Albury-Wodonga team tackles Melbourne Coastrek

WALKING TALL: Jess Wallis-Hinde and Sophie McKeon form half of the JAMS team that  will tackle 30 kilometres of peninsula coastline for charity. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

WALKING TALL: Jess Wallis-Hinde and Sophie McKeon form half of the JAMS team that will tackle 30 kilometres of peninsula coastline for charity. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

FOUR former Border students have set their sights on helping others improve their vision.

Jess Wallis-Hinde, Sophie McKeon, who both still live in Albury-Wodonga, Maddy McIntosh and Allie Thomsitt will take part in the Wild Women On Top Melbourne Coastrek on May 26.

Together as JAMS, a team name created from their first initials, the quartet will walk 30 kilometres around the Mornington Peninsula to raise money for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Miss Wallis-Hinde said teammate Sophie, who had raised $30,000 for breast cancer charities previously, suggested doing Coastrek as a group.

“It was more the challenge of walking 30 kilometres together focused on doing something not for ourselves,” she said.

Helping a foundation that restores sight also appealed to Miss Wallis-Hinde, who has a family history in optometry.

Owing to busy schedules, the four team members have been training individually, both in the gym and through long walks a couple of times a week.

Miss Wallis-Hinde said she had enjoyed this solitary time outdoors.

“For me it’s been great, I’ve been able to clear my head and focus a little bit more on my health and my physical activity, then that has a flow-on effect for your mental health as well,” she said.

But Coastrek itself will be a joint venture, with team members not allowed to separate during the walk, which is expected to take six to seven hours.

Miss Wallis-Hinde said the greatest challenge for JAMS could be mental rather than physical.

“Keeping each other motivated, keeping each other hydrated and eating and just positive about what we’re doing,” she said.

The Fred Hollows Foundation founding director Gabi Hollows, said everyone taking part in Coastrek was helping to end avoidable blindness.

“There are 32.4 million people in the world who are blind, and four out of five of them don’t need to be,” she said. “For every $1 invested in eliminating avoidable blindness, at least $4 is returned to the local economy, as adults can return to work and children can receive an education and fulfil their potential.”

Miss Wallis-Hinde’s workplace MAKE Finance Group is supporting JAMS, with donations able to be made at melbourne.coastrek.com.au.