Rotary Kokoda Beach Classic, Gold Coast, Queensland
Potential date:  Sunday 11th August 2024 (To be confirmed)

The Rotary Kokoda Beach Classic is a mass participation beach charity running and walking event each year on the Gold Coast that includes an Extreme Half Marathon, a 15km Ultimate Beach Run, a 10km Sand Challenge, a 5km Beach Dash, and a 5km Community Memorial Walk. An initiative of the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport, the event focuses attention on those who sacrificed so much on the Kokoda Track in 1942 while it raises money for Legacy and the Nippers of the Gold Coast.

At Rotary we commemorate the Kokoda Campaign and want to educate younger Australians of its importance in our history just as we commemorate ANZAC. Over 4 months, Australian and PNG troops with the assistance of PNG porters who ferried supplies and acted as ambulance carriers (later called “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels”) resisted a major Japanese advance which had the objective of travelling 90klms south on a track from the northern coast of PNG over the Owen Stanley Ranges (“The Kokoda Trail”) and taking Port Moresby – a steppingstone to Australia.

The Australian and PNG troops were unseasoned but ably led. Supply lines were poor. They faced inhospitable terrain and topography, tropical weather with its oppressive heat and rain, inadequate food and were riddled with Malaria and dysentery. They withstood a highly trained and seasoned Japanese force 4X their size to reverse the Japanese advance which got within viewing distance of Port Moresby. This was the first major setback for the Japanese in WWII and an end to any invasion plans for Australia. 600 Australians were killed and 1680 wounded.

This event commemorates those who served from both Australia and PNG on “The Kokoda Trail” and the many more from Japan.