HE’S battled the heat, rain and wind and 18-year-old Alex Cooke is more determined than ever to achieve his goal of walking from Melbourne to Sydney.
Even severe blisters and heat rash have failed to slow him down.
The man passed through Nowra on Tuesday on his 1060km marathon journey to Sydney raising money for beyondblue.
Admitting his body felt “a little weary”, he said he was now more confident than ever that he would be able to complete his trek in Sydney on Australia Day.
“I think I can,” he said, “although it is a little bit harder to get my legs going again once I have stopped.”
He said day four of his journey was the worst – suffering severe blisters and from a “massive sugar withdrawal”, he needed some help from his father.
“But once my feet were cleaned up I was OK and the walking has got easier each day,” he said.
He is averaging around 42 kilometres a day but his longest day on the road so far saw him cover 52km.
He said he had been lucky he has skirted the heat wave conditions that had gripped the southern states.
“One of the tougher days was just a few days ago as the temperature rose,” he said.
“I was on a terribly flat piece of road, it was pretty hot, there were no trees for shade – it hit me pretty hard.”
The hottest day he has encountered was 34 degrees.
“Heat-wise, it hasn’t been too bad,” he said.
“Another day in Victoria I faced massive winds and dust. I was walking with a white cap on; by the end of the day it was almost a khaki colour.”
He said motorists had been courteous towards him.
“The other day I had about 15 cars pull up and ask if I wanted a lift,” he laughed.
“A lot of them asked what I was up to and I told them – a couple even made donations.”
He is making the trek to raise money and awareness of depression after a number of his friends had been affected.
“It is so important that if you know someone who has depression or is suffering from depression to try to get them help,” he said.
Carrying just a backpack that contains a second change of clothes, toiletries, sunscreen and spare water as well as his camel back, he looked like just another teenager with a back pack walking.
He said without a doubt one of the best things he had invested in was a fly net that he wears over his hat.
With $10,800 so far pledged he is well on his way of raising his target total of $15,000.
For more information or to donate to beyondblue, visit everydayhero.com and search for Alex Cooke.