Zyla Steele, Sheridan Watkins, Hannah Bake, Hunter Bake-Smith, Chloe Rann and Jason Bake prepare to take on the Kokoda challenge.
Zyla Steele, Sheridan Watkins, Hannah Bake, Hunter Bake-Smith, Chloe Rann and Jason Bake prepare to take on the Kokoda challenge. Gemima Harvey

On track to meet challenge

YEAR 9 students from Toormina High School and their teacher will compete in the 48km Jim Stillman Cup next month.

The Cup event is one of two high schools Challenge events that are part of the Kokoda Challenge Gold Coast, to be held on the Gold Coast Hinterland over July 18-19.

The Toormina High team, known as Toormi Thunder, consists of students Zyla Steele, Hannah Bake, Hunter Bake-Smith and Chloe Rann, plus PDHPE teacher Sheridan Watkins.

Hannah's father, Jason Bake, who walked the real Kokoda Track in Papula New Guinea in 2011 and completed the 96km Kokoda Challenge Gold Coast in 2014, is providing training for the team.

The Kokoda Challenge is Australia's toughest team endurance event and the Jim Stillman Cup event is 48km in length, half the distance of the infamous Kokoda Track.

The course challenges high school students emotionally and physically as they traverse fire trails, cross creeks and summit 5000 metres of vertical elevation, all within the time limit of 39 hours.

The goal is to finish as a team in honour of the spirit forged on the Kokoda Track in 1942 by showing courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice.

Both high schools challenges are named after Kokoda Diggers. Jim Stillman, a soldier from the 39th militia who now lives on the Gold Coast, has been involved with the Kokoda Youth Foundation since it was formed in 2005 and hands out "dog tags" to all team members who complete the Challenge.

The teams raise money for programs run by the Kokoda Youth Foundation, all aimed at making a difference to Australian teenagers, helping young people to gain confidence, direction and skills.

Donations to the team can be made online at the Kokoda Challenge website using the event name (Jim Stillman Cup) and the team name (Toormi Thunder).

If a donation is over $100, the donor's business logo will be displayed on the team's shirts.



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