The first time Monica Leach took part in the Oxfam Trailerwalker was with a group of hearing friends.
Leach, who is Deaf and uses New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), found it difficult to communicate with the team.
But last weekend, her team Deaf Power Walk completed it in Taranaki as an all-Deaf team.
Being able to communicate and encourage each other in NZSL made all the difference.
With other Deaf friends “it was easy”, Leach said, through an NZSL interpreter via Zoom. The team completed their 50km over 11 hours with four breaks, through farmlands, rivers and forests – “the scenery was lovely,” said another teammate, Susan Thomas.
But getting to the finish line started well before the event.
Thomas, who was taking part for the first time, went on practice walks beforehand to build up her stamina, with the walks getting longer each time.
Most of the training happened individually because the four teammates lived in different parts of Auckland.