‘It was tough’: Sarah and Maddy endure on the Kokoda Track

WE MADE IT: Sarah Lauff and Maddy Hawthorne after completing the Kokoda Track. Photo: contributed

WALKING 147 kilometres in any circumstance is a massive effort, but Maddy Hawthorne and Sarah Lauff know what they’ve just achieved is beyond special.

The pair completed the Kokoda Track, a 10-day, 147km journey with an elevation range spanning 1800m.

Both girls said it was tough.

But as members of the 35-strong group who walked the track for the RSL and Services Clubs Association’s annual Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge, Miss Hawthorne and Miss Lauff know while the trek was as physically demanding as any activity they’ve both endured, the battle is definitely between the ears.

“We all sort of pulled each other along,” Miss Hawthrone said.

“It was tough physically but mental strength was important as well,” Miss Lauff added.

The pair both received a $6000 grant from the Orange Ex-Services Club to take part in the annual youth leadership challenge trek on the unrelenting Papua New Guinea walk.

Miss Hawthorne, 19, said it’s an experience she won’t forget.

TOUGH TRIP: Sarah Lauff and Maddy Hawthorne. Photo: NICK McGRATH 1012nmkokoda1

And for 24-year-old Miss Lauff, she had a piece of family history motivating her to overcome both the track and illness mid-way through the journey.

“For me I was doing it for my grandfather who recently passed away, but he was over there when he was 18 in 1942,” she said.

“That was why I wanted to do it.”

Miss Hawthorne said she’s now developed a greater understanding of the ordeal Australian troops had at Kokoda.

“I did it to learn a little bit about history,” she said.

“I wanted to expand my horizons on what I knew about it and obviously it’s a big physical challenge, it’s something I wanted to sort of one day get the chance to do.

“It’s a good leadership opportunity, and doing it through the Youth Leadership Challenge program was a really good way to do it

“We worked with lots of young people during this amazing experience.”

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