By Sophia Hatzis | Digital Content Producer at Wild Women On Top
If you saw Team Capri out on the trail during Melbourne Coastrek, you would have been struck by their matching Batgirl outfits. Each team member sported a Batman t-shirt, a black tutu, a bat buff, bat gaiters, and a cape on their backpacks. These four women, three of whom are breast cancer survivors, looked as super as they are.
But their superhero costume wasn’t just for fun. The theme had special meaning and significance to the team. They wore their Batgirl outfits in memory of team member Julie’s son, Tim, who took his own life in July last year.
These four fabulous friends trained together and stuck by each other every step of the way. Team Capri's Julie Owen, Linda Papworth, Jennifer Saunders, and Jennifer Francis won our Best Dressed award for Melbourne Coastrek 2019. Julie explains the meaning behind the theme, how Team Capri went about their training, and what new Coastrekkers should keep in mind.
Why did you want to do Coastrek?
It appeared on Facebook and my friend Jenny Saunders sent it to me and said, “What do you think?” Between the two of us we just went, “Let’s do it. We can do this.” We put it to a third friend who said yes, and we knew a fourth who would be interested as well. Once we really looked at it properly and understood what it was all about, it just grabbed us.
It was really special for us to be part of supporting The Fred Hollows Foundation. That means a lot to us. We’re breast cancer survivors, so we’d supported breast cancer causes for a long time, and when we saw the difference it could make to people, gaining their sight back, we just thought: "This is wonderful".
We hadn’t done any significant walking previously, or trekking, so we thought we'd start small. We just slowly built up our distance. We were thinking about the terrain and about where we were going to be walking. During the week we’d walk individually and then we'd catch catch up every weekend and go somewhere different.
The training together as a team sounds like a significant part of the experience for you?
Massively. We found that doing it together was just 100 times easier. It was so much more enjoyable. You encouraged each other, you motivated each other, you meet other Coastrekkers. When we saw other girls on tracks in different places we’d ask: “Are you Coastrekkers as well?" It was fun. It was great to exchange information about what you were doing for your fundraising and things like that.
We did a training walk at Point Nepean to check it out so there were no surprises. We did a 20km trek and that was one of the best things for us. We’d psyched ourselves up, so we were on fire.
We thought, “We’re doing this together." If somebody struggled, then we’d all stick together, because we knew it could happen to any one of us. We took our time and we just laughed, had fun, and got through.
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Congratulations to team Capri, winners of our Best Dressed Award for Melbourne Coastrek 2019. You've won 4 x $100 Paddy Pallin vouchers. You ladies are truly inspiring and looked damn amazing. ? But, more important, is the story behind the outfits. Their team captain, Julie, writes: "There is a bit more behind our Bat Girls team Capri. My beautiful team asked if okay for us to theme as Bat girls in memory of my son Tim who took his own life in July last year. He was 25 a beautiful person and had his life ahead of him. I can't begin to tell you what it meant to me to be asked this and then for the amazing support as we walked and walked ready for last Friday and then on Friday to also be with such a wonderful group of walkers who took photos of us and cheered us on. It was a challenge also because 3 of us are breast cancer survivors. Coastrekers you are an inspiration! Keep on trekking, you truely rock! Thank you xxxx" Julie, Jennifer, Jennifer and Linda - you are amazing and we are thrilled to have you as part of the Coastrek community. ? We had some other AMAZING costumes on Event Day, so congrats to all the runners up featured in our Instagram story... and those we don't have pictures of (send them to us!) - you looked sensational. ??
Can you tell me about your costume and the significance of it?
I’m a Dragon boater. Myself, Jenny Saunders, and Linda Papworth were in Italy in June last year at an international dragon boat festival. We were just two days from coming home. Jenny Saunders and I travelled together. That was when I received the call from my husband that Tim [my son] had passed away. So, my friend was with me and organising me to get home the next day, straight away.
We’d been together through that, and for me Coastrek really, really helped in giving me a focus, a positive – doing something for someone else. Being together as a team, that just worked beautifully.
We’d been walking a little bit before my friend Jenny said, “What do you think about us doing a theme for Batman in Tim’s memory?” I thought, “Let’s do it. That’s a beautiful thought." I knew the girls wanted to do it. I realised as soon as I said yes that it was the best thing. It just made it all more special, and more beautiful, and a lot more meaning for us all as well.
My friends are full of fun, especially Jenny Saunders. She said, “Right, this is what we can do. I can make gaiters with Batman material." [We had] black tutus. I wore Tim’s t-shirt which was really special and the girls each bought themselves a Batman shirt each as well. Jenny made the headbands... and the little Batman capes on our backpacks. It just added to it. Having the theme, but having a reason for the theme as well, it was amazing, really amazing.
What did you love most about Coastrek?
What I loved about Coastrek was getting women outdoors, trying something different, and having a goal. I loved that concept. It’s achievable. I think from Wild Women On Top starting this, you can see how quickly it grows. Already, people I’ve told about it [are] interested and I can see it growing massively.
I loved being outdoors in beautiful places with beautiful people, exercising together, having fun, and achieving together. There isn’t one thing, there’s a few things that made Coastrek special for me. And now we’re looking at doing Adelaide. We love it!
What would be your advice for new Coastrekkers?
Do it. Start small, have your benchmark, and go from there. Build yourselves up slowly, and enjoy every minute of it. It’s not just about the Event Day. It’s about your training up to it. Event Day is the icing on the cake. Just enjoy it all. Don’t be too stressed about your time and about finishing. Just enjoy the experience. Finishing is fantastic and if you come in at a decent time, all the better. But just enjoy it.
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