From $200 To $20 Million: How Sydney Coastrek Became What It Is Today

By the Wild Women On Top Team

In 2009, 40 Wild Women walked 126km from La Perouse to Palm Beach, in the first ever Sydney Coastrek ‘Event Day’. We raised about $200 for The Fred Hollows Foundation. 

Today, almost 4000 Coastrekkers will walk 30km or 60km from Manly to Bondi, raising $2 million to restore sight. Here's how we got from there to here. 

2009: The first ever Sydney Coastrek Event

First Coastrek Event Day
The first ever Sydney Coastrek was 126km from La Perouse to Palm Beach. 

For fun fitness with friends, 40 Wild Women accidentally walked 126km, instead of the planned 100km, on an autumn weekend in 2009 from La Perouse and to Palm Beach, in the Sydney Coastrek pilot event. We learned a lot about online mapping and raised about $200 for The Fred Hollows Foundation. We thought it was a bloody good, if somewhat blistery, effort. It was. 

2010: Julie McCrossin accepts role of Coastrek patron 

Julie McCrossin and her team
The fabulous Julie McCrossin and her Coastrek team. 

Journalist and broadcaster Julie McCrossin joined Wild Women On Top Trek Training and Coastrek in 2010. She attributes much of her health, fitness, endurance and mental toughness to hiking with women. We were absolutely honoured when she agreed to become our Patron, taking Coastrek to new heights! Over 300 hikers raised $270,000 for The Fred Hollows Foundation. We confirmed that hiking is more fun when you get fit first.  

2011: Adam Spencer joins the Coastrek family

Adam Spencer 70Shoe
Adam Spencer's team 70Shoe cross the finish line at Balmoral. 

Things took off when comedian and former ABC radio presenter, Adam Spencer, joined the Coastrek family, taking the 50km challenge with adventure queen Cheryl Bart, adventure philanthropist David Moffatt and Coastrek Founder Di Westaway. Blind trekker, Ben Phillips guided by former Defence Minister, John Faulkner, also took the challenge, leading a team of four blind trekkers across the rainy 50km finish line in 18 hours and 5 minutes. Astonishing. 

2012: Sydney Coastrek raises its first $1 million

Marcus Schar team finish
The 2012 winning team, Run for Vision, cross the 100km finish line.

In 2012, 1300 trekkers walked the adventurous 50-100km from Palm Beach to Coogee, raising over $1 million. The winning team, Run for Vision, led my ultra marathon runner Marcus Schar, crossed the 100km finish line in a spectacular 14 hours 28 minutes. 

2013: Sydney Coastrek doubles

Coastrek growth
Sydney Coastrekkers kick off at Palm Beach. 

This year marked a massive growth in our event as we realised that Sydney siders, particularly women aged 35-55, loved what we do. School mums joined us in droves and together we hiked 55km simultaneously from Coogee and Palm Beach to meet for bubbles at Balmoral. Walking, talking and going wild in stunning locations with a cappuccino in hand is just what women want. 

2014: Sydney Coastrek reaches out with a 30km event

Coastrek joy!

A big shift in our culture came with the realisation that we could help more women, and therefore families, to move more, by offering a 30km adventure hike. We launched the 30-60km Team Trekking Challenge, reaching out to thousands more women and raising over $2,000,000 for The Foundation.  

2015: Coastrek is launched in Melbourne

Melbourne event launch

In July 2015, living legend Gabi Hollows and Di Westaway announced that the popular and successful Wild Women On Top Coastrek was coming to Melbourne for the first time. Coastrek Ambassadors Libby Gorr, AFL legend Aaron Davey and Ruth Hollows (daughter of Fred Hollows) joined 1,400 trekkers exploring the magic of the Mornington Peninsula’s wild rugged coastline, bringing the combined fundraising efforts to over $10 million. 

2016: Coastrek secures an all-star ambassador line-up

The Storytellers
The Storytellers: Tracey Spicer, Angela Mollard, Tory Maguire, and Jennifer Byrne, with Di Westaway and Gabi Hollows. 

Coastrek adds more kick-arse ambassadors to their life-changing family, which now includes Tracey Spicer, Adam Spencer, Julie McCrossin, Linda Mottram, Sarah Wilson, Susie O’Neill, Libby Trickett, Fran Kelly, Tania Plibersek, Angela Mollard, Magdalene Rose, Tory Maguire, Jacinta Tynan, Caroline Overington, Premier Gladys Berijiklian, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former Premier John Brumby.

2017: Coastrek is launched on the Sunshine Coast

Libby Trickett Sunshine Coastrek

Olympian Libby Trickett joins Coastrek CEO Di Westaway and Gabi Hollows, to announce the inaugural Sunshine Coastrek, from Caloundra to Noosa. Libby took part in Sydney Coastrek 2015, before giving birth to her first child, and is excited to join the Sunshine Coastrek team as an ambassador. 

2017: Coastrek hits $20 million raised for The Fred Hollows Foundation

Coastrek $20 mill hero

In 2017 Coastrek hit $20 million raised for The Fred Hollows Foundation, a huge effort from almost 25,000 people. Combined, Coastrekkers have covered a distance equivalent to walking to the moon and back, and back to the moon again. 

2018: Jennifer Byrne joins Coastrek as patron

Jennifer Byrne Patron

Coastrek is delighted to welcome celebrated journalist and presenter Jennifer Byrne as patron. Through her work with 60 Minutes, Jennifer joined Fred and Gabi Hollows in 1992 while they were restoring sight across Nepal, the trip beginning the journalist’s deep connection with The Foundation.

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder to be joining the Coastrek team in the role of Patron. I feel totally in synch with all the things it stands for - love of nature, a keen faith in the power and generosity of women, and a commitment to the work of the wonderful Fred Hollows Foundation,’ said Byrne.

2018: Coastrek announces the inaugural Adelaide event, proudly supporting beyondblue. 

Beyondblue

Former Prime Minister and beyondblue Chair Julia Gillard joined Coastrek CEO Di Westaway and General Manager Tania Taylor, to launch Adelaide Coastrek in partnership with much-loved Australian Charity beyondblue. Adelaide Coastrekkers will experience the natural exhilaration of a wanderlust challenge as well as aiming to raise over $1 million for beyondblue, by hiking the Fleurier Peninsula from Parsons Beach and Victor Harbour to Goolwa. 

2018: The 10th Sydney Coastrek event is held 

Today, history is made as Sydney Coastrek celebrates its 10th event, as thousands of hikers set their sights on 30km or 60km, after training for 6-12 weeks while aiming to raise $2.5 million dollars trekking from Manly to Bondi, along Sydney’s stunning coastline! 

You can donate to Sydney Coastrek here. You can join us in Melbourne or the Sunshine Coast here. You can register your interest for Adelaide Coastrek here. 

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