Dubbed the ‘Canberra Camino’ after the famous Spanish pilgrimage, the Canberra Centenary Trail is a 145 km loop trail taking walkers and riders on a journey between urban and rural environments, past iconic sites and some hidden treasures. And, while many Canberrans use their local section of the trail to walk, run or ride, completing the full course on foot is a praiseworthy and unforgettable achievement.
So why are 30 Canberra CEOs, community leaders and senior executives even thinking about attempting the walk? And will they manage to complete the whole journey, or shall their boardroom bodies be scraped off the ground, unable to take another step?
The reason these hardy, or foolish, souls, are putting their feet on the path is due to the efforts of the ever-persuasive Menslink CEO Martin Fisk. For those who don’t know him, Martin is a man full of energy and he’s hard to say no to.
Menslink supports young men across our region by encouraging them to speak up and get help, provides short-term counselling and longer-term mentoring – in essence, helping young guys in Canberra through tough times. And it works.
Taking five days to complete, Martin hopes the 2021 Menslink Great Walk will be an epic adventure that will stay with the walkers for life.
The group will set out from Parliament House on Tuesday (2 November) and walk up to 30 km per day, finishing the loop at the starting point on Saturday, 6 November.
The route goes through Watson to Hall, then to Black Mountain, Stromlo, Tuggeranong and return to the city.
The walkers were given a fitness training program to prepare and daily physio and recovery support on the walk from Southside Physio.
Each night the walkers will rest their weary bodies and aching feet at Abode Hotels which have sponsored the accommodation for the team.
Of course, not only has Martin challenged these corporate leaders to the rigours of the walk, but he has also asked them to commit to raising $10,000 each.
“Thirty senior people from across the community have been working on their resilience to get ready for this walk, to help fund our programs to help young men find their resilience,” Martin says.
“They are wonderful for giving up their time and I cannot thank them, and the people who are donating to support them, enough.
“Every contribution will go directly to Menslink to support our programs that support young men and their families in the Canberra community.”
So just who has been talked into taking on this epic challenge?
Among the group is the CEO of Geocon and Iconic Hotels, Nick Georgalis, who, while reasonably fit, says he is a little nervous taking on five days of walking.
“I have completed half marathons, so I think I have a fair idea of how to tackle endurance. I am sure we will smash the first day, but it’s the subsequent days where we will just have to grin and bear it,” Nick says.
Nick says Geocon has embraced the work of Menslink, providing mentors as well as sponsorship.
“Part of our philosophy is to provide support not just in dollars but also in time. That’s why I am prepared to take a week out of my time to give back, to support Martin and the important work that Menslink does.”
Canberra Southern Cross Club CEO Ian Mackay has taken up the challenge and promised $1 from every main meal sold at the Canberra Southern Cross Clubs.
Other notable adventurers and Region Media Partners are BAL Lawyers CEO Cecilia Blewitt, ActewAGL group manager of strategic partners Sean Davis, Vantage Strata CEO Chris Miller, Village Building Co GM of development Nathan Ross, Detlev’s MD Grae Munro, and DDCS managing partner Julie Dobinson.
Region Media’s Group Editor Genevieve Jacobs has also taken on the challenge and will provide daily updates. And, as much as we are keen to hear how everyone is faring, hopefully, she will spare us the blister and chafing details.
See the full list of who is walking this year and donate at Great Walk 2021.
Stay tuned for updates during the week and say ‘hi’ to the group of suits in boots if you see them on your stretch of the trail.