History of the Trekkers
The Trekkers were formed as an offshoot of the Turramurra Trotters when certain formerly dedicated Trotters realised they could no longer keep up the running pace but still wished to devote their early Saturday mornings to healthy exercise and keep in contact with their trotting acquaintances at the same time.
When Bruce Magnusson began to suffer from some arthritis he still turned up on a Saturday morning and started to walk, but decided it might be a change to take a more scenic route, where there was less traffic. So he and JS staked out a special route for any walkers who might like to take a vigorous trek … thus commenced the Turramurra Trekkers in 1996.
Bruce Magnusson and JS were the originators of the course, which they “designed” to avoid as much traffic as possible, whilst maintaining a few steep hills as well as progress through some really nice tree-lined streets. The objective then was to return to the last 2 kilometres of the Trotters course, at the junction of Eastern Road and Burns Road, so that the principle of “all coming home together at the end” could be maintained.
Following the announcement by Bruce, on 21 December 1996, Peter Kaleski, Ross Blackmore and Sas Douglas went on the first walk. Of course, those who had the idea didn’t turn up … well, it was a cold morning, that’s right – Bruce says he had a better offer and John hadn’t got home yet. Nevertheless, the new explorers were joined by Bruce Magnusson the following week and from there the popularity of the walk began, the start of another great Trotters tradition – we hope !
The Course – How Long ?
There is just one course that can be covered in about an hour … less if you pump it, or more if you want a more leisurely stroll – or take a short cut.
A fast walk takes around 55-60 minutes for the 7.15 km course – speed doesn’t matter, it’s style that counts!. Walking is seen by the Trekkers at least as enjoyable as running, being much less wearing on the knees and vital organs, and with the added benefit that pleasant, deep and meaningful conversations can be held along the way – it’s not possible to hold an intelligent conversation with a runner.
The Course – How Far ?
The route is quite distinct from that of the runners, at least to begin with and measures 7.15 km approximately. From the station carpark it leads along the footpath beside the railway and comes out onto Cherry St, which it follows over a slight rise, crosses Bangalla St where Cherry St becomes Raymond Ave, turns left into Chilton Parade briefly, then right along Young St to its end, where it turns left to take in a sharp climb up Water St, which then levels out, giving the walkers some welcome breathing space for a while.
It then heads right along Cleveland St, veers left down Burns Road to Coonanbarra Road, right into Coonanbarra and along to Lochville St, where Trekkers have a choice: the majority turn right again up the gentle inclines of Lochville and Kintore Sts, and take a right turn into Wahroonga Ave, into Burns Rd. At the traffic lights the route turns right and homeward, station bound along Eastern Rd, with only a couple more moderate hills to go. Along this final stretch Trekkers may be passed by panting, straining, sweaty trotters, who may be heard to mutter a greeting or perhaps some critical advice as to our walking style or pace, or lack thereof, and who in return receive a jovial wave from Trekkers.
Fittingly, on 1st April 2006, Alan Cole measured the walkers “A” course using his GPS device to check the distances and advised as follows :-
Km 1 at 40 Cherry Street
Km 2 at 28 Water Street
Km 3 at 18 Burns Road
Km 4 at 15 Kintore Street
Km 5 at 86 Burns Road
Km 6 at 86 Eastern Road
Km 7 at 26 Eastern Road
Finish at 7.15 Km
The record for the 7.15 km walk is held by Les Bryce, at a steaming pace of 47mins 14seconds, set on 7 May 2005, after being pushed by Di Batterham. Les you are a legend in your own time. Whether some of our so-called “Walkers” are technically appropriate is another matter … anything under 50 minutes or assisted by poles or huskies is “suspect” and would possibly be awarded a Red Card on entering the stadium.
This course is possibly best described as an alternatrive, hybrid course; this is the catchweight division. The “record” is pretty meaningless because although the course is followed by a few genuine, technically competent speed walkers, there are others who sort of “run a bit” and “walk a bit”, may be pulled by dogs, may be, er-um wind assisted or propelled by nordic poles. Some have been seen to shuffle along, lurch and often fail to have at least one foot on the ground at all times. Many are not able to keep the legs straight from the moment the advancing foot touches the ground until the leg has reached a vertical position. Some just fall over all the time. Many have no visible forms of support.
Accordingly, there is little value in trying to compare the times achieved, as the distances travelled is uncertain and the integrity of the method of propulsion is questionable.
There is time too for observations on the mansions / gardens seen on route and for speculation as to possible prices of the homes currently on the market, and on renovations being done and their rate of progress week by week etc, etc,so that really the distance and hills along the way are barely noticed by the participants. Even wildlife may be spotted en route, such as a frog out enjoying the early morning or brush turkeys and scrub wallabies on the Peter and Cathie Curran Estate.
Over fifty names are now on the Trekkers’ roll, both men and women from diverse walks of life, including former Trotters, wives of Trotters, former wives of Trotters and other odd couples with no connection other than the shared enjoyment of a good walk. All are welcome. Around 25 or more turn out on a good sunny Saturday morning for a 6.30 a.m. sharp departure. Once daylight saving is underway it’s a 6.15 a.m.start, as this enables Trekkers to be back before all the trotters have well and truly finished and disappeared, particularly when at the height of summer the Runners are covering only a short 6.5 km. The 6-15 am start reverts to 6-30 am early in April.
Trekkers and Trotters cool down together with the well-deserved refreshment of a glass of water or juice for the minimal price of 20 cents from the Clubhouse Bar, while times are called out by the Trotters’ intrepid crier, Alan Cole. See you there soon!