With a passion for hiking and running as well as wanting to do something for a good cause, Angie Francisco signed up with three workmates for the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2008. The trailwalker is Australia’s original 100-kilometre team challenge that raises funds for Oxfam. Basically, a team of four has 48 hours to complete the distance.
“It is definitely an endurance event that tests your mind and body. It also supports Oxfam’s work to help people in poverty in Australia and abroad,” Angie said.
In Sydney, the annual event goes from Brooklyn to Mosman following the Great North Walk and the Harbour to Hawkesbury Walking Track.
“The trail is so beautiful with its amazing water views and natural bush vistas.”
The Lake Macquarie resident loved doing it as a team event. She describes the mutual trust and friendship that developed between the team members as incredible. This camaraderie grew from training together, being in the event, supporting each other and other teams through to the emotional finish.
“It is a huge feat to cross the line as you have pushed yourself to the next threshold through the physical challenge and sleep deprivation. We did it in 32 hours! I felt euphoric, even dragging a bung knee for the last 30kms.”
Above: Angie Francisco
Her knee took six weeks of physiotherapy to heal. The damage was due to the pressure on the knee as it twisted and turned on the rough bush tracks and took the up and downs of the hilly terrain. But even after this injury, the corporate communications specialist was hooked and went on with different teams to complete Melbourne in 2010 then Brisbane 2012.
Angie describes the process each time as “sheer joy” – from training with the team and building camaraderie to being in nature and enjoying its beauty through to the sense of achievement and celebrations.
“It was a real win-win for me because I was out in the bush enjoying some of the most beautiful walks and contributing to the community. We raised $20,000 over the three events.“
She was ready to tick off on her bucket list completing all of the Australian Oxfam Trailwalkers; then Perth was added.
“It is now on my list and maybe, the UK one.”
Her other bucket ticks include Larapinta Trail, Machu Picchu, Mount Kilimanjaro, Phi Phi Islands and Tasmania’s South Coast Track.
“Also on my list was being a foster carer because I believe raising strong, resilient and happy people can solve most of the world’s issues,” she said.
So, Angie, her husband and two children are sharing their love with another child. When the three children are older, the family will support more children through emergency and respite foster care.
“Next on my list is taking the kids to the snow for them to have a magical and mystical memory of this natural wonder.“
She says her bucket list is ongoing and includes a food, wine and culture experience in France as well as an Ultra-Trail in the Blue Mountains.
“Maybe when the children are old enough, we can do the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane together, I can re-tick them then go on to complete Perth and the UK as a family.”