On Saturday the 11th of November, 2023, on Remembrance Day, almost 1,000 eager hikers and trail runners gathered at the Land Warfare Centre in Canungra, otherwise known as Kokoda Barracks, to pay their respects to our fallen ANZACs.
The Kokoda Legacy event was first held in 2022 as a one-off occasion to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 1942 Kokoda Campaign. In 2023, the event was resurrected by popular demand to celebrate the centenary of Legacy Australia.
Through this event, participants had the option to fundraise for Kokoda Youth Foundation and Gold Coast Legacy, with 100% of the proceeds from their registration fee also being donated to these two local charities.
In 2022, $47,820.97 was donated to Gold Coast Legacy to assist them in caring for the families of those who served our country. Another $47,820.97 was donated to Kokoda Youth Foundation to support us on our mission to change the lives of young people in the community through the Spirit of the 1942 Kokoda Campaign.
In 2023, an additional $32,450 was donated to Gold Coast Legacy as a result of the fundraising efforts and community support of all our Kokoda Legacy participants and supporters, with another $32,450 being donated to Kokoda Youth Foundation.
Participants had the option to choose from a 5km, 10km, 20km or 30km course, which ventured through the Canungra army base. This is where our Diggers were trained in jungle warfare before being deployed to New Guinea in 1942 and continues to serve as a army training base to this day.
Our most popular Kokoda Legacy event was the 30km course, which 41% of our participants registered for. 30% registered for the 20km, 25% for the 10km and 4% registered for the 5km Remembrance Walk. The 5km course was a gentle walk to a significant memorial inside the Barracks, where participants were given a poppy to lay to rest and pay their respects. This was an all ages course too and was fantastic to see so many young children join their family in honouring those who served our country on Remembrance Day.
Overall, 56% of our participants were females across all Kokoda Legacy distances, with our oldest participant being 78 years of age, who took part in the 5km Remembrance Walk.
While this was the final Kokoda Legacy event being held by the Kokoda Youth Foundation, we look forward to an ongoing relationship with Gold Coast Legacy. Our youth program participants will be engaging in community service with the Gold Coast Legatees as a part of their 9-month commitment to the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
The Kokoda Youth Foundation also looks forward to continuing the relationship with the Land Warfare Centre in Canungra, with other projects including the relocation of the Canungra Vietnam Memorial, as well as continuing to hold our 48km and 96km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge through sections of the Australian Defence Force land.
Thank you to all participants, volunteers, donors, sponsors and staff who assisted us in delivering another exceptional Kokoda Legacy event, and helping us in supporting another Gold Coast charity in helping change the lives of local families.