Previous Blue Mountains Trek for Timor supporters John Tweedie, Sue Atherton, and the Finch family are taking on the Virtual Trek for Timor this October in very different ways. Choose your Virtual Trek option at www.trekfortimorbm.org.au
John Tweedie has been involved in every Blue Mountains Trek for Timor since the first trek in 2010. He has trekked, he has volunteered on the day and also been part of the organising committee.
Mr Tweedie said: "I've been to Timor Leste a number of times and seen how our funds can really make a difference to the lives of people in the area we support - Hatobuilico - and I'm hoping that sponsors will get behind me and help make this year's Trek for Timor as successful as the past Treks".
While he's been unable to take part in organising the trek over the past few years due to illness, now it's a different story. "I am in complete remission from the cancer and feeling very fit. So, what to do with that fitness! I decided to challenge myself by mirroring the Virtual Trek journey from Dili to Hatobuilico in East Timor with a real 120km trek journey over six days from the Sydney suburb of Chatswood all the way up to my Blue Mountains home in Blackheath."
Sue Atherton from Katoomba is a stalwart of the trek, having been involved in four of the five Blue Mountains treks, walking the 50km trek and helping out with course marking.
This year she was going to compete in the Ultra Trail Australia 100km event in the Blue Mountains, but as it has been cancelled she is going to use her training to complete the whole 100km Virtual Trek for Timor in one day.
Ms Atherton said: "The reason I do events like this is so I can use my passion for being out in the bush to help raise much-needed funds, in this case, for the people of East Timor. If putting on a tutu means that people will be more generous in their sponsorship, then I'll put on a tutu. I benefit in so many ways participating in Trek for Timor; I get to spend time in the bush while I train and while I undertake the event. Both training and undertaking the event give me a huge personal sense of achievement."
Her commitment to fundraising "serves many purposes for me, most importantly is the way that the funds raised can help others. For me personally, having friends and family sponsor me gives me a buzz knowing that they support me in what I am doing. When the going gets tough, and it does in endurance events, I just think of all the sponsors and the support they have shown me and that lifts me over the rough patches."
Charlie Finch and Alice Gibson have completed the 30, 45 and 50km treks with various friends over several years, and Mr Finch said: "Every time was a huge physical feat but also a satisfying achievement to fundraise for the cause".
Having been to East Timor and seen the direct impact of the fundraising, this has only inspired Mr Finch to do more.
This year, with one toddler and Ms Gibson pregnant with a little sister or brother for Thomas, the family will enjoy the flexibility of the new virtual trek.
Mr Finch looks forward to continuing their fundraising efforts by "Making strides along my local Sydney bush tracks and remembering the long, windy and beaten track from Dili to Hatobuilico and even higher to among the clouds on the top of Mount Ramelau."