By Imogen Knowles
A Brisbane man is two weeks into completing an approximate 900km walk from Coolangatta to Sydney in a hope to raise $50,000 or more for Oxfam Australia.
Glen Hammermeister, 27, from Bulimba, started his journey on May 29 and will continue to walk along the coast until he reaches Sydney in approximately 80 days.
Mr Hammermeister said he was inspired by his recent trip to Thailand and some volunteer work he did teaching English in East Timor.
“You feel like you want to contribute something to the community,” Mr Hammermeister said.
“I felt like I wanted to do something more than teaching and this was a good opportunity.
“I didn’t want to just walk to the Gold Coast or something.
“I wanted it to be a long walk. I wanted to feel some hardship. To really feel something of what it’s like,” Mr Hammermeister said.
Mr Hammermeister will stop at major locations along the way including Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie to seek sponsorship and raise money and awareness for Oxfam and the work that they do.
“I’ve heard of Oxfams’ work for years and years and once we got over [to East Timor] I got an appreciation for their work and what they do,” Mr Hammermeister said.
“They set them up with skills, like farming skills, to support themselves and get themselves out of their situation.”
Oxfam Australia National Events Manager Carrie Fletcher said she wishes Mr Hammermeister all the best.
“I think a lot of people will get behind him and support him,” Miss Fletcher said.
“We think it is amazing that Glen wants to walk from the Gold Coast to Sydney to experience what it might be like for people who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
The money raised will go towards helping communities, most likely in South-East Asia, build sustainable lives.
“Everything he will raise is worthwhile and will go towards helping us continue our work in other countries and enrich peoples’ lives,” Miss Fletcher said.
Although Mr Hammermeister has done no official training, he runs approximately five to 10 kilometers everyday or every second day.
“I haven’t actually done any training for this apart from walking 10 kilometers along the sand at the Gold Coast just to try out the pack and the weight and that sort of thing,” Mr Hammermeister said.
Central Queensland University Associate Professor Peter Reaburn said he would have recommended Mr Hammermeister to do some beach walk training before he left because walking on a canvid surface, such as a beach, raises certain problems.
“If you do a lot of walking on a canvid surface, ankle and knee problems may occur because of the soft sand,” Associate Professor Reaburn said.
“[Also] he would need to be carrying nutritious food and enough fluids.
“I’d suggest he carries protein powder and water to get him through the long days,” said Associate Professor Reaburn.
Mr Hammermeister said he is a bit anxious about the walk but is looking forward to it.
“I guess at the start I’m going to be thinking, am I really doing this?” Mr Hammermeister said.
“[But] I think when I have blisters and sore knees and aches and pains I’ll be thinking of the people who have it a lot worse than I have.”
Mr Hammermeister is currently on day 11 of his journey.
Follow Glen’s progress via his blog www.walkagainstwant.blogspot.com
See also Oxfam Australia