Bega's Oxfam Trailwalkers chafing at the bit for 100km trek

Taking part in the 100km Trailwalker trek for Oxfam are Bega locals Rian Smith, Matt Taylor, Ben Deighan and Donna Armstrong.
Taking part in the 100km Trailwalker trek for Oxfam are Bega locals Rian Smith, Matt Taylor, Ben Deighan and Donna Armstrong.

FOUR Bega locals are pushing themselves to the limits physically and mentally to undertake a 100km endurance walk for charity.

Matt Taylor, Rian Smith, Ben Deighan and Donna Armstrong will be taking part in the Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker event on August 22-24.

Their team, called Chafing at the Bit, is one of 500 that will complete the walk in Sydney for raise money for international charity Oxfam.

Oxfam provides infrastructure, training and education that allows people in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty.

Oxfam hopes the Australian Trailwalker series of weekends will raise $6million, with 2000 teams involved in events across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Ms Smith and her partner Mr Deighan, along with Ms Armstrong and Mr Taylor have been training for several months for Trailwalker.

Of the four, only Mr Taylor has completed the walk before, taking on the epic journey because he believed Oxfam was such a worthy charity.

The group will have to rely on each other to make it through the estimated 28-hour walk, with Ms Armstrong and Mr Taylor’s partners acting as support people helping with food, clothing, water and minor first aid.

The Sydney Trailwalker route will follow a bushland trial from Parsley Bay on the Hawkesbury River to Sydney Harbour, and teams must complete start and finish together.

While some teams take naps along the route – you have 48 hours to complete the 100km – Chafing at Bit intends to keep walking, stopping only for meals and stretching breaks.

Ms Smith, a naturopath who owns local business Natural Health Expressions, said she has learned a lot about her own resilience since through Trailwalker training.

“You have to be able to finish strongly, not just fall over the line every time.

“On our 45km Bemboka walk in June it was the first time I really had to confront what walking these kinds of distances takes psychologically, not just physically.

“It was a 12-hour walk that went to Pigeon Box Mountain and it was extremely mentally gruelling.

The group went on a 60km walk three weeks ago, Bega to Bega, taking in Dr George Mountain and Mumbulla Falls.

It was the group’s last long walk, but the training continues unabated.

“I’m at the gym daily, Shaun Ruzicka from United Fitness has been great with working a training schedule for me,” she said.

Recently Class 5 pupils from Mumbulla School undertook a day-long charity walk in support of Oxfam as members of Chafing at the Bit have children in that class.

Starting at 10am and ending shortly before 4pm, it was just a small taste of what their parents are facing later this month.

The Mumbulla School walk raised $1550 for Chafing at the Bit’s Oxfam Trailerwalker team, and combined with the generosity of Bega Valley residents, it’s helped pushed the group well past their $4000 target.

“This week it hit $7500, so we have reset the target at $8000,” Ms Smith said.

Ms Smith thanked the school as well as local businesses The Nook, Bega Health Foods and Candelo Bulk Wholefoods who have donation boxes in-store for the team.

Anyone wishing to support Chafing at the Bit Oxfam’s Trailwalker trek can also go to

UPDATE: The group reached its $8000 target on Friday morning, 24 hours before the 100km trek begins. Chafing at the Bit is now ninth in its fundraising category, Family and Friends.


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