Most of us are relishing the sunny, cloud-free start to winter – not so Bernie Victory.

The dry conditions are thwarting his plans to test the mettle – in mud – of his Kokoda 17 Challenge Team.

“We haven’t been blessed by the weather, we need far more rain!” says Bernie, who will lead the team on to the track in early September.

“We’re starting to ramp up the difficulty of the walks and I’d like to ramp up the amount of mud in training too.”

This year’s trek has drawn participants from across the state, including father-and-son Gordon and Patrick Edwards, of Ceduna, and Mount Gambier-based mother-and-daughter, Nik and Paige Tilley.

“The training schedule has required some creative thinking,” says Bernie. “As hard as it’s been to get everyone together, it’s been more interesting to find what training opportunities places like Ceduna, Lameroo and Mount Gambier actually offer.”

“It’s a bit hard to find a hill too close to Ceduna but Patrick is finding some sand he can walk in.”

Last weekend the trekkers completed Mount Misery, a 21km walk at Montacute in preparation for Extended Misery in six weeks.

So far the team has raised nearly $20K for Centacare services, including Kolbe Cottage – which provides respite for people living with a disability – and the Limestone Coast Domestic Violence Service.

“The good thing with the K17 team is when they walk they are surrounded by a group of people who have done it many times before, so for every question they get multiple answers,” Bernie says.

To support the team, Visit our online fundraising page.