Armed with a network of corporate sponsors and a unique fundraising strategy, team 'Downer Eagles' rallied their supply chain partners to raise nearly $150,000 for the Flying Doctor at the 2018 Gibb Challenge. And they're back again with a fresh new team for the 2019 event!
Those who have tackled it call it a life-changing experience. It's challenging, breathtaking and hilariously good fun. It's the kind of event that helps forge lifelong friendships.
The annual Gibb River Mountain Bike Challenge is on again this May. The 660-kilometre team relay event, which raises much needed funds for the Flying Doctor in Western Australia, is run from Derby to El Questro, taking in some of our state's most beautiful and remote landscapes.
This year's event is the thirteenth challenge, and yet again, it has attracted people from across Australia who have a shared passion for adventure and raising funds for the RFDS.
MEET TEAM DOWNER EAGLES
Team captain Mark Mackay, an Executive General Manager at Downer Group, had heard about the Gibb Challenge through word-of-mouth while living in Perth.
Mark's interest was piqued and despite being transferred interstate for work, he kept up to date by subscribing to the Gibb Challenge's mailing list.
"I noticed the RFDS was the beneficiary and Downer Group has a footprint in regional and remote Western Australia so I decided to flag it internally with the CEO and it just took off from there," he said.
Once the team for the 2018 event was formed, Downer Group engaged an exclusive list of sponsors, encouraging them to donate $10,000 in return for exposure on social media and their company's logo being displayed on team jerseys and support vehicles.
Mark said the social value of the event and being off the grid were definite highlights.
"I've done corporate triathlons but the Gibb Challenge is one of a kind - I'd do it again in a heartbeat," he said.
"The mix of participants is really good and everyone had a Flying Doctor story to share which made the journey really meaningful.
"I was able to get to know my colleagues better outside of work, the pressure of work was switched off and we could just enjoy giving back to a service that gives so much to the community."
Mark said Downer Group had established a new team for the 2019 event in May, encouraging others to go the distance both physically and philanthropically.
"The response has been very positive, I think it's really important to pass the baton on and connect others in the business with the cause."
The 2018 'Downer Eagles' team was made up of Executive General Manager of Infrastructure Projects Mark Mackay, CEO of Infrastructure Services Sergio Cinerari and Executive General Manager of Road Services Dante Cremasco.
For more information about the Gibb Challenge, visit: http://www.thegibbchallenge.com.au/