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Old 20-05-2005, 06:05 PM
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World Class athletes sign up for a Record Breaking Kokoda Marathon

TWO of the world’s best athletes have put their hands up to compete in the 24-hour Kokoda marathon race in August this year.

Professional and world class runners Troy de Hass and Jim Russell, from Australia, will compete with the locals in running the gruelling 96km Kokoda Trail from the 27th – 28th August to set a record time of 24 hours.

Both elites will join the record breaking event which starts at Kokoda Station about midday finishes at Ower’s Corner on Sunday to break the record of 24 hours, 59 minutes and 26 seconds set by Australia’s Brian Freeman last year.

An 'Events Committee' will run this event. All the athletes will have to do is fly in and compete as everything will be taking care of by the organising comittee. The Gateway Hotel has generously agreed to sponsor competitors in this race.

The previous record was held by two locals who clocked in at 27 and 28 hours respectively with an hours difference in between.

Troy, 25, from Victoria decided to join in the race after locating Rusty’s 24-hour Super Kokoda Race on the Kokoda website www.kokodatrail.com.pg.

An elite orienteer, Troy is among the top three in the Australian Orienteering Elite Ranking Scheme and have represented Australia at various world championships and world games in running, adventure racing and orienteering.

Troy has lived in Europe for the last five years as a professional athlete and has always kept an eye out for new challenges so he couldn’t resist when he came across the event on the website.

Jim who is also from Victoria was convinced by Troy and it seems both men will compete side by side during the event.

The world elites are very keen in taking part in the race and are looking forward to it.

Says Troy: “I have done a lot of reading about the history of Kokoda Track and PNG people and I am very excited to see and visit these places.

Troy said he has competed in more than 30 countries in the world, but nothing like Papua New Guinea.

“I have done a lot of forest, terrain and mountain running but nothing like 98 km. I will do my best to prepare for the track.”

Troy will be competing in Japan and Cairns two weeks before the event and says Kokoda would be a big challenge for him. He says it is also a way for young people to know about the Kokoda Trail as the more publicity it receives the better. This is Troy's way of helping to put PNG and the Kokoda Trail on everyone's lips as he suspects the media will follow what he is doing and more young people will learn about Kokoda and what it represents..

“But I would sure like to have a crack at the record,” said the world class runner.


Tro de Hass competing in an orienteering event - hence the map in his hand.....
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