Earlier this year we ran a competition offering you the chance to represent Women’s Running Australia in the Kokoda Challenge Melbourne. Race date is now fast approaching, and the winning duo – Christine Weber and Karey-Jane Corrie – have been training hard and are counting the days until their 30k run amongst some of Victoria’s most scenic trails. To get to know a little more about them, and what they’re looking forward to most about the challenge, we fired some questions at them. Here are their answers!

Name: Christine Weber

Hometown: Townsville, Qld

How long have you been trail running? Since November 2014

What drew you to the trails? The variety that comes from running off road; a love for being outdoors and exploring; and it doesn’t hurt as much on the trails!

Why did you want to take part in the Kokoda Challenge Melbourne? It’s a new location to run in; I love Victoria and the Melbourne area; and it’s a great cause.

What are you most looking forward to about the Challenge? Being around other folk who enjoy the same thing, the atmosphere that a race brings and seeing new sites.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge? Completing 30k – I have a few 21km runs under my belt but this will be my longest run.

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Name: Karey-Jane Corrie

Hometown: Townsville, North Queensland

How long have you been trail running? I have been trail running for about 18 months with a greater focus in the last 9 months, but running and racing road events for a number of years.

What drew you to the trails? At first trail running was just another challenge and a way to introduce some variety to my training and reinvigorate my love of and for running after a solid but long season about two years ago. When I first gave it a shot I felt so uncoordinated and inept that it took me another three months to  pull up my big girl pants and try again. One of my big running goals is to become an ultra-marathon runner, and I know staying safe on the road was not going to get me there. What I discovered on the trails was an incredible sense of freedom. Freedom to just run. Freedom from bitumen, freedom from injury, and the freedom and space to reconnect with the outdoors and with myself. It is this sense of trail magic and connection that keeps me coming back for more.

Why did you want to take part in the Kokoda Challenge Melbourne? The Kokoda Challenge is something I have read about in running mags for many years and one of these events I always wanted to challenge myself with. I love the philosophy of the Kokoda Youth Foundation – the idea that in challenging yourself to do extraordinary things you can find out just how extraordinary you are. I believe the spirit of the Kokoda Diggers resonates within all of us if we have the courage to tap into it. Courage, endurance, sacrifice and mateship shape who we are as a nation and I am proud to carry these values within me and to instil them in my children.

What are you most looking forward to? I am really keen to have a crack at the 1000 steps that are part of this course, bagging the Mt Dandenong summit and sharing the whole thing with my partner Christine for our birthday (we share the same day October 13th). Plus, I cant wait to represent Women’s Running Australia (WRA), it makes me feel like a bonafide athlete to be part of the WRA team.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge? The biggest challenge for me will likely be the 1000 steps. While I do stairs in training they are not my favourite! Also, making sure I stay present in the moment to enjoy the course, the camaraderie out there and the beautiful surrounds. I hear the trail is spectacular and I cant wait to be out there getting’ my trail on.

We wish both Karey and Chris all the best with their run. The Kokoda Challenge Melbourne will take place on Sunday 11 October and we’ll be following their progress. You can find out more about The Kokoda Challenge by clicking here.