Keep on trekking... Dales walk back to challenge teams in 2013

Trailtrekkers at the top of Malham Cove last summer

Trailtrekkers at the top of Malham Cove last summer

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FOR those taking part it can mean walking through the night and pushing their bodies to the limit in all weathers.

But the Trailtrekker 2013 event also gives people the chance to experience an incredible challenge in some of Yorkshire’s most stunning scenery while raising money for a fantastic cause.

It takes place over the weekend of June 1 next year as teams take on a 100km walk through the Yorkshire Dales National Park

The famous event which is run by Oxfam, in partnership with the Yorkshire Post, has gone from strength to strength since it began five years ago.

Oxfam spokesman Tom Holloway said: “Trailtrekker is recognised around the world as a seriously impressive challenge.

“It’s a great adventure story and a real life experience that you’ll never forget.

“We’ve already had more than 100 teams sign up for Trailtrekker 2013 so if teams are interested they should get in quick.

“The route is challenging, and it requires great determination and teamwork. But in return you’ll get a profound sense of achievement and the money you raise will make a real difference.”

Last year almost 200 teams braved soaring temperatures over the weekend to raise a record-breaking £500,000 for Oxfam, with participants travelling to take part from as far away as Germany and even Australia.

Since it was first held in 2009 around £1.5m has been raised for the charity’s vital work fighting poverty around the world.

Trailtrekker is one of the most respected walking events in the country and one of Yorkshire’s biggest challenges.

The walk starts at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales in Skipton.

The route then continues in a loop through the stunning National Park, past Malham Cove and Pen-y-ghent before returning past Buckden and Conistone to finish the following day back in Skipton.

The challenge requires teams of four to walk day and night to complete the full course within 30 hours.

However, teams also have the opportunity to take up a shorter bronze route over 40km or the silver option of 65km. Those teams will follow exactly the same route as the 100km gold trek, but finish at different distance checkpoints along the course.

Oxfam also offers 25 of the teams attempting the gold 100km challenge their very own support crew.

For a small fee the charity provides these teams with designated support volunteers, bag transfers, food, transport and access to exclusive tents at checkpoints.

Last year the fastest time around the course was achieved by Phyl’s Little Soldiers in 14 hours and 26 minutes.

The all-time Trailtrekker record is even faster at 13 hours and 26 minutes while the most money raised by a single team is £16,020.

The walk is staffed by 150 volunteers and is the sister event of the internationally renowned Trailwalker challenges which take place across the world, in the UK across the South Downs, as well as in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada and Ireland.

Being part of an international fund-raising effort wappealed to Melissa-Jayne Cliff, from Leeds, who is a member of one of the first teams to sign up to the 2013 event with her friends Sarah Renga, Clare Battle and Helen Pailing.

The 27-year-old is a keen walker and has taken part in numerous challenges including trekking through the Himalayas to Everest base camp.

“I had done the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales and was looking for a bigger challenge,” she said. #

“When you do something on your own you can just focus on yourself but with there being four of us we will need to train together.

“I think we will start with a 45km walk and then go for a Sunday lunch so we can have a bit of fun training for it.”

Although some of the team now live in London they are all originally from Yorkshire and believe Trailtrekker takes place in the perfect location.

Melissa-Jayne said: “The Yorkshire Dales is a beautiful setting. You cannot get a much more stunning place for walking anywhere in the world. It is right up there with Devon and Cornwall but is more hilly and rugged.”

To sign up or find out more about becoming a volunteer and further information, go to: www.oxfam.org.uk/trailtrekker.

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