An impressive line-up of women in the media are set to stride out in the annual Sydney Coastrek challenge next March, walking for mental health with a goal of raising $1.65 million for Beyond Blue.
Respected broadcaster, Jennifer Byrne, and Walkley Award winner Tracey Spicer AM will lead two Coastrek Ambassador teams and embark on a 12-week training program of mood enhancing hikes in preparation for their coastal adventure and are encouraging others to join them.
Byrne will lead her team – ‘Hunters and Gatherers’, which includes Body & Soul lifestyle writer, Angela Mollard; while Spicer, an author, broadcaster and women’s advocate, will head up the ‘Storytellers’ team joined by former TV news presenter and lifestyle columnist, Jacinta Tynan; editor and host of The Juggling Act podcast, Melissa Wilson, and women’s health and parenting writer and podcaster, Cathrine Mahoney.
The new Sydney Coastrek route will follow spectacular tracks along the cliff tops linking La Perouse, Malabar, Maroubra, Coogee, Bondi, Vaucluse, Barangaroo and on to Kirribilli, creating an exhilarating setting for achieving health and wellbeing goals in 2022. The event attracts around 3,000 women (and some men!) each year in teams of four and will take place on 25 March 2022. Registrations for the 60km distance close on 7 January and for the 30km and 45km distances on 11 February. Visit www.coastrek.com.au
“We are so excited to have these inspiring women commence training for Sydney Coastrek 2022 – they are all passionate about hiking for mental health, as well as exploring the stunning coast of Sydney, and we can’t wait to unleash them on the spectacular course we’ve created,” said Di Westaway OAM, Founder & CEO of Wild Women On Top, who created the Coastrek series.
Coastrek Patron, Jennifer Byrne, said: “All of us want to encourage women to experience the joy, vitality and strength that comes with leading active lives and to take a proactive approach to their mental health. With anxiety and depression on the increase, particularly amongst females, it’s essential we shine a light on the fabulous work done by Coastrek and Beyond Blue to raise awareness and funds to improve mental health for all Australians.”
Each year, up to 10,000 hikers take on the Coastrek challenge across Australia in the spirit of friendship, fitness and fundraising in awe-inspiring nature. In 2021 alone, Coastrekkers raised over $6.4 million for Beyond Blue’s 24-hour support service. Since it began in 2009, over 50,000 Coastrekkers have walked nearly 2 million kilometres and raised nearly $40 million dollars for charity.
Beyond Blue CEO, Georgie Harman said the partnership with Coastrek is vital as Australians navigate the transition to coexisting with COVID.
“The enduring impact that the last 18 months has had on people’s mental health cannot be underestimated, even as we emerge out of lockdowns and navigate a return to living with COVID-19. Calls to Beyond Blue’s support services are 48 per cent higher this year-to-date, compared to the same period in 2019. However, the ongoing support from Coastrek events around Australia continues to change lives and provide immediate, free and confidential support for people whenever they need it.”
All Sydney Coastrek participants are provided with a 6-to-12-week training program and ongoing support up to event day. Highlights of the new Eastern Beaches route include historic landmarks such as McIver Baths, the sole women’s-only ocean pool left in Australia; Bare Island, where Mission Impossible 2 was filmed, environmental wonders such as the South Coogee Wetlands – an area of regenerated coastal wetlands that are now accessible thanks to a newly constructed boardwalk; and some curly fitness challenges including McElhone Stairs – a stairway of 113 steps, , connecting Potts Point and Woolloomooloo.
The route is also rich in Indigenous heritage with Aboriginal engravings and rock art located at Milk Beach in Vaucluse, Murriverie Rocks in Williams Park, North Bondi and Mackenzies Point, Tamarama amongst the many that trekkers will pass by, and the new Wulugul Walk at Barangaroo is also a fascinating inclusion in this year’s walk.
Visit www.coastrek.com.au for further details – registrations close 7 January for the 60km and 11 February 2022 for the 30km and 45km events. Coastrek 2022 events in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and South Australia’s picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula are also open to register interest.
About Wild Women on Top and Coastrek
Established in 2004, Wild Women on Top is one of Australia’s largest and longest running women’s health movements. Their mission is to connect, coach and champion women in the outdoors through community hiking adventures and their flagship Coastrek program of events around Australia.
Since the first event in 2009, Coastrek has transformed millions of lives globally with over 40,000 trekkers in its 13-year history raising nearly $40 million, firstly through an 11-year partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation and since 2020 with Beyond Blue. To date, nearly 2 million kilometres have been trekked by women who have trained and completed a Coastrek challenge – that’s 40 times around the world!
In 2020, Founder & CEO Di Westaway was awarded an OAM for services to women’s health, fitness and charity services. She is an authority on lifestyle health and wellness and trek training and has authored two books: ‘Natural Exhilaration’ and ‘How to Prepare for World Class Treks’. She also holds the world record for the highest handstand at 6,982m above sea level on Mt Ama Dablam, Nepal.