GREAT BOND: The Coast’s Never, Never Give Up team of Caroline Marshall, Brooke Menzies, Ros Graham and Andrew Gannaway have completed the Oxfam Trailwalker charity trek.
GREAT BOND: The Coast’s Never, Never Give Up team of Caroline Marshall, Brooke Menzies, Ros Graham and Andrew Gannaway have completed the Oxfam Trailwalker charity trek. Kristy Muir

Late friend's words push team through 100km charity hike

A TWO-minute video of the late Sammy Naudin talking about never, never giving up was the inspiration a Sunshine Coast foursome needed to complete the final leg of their 100km hike.

Team Never, Never Give Up made it through the gruelling Oxfam Trailwalker challenge in Brisbane last weekend.

Of the 179 teams that started the trek, only 69 crossed the finish line with their four team members.

Noosa Heads resident Caroline Marshall, who brought the group together in memory of her departed friend Sammy, who died of cancer in 2012, said her team-mates were an inspiration.

"We did it - we finished in 30 hours and 10 minutes," she said.

"Everyone gave it their all.

"It was one of the hardest physical and emotional challenges I have ever experienced - up there with giving birth to my beautiful boys.

"I am so proud of team Never, Never Give Up.

"I played this video message from Sam at 6.30am after we had been walking all day and all night and still had a seven-and-a-half hour trek in front of us.

"It really helped us battle on during those last few hours. Sammy gave us the strength we needed to finish."

Caroline covered the entire trek in the bright pink runners Sammy had bought for herself but never got to wear.

"The shoes were half a size too big for Sam, but fortunately they fit me," Caroline said.

"Sammy asked me to send them back and exchange them for another size, but I never had time to and two weeks later she lost her fight with cancer. So I put the shoes in the bottom of my wardrobe - until I decided to do the walk."

While Caroline was the glue that held the team together, she said everyone had their role in the group.

Brooke Menzies was the "true battler" - she went into the 100km challenge injured and despite being in "noticeable pain" the whole time, she never gave up.

Andrew Gannaway was a pillar of strength for the team and when the girls were all ready to crawl up in a ball on the dirt and go to sleep, he kept them awake by asking them questions and keeping them entertained.

And when all hope seemed lost, Ros Graham was the optimist and voice of reason. She also had the ability to make her fellow walkers see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We will be able to hold on to this experience and memory for the rest of our lives," Caroline said.

"We were friends before, but sharing the experience has made us true friends forever.

"It just bonds you when you go through such an emotionally up-and-down experience."


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