23 JULY: ARRIVAL DAY
Welcome to PNG! Now it’s real! Get settled into your accommodation at the 5 Star Luxury Stanley Hotel and then come and join us for the pre race briefing, mandatory gear check and welcome dinner and drinks.
24 JULY: RACE DAY 1 > OWERS CORNER TO NAORO
DISTANCE > 20.3KM
ELEVATION GAIN >1806m
TOTAL DESCENT >1406m
We start the race under the arches at Owers Corner. To start it will be a steep descent towards the Goldie River crossing. You will slowly start to climb towards Imita Ridge, firstly ascending the once know “Golden Stairs” to the peak. Imita ridge was the Australians last and final stand, there was to be no further withdrawal from this area. From here you once again descend the very steep ridge into the beautiful and spectacular Ua Ule Creek area and then start to climb towards Iorabaiwa Ridge. This area was the furthest most point of the Japanese advance. Once at the top of this very tiring climb, you will descend into Ofi Creek for a well rewarded cool off before embarking on a steep climb initially and then steadily ascending the Maguli Range which is the highest point on this section of the trail. Once at the top its only a short downhill section to the first overnight campsite atNaoro Village.
25 JULY: RACE DAY 2 > NAORO TO TEMPLETON’S 1 CAMPSITE
CHECK POINTS > BROWN RIVER , MENARI , EFOGI 1
ELEVATION GAIN >2709m
TOTAL DESCENT > 1782m
It will be an early morning start to what will be a long day on the trail with some big climbing ahead for the runners.
Firstly you will descend the “11 False Peaks” into the Naoro Swamps one you have ploughed your way through the swamps you will cross the Brown River. This whole section is fairly flat until you face a climb commonly known as the “Wall”. It’s a short but very, very steep climb to the top. You will then descend the other side of the “Wall” (Menari Gap) into the Menari Village.
From Menari it’s a big and tiring climb to Brigade Hill. Brigade Hill and Mission Ridge was the scene of a bloody and ferocious battle during the 6-8 September 1942. 101 Australian Soldiers were killed in these battles.
The descent from Brigade Hill to Efogi 1 Village is relatively moderate with only a short steeper climb to Efogi 2 Village. The descent from Efogo 2 is also short but quite steep. From this point you will embark on the longest, steepest and sometimes muddiest climb ( pending weather conditions) of the day, slowly making your way up towards Mount Bellamy which is around 2190m above sea level and highest point of the Kokoda Track.
To get to the top of Mount Bellamy you will first pass a village called Naduri. Past Naduri, you start to enter an area that is prehistoric looking and absolutely stunning in nature.This section is the Moss and Ancient Beech Forest. There is a small decent towards camp 1900 that is in an area commonly know as the “Kokoda Gap”. The Kokoda Gap was the area that Generals Macarthur and Blamey wanted to blow up and make it our own Thermopylae with our troops playing the 300 Spartans part. The down side to the plan is that the Gap is 12 km wide, and all the Spartans died!
Finally from here you will traverse the final hill of the day to the summit of Mount Bellamy before descending toward the second over night campsite at Templeton’s 1. Aside from relaxing at camp you can also take a dip into Eora Creek for a “ice bath” to ease your aching muscles.
26 JULY : RACE DAY 3 > TEMPLETON’S 1 TO KOKODA
CHECK POINTS > ALOLA
DISTANCE > 30.5KM
ELEVATION GAIN >1003m
TOTAL DESCENT >2563m
You will start the day crossing the firstEora Creek bridge just below camp and then making your way through to Templeton’s 2 Campsite climbing slightly until you descend steeply towards the secondEora Creek crossing. This whole area is also know as the lost battlefield which was once a Japanese “Forest Fort” that overlooked the Eora creek.
From here you will continue towards the village Alola. Once you past through the village you will make your way to the Isurava Memorial. Isurava was the scene of a 4-day battle that has been described as the battle that saved Australia. There is a beautiful memorial here with the four Granite pillars inscribed with the words Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice. We ask all runners to spend a few minutes for reflection and take in this now beautiful location.
Past the memorial site, you will continue back on the main Kokoda Trail through the village Isurava and then descend towards another village Deniki with one final steep descent until you hit flatter ground. This will be the start of your final sprint to the finish at Kokoda , passing through the villages of Hoi and Kovello.
It’s an awesome and fulfilling experience as you finish by crossing under the arches at Kokoda. To appreciate and realise you have just completed theKokoda Trail in 3 days, running and trekking in the footsteps of heroes. WELL DONE!
Now you can recover and relax with your fellow runners, adventurers and mates.
It will be an overnight camp stay in Kokoda that also includes a memorial service at the Kokoda battlefield.
27 JULY :DEPART KOKODA FOR PORT MORESBY
We all depart Kokoda in the morning via a chartered flight arriving in Port Moresby. We will return to our accommodation at the 5 Star Luxury Stanley Hotel where you can relax, freshen up and really reflect on the incredible journey you have just successfully completed.
We meet again in the early evening for presentations and post event dinner and drinks.
28 JULY :DEPARTURE DAY
Depart Port Moresby for home…time to rest your legs and say goodbye to PNG, a place that will stay in your memory for a lifetime. Soak up that feeling of achievement, adventure and endurance …it’s well deserved!