Why Coastrek Is A Team Event

30 Apr 2024

We get asked a lot of questions here at Coastrek HQ, but one of the most common is a variation on ‘Is Coastrek a team event?’ or ‘Can I enter Coastrek as a single?’ 

The answer is yes, and no. 

Coastrek was founded as a team event. From the birth of Wild Women On Top, which is the brand that created the first Coastrek back in 2009, tens of thousands of trekkers have hiked together in teams across Australia’s most spectacular coastlines. They’ve trained together, fundraised together, shared laughs, trail treats and tears, tended to one another’s blisters and their chafing in unmentionable places, and crossed the finish line as a team. 

Wild Women treasure the power of team because Together, Everyone Achieves More. 

This is a central pillar of the Wild Women On Top Coastrek ethos, and goes way back to when our Founder, Di Westaway OAM, embarked on her first ever hiking adventure. 

The origin of the team ethos

Nearly 25 years ago, Di was a newbie hiker who impulsively signed to climb the highest mountain in South America, Mt Aconcagua in the Andes Mountains. Out of seven climbers, including five men and two women, only one man reached the top. The women were too slow to acclimatise, so they got left behind. 

Di was one of them.

She was so disappointed with this failed mountain trek that she decided to start a women’s only, team-based hiking community on Sydney’s Northern Beaches that never left anyone behind. 

She wanted her teams to stick together, to support one another against the odds, even if it meant sacrificing the final goal. For her, the adventure was about the journey ahead of the destination, the women ahead of the journey. 

Eight years later, Di and a highly trained team of ‘Wild Women On Top’ returned to Mt Aconcagua, after 12 months of hard-core trek training. They worked together beautifully, each woman playing to her strengths for the benefit of the team. Cooperation ahead of competition.

When food was scarce, Eileen bartered for eggs. When Di had a hot flush on summit day, Annie helped her execute a complete wardrobe change whilst teetering on ice in crampons. When Meerie got a sinus infection, Shauna had just the antibiotic in her first aid kit. When Sharon was exhausted, Amanda helped carry her pack. And when they got lost high on the mountain, Karla found a safe way back to camp.  

Five out of eight women summited; a mountain record for the year! 

This confirmed Di’s feeling that joining a team not only feels better, it improves confidence, maximises success and enhances joy in the wild. And as the Coastrek program and event unfolded, she discovered there is a growing body of scientific research supporting the notion that human connection is not only good for our mental health, it's also good for longevity and wellbeing. 

Why Coastrek is a team event

Being part of a team helps keep you safe

Coastrek training and Event Day often involves walking in the bush in all weather… Yes, that includes in rain, as well as after dark, before dawn and during dusk, on single tracks, breathtaking cliff tops, and iconic rugged trails where mere mortals fear to tread. For many women, this can be frightening. But in teams, women feel – and are – safer, stronger, and braver. So we want you to stick together, and take lots of photos, both during training and on Event Day. 

Friends make the good times better and the hard times easier

Wild Women believe hiking together makes the good times better and the hard times easier. With a trained team, you’ll rally together when the going gets tough, offering support and snakes (the yummy kind, of course), comfort and Compeeds (for blisters, of course), camaraderie and chocolate. And you’ll rejoice together when the going goes great, celebrating the magic Coastrek moments – a stunning sunrise, a spectacular view, a mouthwatering roast veggie wrap, an exhaustedly elated finish – which are made all the more fun with buddies by your side. 

A team is more than the sum of its parts

At Coastrek, we champion team over time. We don’t care how fast (or far) you walk, as long as you do it together. Walking as a team is a more fulfilling challenge – one that requires love, sacrifice, patience and practice - one that helps build resilience and mental toughness. It requires you to support and be supported. 

You might have to walk slower or faster than you fancy. You might have to wait for a faffing friend, or a nervous wee-er. You might feel like the weakest link or the strongest slacker. But the beauty of a team is you’re in it together, each making a unique contribution to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. 

It’s why teamwork makes the dream work.

Being with friends boosts our mental health

One of the things Wild Women champion for our Coastrekkers is the power of our event and training program to boost mental health and wellbeing. Coastrek does this in a number of ways; by helping you find friends to join you, by motivating you to exercise together in nature, by encouraging you to make fundraising with friends fun, by giving you a shared sense of purpose and meaning, and by boosting your community connections.

The science, linking human connection with mental health and happiness, is unequivocal. This is why we’re so passionate about ensuring Coastrek remains a team event. 

Being relied upon keeps you accountable

Being part of a team helps keep you accountable for your goal, because others are relying on you and you on them! You’re much more likely to rock up to that 6am training session if you’re meeting a training buddy, and you’re much less likely to give up if you have your teammates by your side. 

Walking together improves your relationships

Whether you’re old friends or new ones, families or colleagues, achieving a big goal like Coastrek together is a bonding experience that can do wonders for your friendships. Walking together can foster connection, conversation and deeper intimacy, while experiencing a challenge alongside teammates helps to build trust and solidarity. 

Teamwork builds strength and confidence 

This one’s a no brainer. Twenty years of Wild Women On Top trips and training and fifteen years of Coastrekking has proved that for tens of thousands of Coastrekkers, we get stronger, more confident, more resilient and more powerful as a result of taking on an adventure challenge in nature with our friends.  

Coastrek helps you find new hiking buddies

One of the great things about Coastrek is that if you don't have friends who like hiking, you can use the Team Vacancies page on your preferred event to find teams looking for singles. You can also meet like-minded women in our Wild Women Community group and form a team together. 

We've had hundreds of Coastrekkers walk with new friends on Event Day – and many of them go on to form life-long friendships!