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Pain and plenty of gain

Thursday, 13th October, 2011

CHALLENGE: Elliot Mallon with a memento carved by his team’s leader on the walk. CHALLENGE: Elliot Mallon with a memento carved by his team’s leader on the walk.

By Erica Visser 

Teenager Elliot Mallon said that three weeks of hiking up the Line of Lode did nothing to prepare him for the intensity of the 96-kilometre Kokoda Track. 

Mr Mallon has just returned to Broken Hill from the nine-day trek through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea where Australian and Japanese troops fought in World War Two.

He said that it was the hardest thing he had ever done physically but that it was more about mental endurance.

“A girl passed out on the second day and was evacuated by the medical team but she was more determined than all of us,” Mr Mallon said.

“It’s not so much about physical ability, but mental state.

“If you tell yourself you’re going to finish it then you will.”

Mr Mallon spent 12 hours a day walking and only stopped for lunch.

“It wasn’t so much the walking that was hard but doing it through the deep mud,” he said.

“We lived off rice, spam, beans and pasta and, if you were lucky, you got Weet-Bix for breakfast - all high carb food because you needed so much energy.” 

There was some pain, such as blisters on his heel which he had to burst with a pocket knife on day two, but Mr Mallon recommended the Kokoda Track to anyone.

“Initially I decided to do Kokoda because it came up as an opportunity - not many people get to go.

“After I went over there it was more than an opportunity, it was a real learning curve and a great experience.”

Mr Mallon said that he would do the trek again, given the chance.

“I didn’t regret it at any point. I told myself I was going to complete it.

“I give a big thank you to the clubs in Broken Hill who helped me through it.” 

Although it has not been confirmed, Mr Mallon said that interested locals may be able to apply to do the trek through Clubs Australia early next year. 

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