How to prepare for the 2017 Kokoda Challenge

Author: Tim Lofthouse - Wildfire Sports team member  Date Posted: 10 May 2017

This event is not one for the faint-hearted, and it requires a great deal of equipment, planning, and sheer determination to end up at the velodrome within the 39-hour time limit.

At approximately 7:00am on Saturday the 15th of July, crammed into Mudgeeraba’s Firth Park, 2,500 anxious but eager humans will once again begin the 39 hour, 96 kilometre (and 48km) Kokoda challenge, in recognition of Australia’s 39th Battalion - the first line of defence against the Japanese, who fought on PNG’s original Kokoda track in 1942.

In the spirit of mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice, participants will make their way across 12 creeks, numerous testing fire trails, and around and over the Gold Coast Hinterland and 5000 vertical meters of its most prominent ranges and mountains, to cross the finish line at Nerang Velodrome in their team of four.

While we can’t specifically help you with the determination part, we sure can assist with the other two, and make the latter of the three easier to focus on!

A successful Kokoda starts with a fully functional and appropriate set of equipment. To partake in the event, participants must meet the requirements of the mandatory gear list, which consist of:

  • Reflective Safety Vest - While we stock a variety of reflective vests suitable for this event, we recommend the Nathan Sports Streak Vest.
  • Waterproof Jacket - Preferably a lightweight softshell, check out our ultimate direction and Salomon range.
  • Hydration Bladder - A 2-litre capacity is preferable for this event, we stock a wide range of bladders to suit most hydration packs on the market. 
  • Head torch - Our staff favourite is the Black Diamond SPOT. See our full range of headlamps here.
  • Race bib/belt - Check out the Nathan Sports Belt and SPIBelt race toggles to keep your number in place.
  • Pealess Whistle
  • Mobile Phone (two per team of four)
  • First Aid Kit
  • A roll of Toilet Paper

To further improve your comfort and performance during the event, we also recommend you take the following:

  • A lightweight Day-Pack - Aside from wanting to be able to carry 2-3 litres of water, you will also want 8-15L capacity for food and equipment. Osprey, Salomon and Camelbak all provide suitable pack options depending on how you plan to tackle to race.
  • A quality pair of Trail Shoes - For unbeatable comfort, weight, grip and breathability, consider INOV-8’s trail series, The Salomon S-lab (lightweight performance) and XA pro series (comfort, support and protection), and The North Face ‘Ultra’ range.
  • Quality trail/hiking socks (Maybe even a second, fresh pair!) - For such a testing event, good sock choice is critical, and poor sock choice will MOST DEFINETLY have dire consequences! We suggest trying the Injinji trail range or the Wigwam cool-light - crew length is desirable.
  • Headtorch - Unless you plan on finishing in under 10 hours (the current record for the 96km course stands at just under 17 hours), you are going to need a headtorch. Check out the Black Dimond and Petzl ranges.
  • Walking poles - These become extremely useful as the day goes on, and you find yourself needing some extra support, and makes the 5000 vertical meters of ascent that little bit more bearable. Black Dimond’s FLZ range and Leki’s trail AS soft strap poles are lightweight and constructed with maximum support and adjustability in mind.  
  • A CapHeadsweat have an array of lightweight, breathable, moisture wicking caps which are sure to do the trick.
  • Compression tights (thigh and/or calve) - CEP, 2XU and Compressport offer a variety of compression wear which is great for maintaining optimal muscular temperature and function throughout the event.
  • Nutrition - Food and hydration is key for an event as challenging as Kokoda. At Wildfire sports, we offer a huge array of bars, gels, chews and hydration mixes. If you’re unsure about what you think you need (produce-wise and quantity-wise) we highly recommend you come in store and talk to one of our staff members about what is going to work best for you.

 

Now you’ve sorted out what you need to take, there is only one thing left to do... Happy training!