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Defence, Youth

Three Generations Unite to Conquer Brisbane Kokoda Challenge, Honoring Family Legacy and Empowering Youth

The Kokoda Challenge 2 mins read

On Saturday, June 3rd, Rick Stewart, along with his father and son, will embark on a remarkable journey as they tackle the arduous 30km Brisbane Kokoda Challenge. Their endeavour is not only a personal test of endurance but also a tribute to their family's legacy of service in the New Zealand Armed Forces.


Rick Stewart, a 45-year-old avid hiker and trail runner, initially began his outdoor pursuits earlier this year as part of his weight loss journey. However, his passion quickly grew, propelling him to take on Australia's toughest team endurance event - The Kokoda Challenge. "I started hiking back in January as a weight loss thing, and now I'm madly hooked," Rick admitted with enthusiasm.


When Rick faced the challenge of assembling a team for the upcoming Brisbane Kokoda Challenge event, a brilliant idea emerged. With his father, Robert, visiting from New Zealand to spend time with their newborn baby, Rick seized the opportunity to unite the three generations. Robert, a 67-year-old hiking enthusiast himself, eagerly embraced the chance to join his son for a gruelling 30-kilometer trek through the rugged hills of Brookfield's D'Aguilar National Park. It wasn't long before Rick's 15-year-old son, Tyler, expressed his desire to be part of this unique experience, cherishing the rare opportunity to undertake this adventure alongside his father and grandfather. "I said to Tyler that it's not very often that you get to do stuff with your dad and your grandad at the same time," Rick shared.


Rick's motivation to undertake The Kokoda Challenge also stems from his deep admiration for his grandfathers, both of whom served in the Australian Defence Force. He proudly reflects on their heroic contributions: "My grandfathers, both of them, served in World War II. One was in the navy, and the other was in the army. My maternal grandfather served aboard the HMNZS Achilles, a warship, while my paternal grandfather was captured in Greece and marched through to Poland in the camps where he was kept as a prisoner of war.”


The Stewart family is not only driven by their desire to honour their family history but also by their commitment to supporting worthy causes. The Kokoda Challenge event serves as a fundraiser for life-changing local youth programs, a fact that deeply resonates with Rick and his family. The Brisbane event, organised by the Kokoda Youth Foundation, has already raised over $180,000 to date. These generous donations directly fund experiential mentoring programs, empowering disengaged Australian youth to unlock their full potential.


Despite the average finish time of 7 hours and 47 minutes for the 30km event, the Stewart family is determined to complete the challenge in an impressive 5 hours. Conquering the steep inclines, which boast a total elevation of over 1,100 meters, through hiking, and trail running across the flat sections and downhills, they aim to finish the gruelling 30km course nearly three hours ahead of last year's average. Such an accomplishment would exemplify their unwavering spirit and exceptional physical endurance.


The Stewart Family will set off from the 30km Kokoda Challenge start line at 9:00am on Saturday the 3rd of June at Brookfield Recreation Reserve under team name “3 GEN”.


Brisbane Kokoda Challenge

Event date: Saturday 3rd of June

Distances: 18km, 30km, 48km

Location: Brookfield Recreation Reserve with the course winding through D’Aguilar National Park

Start times:

                48km starting at 7:30am

                30km starting at 9:00am

                18km starting at 11:00am


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