Fairfield fundraisers complete 100km Trailwalker challenge to raise £6,000 for Oxfam and Gurkha Welfare Fund

The Fit Bits team of Khush Barhey, Patrick Burns, Balraj Barhey and Suki Barhey. Picture: Balraj Bar

The Fit Bits team of Khush Barhey, Patrick Burns, Balraj Barhey and Suki Barhey. Picture: Balraj Barhey - Credit: Archant

A family of fundraisers completed a gruelling 100km trek across the South Downs over the weekend to raise £6,000 for charity.

The Barhey family, from Fairfield Park, featured in three teams of four walkers each into the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge, with the goal of completing the 100km course within 30 hours.

They were all novices apart from one, 53-year-old Suki Barhey – who was taking part in his 21st event, and led the Fit Bits team through the rainy night alongside brother Balraj, 55, nephew Khush, 22, and Khush’s friend Patrick Burns, 23.

The Fit Bits took 23 hours and 22 minutes to complete the march from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Brighton racecourse, which was organised by the Queen’s Gurkha Signals over Saturday and Sunday.

Balraj, a Kumon instructor for Maths and English in Letchworth, told the Comet: “Our team was very fast, but I had severe cramps and a lot of blisters along the way.

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“This whole thing started a few years ago when my brother Suki – who has done this quite a few times – said the whole family was slightly unfit.

“He inspired us to go on walks and stuff, and he pushed us on from there to the stage now where we’re all doing hikes of 20km or 30km.

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“We attempted a trek like this in the Peak District before, but we had to abandon that one because of heavy thunderstorms and lightning.

“This was extremely challenging – a lot of aches and pains. Walking through the rain at night was very tough, but then the sun came out and it was a lovely morning.

“The Gurkhas made sure everyone was safe and were absolutely fantastic.”

The walkers stopped at nine checkpoints along the way for supplies and encouragement.

Balraj’s brother Manraj completed the challenge in 29 hours and 40 minutes as a member of Run Fat Boys Run – alongside Munawarali Jaffer, Sukhdev Ruprai and Abbas Zaidi – while Manraj’s son Govind took eight minutes longer as one of the Sikh Skywalkers team including Karpal, Amreet and Harneet Soora.

Between them, the three teams have raised about £6,000 for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Fund.

You can donate to their fundraising at justgiving.com/balraj-barhey.

The fastest team in the challenge was the squad from the 1st Royal Gurkha Rifles, which completed the 100km course in an incredible 10 hours and 51 minutes.

To find out more, see oxfam.org.uk/trailwalker.

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