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Three Adventurous Gentlemen Complete the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Virtual Hike Challenge

(Left to right) Andrew, Paul, and James

Hiking Companions Push Limits 

Team “Pee Mac’s Pack”, comprising two retirees and one person working full time, took on the challenge to make ‘staying fit’ more exciting and to support the vital work of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation.

Paul McNamara and Andrew Symes, both life members of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation, have been hiking together since 2017 when they met on the Bibbulmun Track. They have explored various trails including the Larapinta Trail, the Grampian Peaks Trail, and the Port Davey Track, covering approximately 500km each year, and continue to embrace the beauty of nature through their adventurous spirit.

The two mates are planning to walk a section of the Australian Alps Walking Track in November (heading from Thredbo to Tharwa) and figured the Bibbulmun Track Challenge provided the perfect warm-up opportunity. They joined over 200 participating teams, tracking their daily step count on a virtual map of the Track from Kalamunda near Perth to Albany in WA’s south west.

Completing the team of three was James Annetts, who is a very active attendee at Paul’s Gym. James, fondly referred to as the ‘GUN’ recruit, surpassed all expectations, as the team member to break the ’70k step barrier”, walking over 70 000 steps in a single day.

The team didn’t initially aim to be the first to reach the virtual destination of Albany, but Team leader Paul McNamara discovered that they could complete the Challenge in approximately 20 days if they maintained their impressive team ‘step rate’ of nearly 60,000 steps from the first day. However, fueled by friendly competition and a desire to push their limits, Paul and James found themselves competing to achieve the highest daily step count.

Unleashing the Power of Competition 

Paul shared how their competitive spirit spurred on all members of the team, “Andy was naturally influenced to increase his own step count to what some would consider to be unnatural levels”. This fierce competition ultimately led to the team completing the challenge in just 12.5 days, surprising even themselves with their accomplishment.

‘I really enjoyed the Virtual Hike concept. The whole experience brought back happy memories of walking on the Bibbulmun Track,’ Paul remembered.

“I enjoyed going up and down Mount Wells without a backpack, and without the need to walk up a steep ascent. I remember getting a call from Andy advising ‘We’ve just walked through Dwellingup’ to which I responded ‘I want to go back and have a coffee and muffin at the Blue Wren [cafe]!’”

Stunning Success Surpasses Expectations 

Bibbulmun Track Foundation Marketing Manager Justin Macatangay could not believe his eyes when he discovered that one of the 210 competing teams had reached the virtual destination in less than 13 days.

“We’ve allotted 12 weeks for participants to finish the Challenge, so what these gentlemen have achieved is truly remarkable!”

“Our avid virtual walkers will be glad to know that the Challenge is ongoing! Our sponsors have provided us with an impressive lineup of prizes that the remaining teams are competing for.”

Team Pee Mac’s Pack can look forward to a generous prize bundle provided by Bibbulmun Track Foundation sponsors.

All funds raised through the Bibbulmun Track Virtual Hike Challenge will support the maintenance of the Track, with 10% of funds raised going towards Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre, helping save WA’s Black Cockatoos. The goal is to raise $25,000 as it’s the 25th Anniversary of the Track. To donate today and make a difference visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/bibbulmuntrack.

We thank Lotterywest and the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries for their support of the 25th Anniversary celebrations including the community event, virtual hike, and the school challenge.