Kokoda Track for Project Happiness

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Steve Ellery, Ben O'Connor, brothers Marcus and Adam Schembri, and Dean Mobbs are in training to walk the Kokoda Track. Photo: NADINE MORTON 061717nmkokoda1

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Steve Ellery, Ben O'Connor, brothers Marcus and Adam Schembri, and Dean Mobbs are in training to walk the Kokoda Track. Photo: NADINE MORTON 061717nmkokoda1

WHAT does a builder, an artist, a stock agent, a sales rep and a police detective have in common?

For these Bathurst men, the common link is their aim to push themselves beyond the limits to help others.

They have joined forces to train in an effort to complete the Kokoda Track later this year.

The 96-kilometre long track is narrow and winds its way over the rugged mountains of Papua New Guinea.

The track’s reputation is well known to many Australians, and in 1942 it was the location where 625 Australians were killed and more than 1600 wounded during battle.

Steve Ellery has already completed a couple of treks – Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu – and was keen to round up some friends to take on the Kokoda Track.

Without hesitation, his mates Dean Mobbs, Ben O’Connor and brothers Marcus and Adam Schembri agreed.

They will complete the trek in nine days for Project Happiness to raise funds for mental health charity Beyond Blue.

Amid much laughter and ribbing the five men, who have known each other for years, say this is an important cause to highlight.

“It’s to raise money and awareness [for Beyond Blue] and a bit of a challenge to ourselves,” Mr Ellery said.

“I’m looking forward to it and getting a good bunch of like-minded people together to do it.

“It’s something to tick off the bucket list.”

The five mates admit straight away, this may just be the hardest thing they have ever done.

“It’s jungle, it’s steep and it’s hard, it’s got everything. It’s going to be a tough walk,” Mr Ellery said.

It’s jungle, it’s steep and it’s hard, it’s got everything. It’s going to be a tough walk. - Steve Ellery

Mr O’Connor said the “mental aspect” of completing such a tough trek will be the hardest part.

“But with your mates you can get through anything,” he said.

The men started training a couple of months ago, with the team alternating between Mount Panorama, the Blue Mountains and street walks.

During training they carry packs, each weighing up to 15 kilograms, to help prepare them for what they say will be a very difficult journey.

The team will leave Australia on September 15.

To make a donation visit the Project Happiness fundraising link.

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