For more information on the event and to sponsor Kathy’s team please click this link: Four Go Walking donation page


  • Interesting isn’t it, not the least the fact that you get accompanied by Gurkhas – adds a nice cultural touch I feel, probably wouldn’t refrain from giving the odd piggy-back too! Fascinating how an ethnic group is so typically characterised for their endurance and strength.

    One to consider for the future, perhaps once I’m down from Everest, will serve as a nice little warm-down.

    By website-editor on 22.7.2023

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  • This sounds like a pretty decent little event.

    9 Hours and 50 minutes is an average of 6mph though, dunno how they do it.

    You should get your editor Mr Hall involved, I heard he climbed Mount Everest…

    By Anonymous on 18.7.2023

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