Following the outstanding success of the inaugural O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon in 2016, organisers are excitedly counting down the days until this year’s event which promises to be even bigger and better.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon is a true community event, destined to be the next major event in Heathcote. An organising team of fifteen ‘shining lights’ have put together an incredible amount of voluntary hours and are eagerly counting down the days.
Event Director Sandra Slatter says, “the event has been developed to be an all inclusive and all abilities event providing a wonderful new opportunity for participants, volunteers and their families to experience the beautiful environment between Bendigo and Heathcote whilst embracing and encouraging a healthy lifestyle”.
This year will see the introduction of Run Cycle Walk & Roll the O’Keefe, incorporating a marathon event, recreational cycling and an event for walkers.
In 2016, the Ekiden Relay was symbolic in bringing people, who in the past may not have been physically active, together to achieve a ‘goal’ as a team. Sandra says “This year we are delighted to announce that the event has been opened up to mums and bubs, and those with a disability. All participants will receive the specially designed ‘friendship’ medal.”
The 5km Fun Run Walk & Roll event allows everyone in the community the opportunity to be involved, ideal for mums and bubs, grans and pops and those with a disability. It provides the chance to get the family together for a great day out of fun and enjoyment for everyone. This event will also capture the ever popular Mascot Race and Old Woman’s Race.
People with disabilities comprise a significant component of the population of any community, yet until relatively recent times they were marginalised from community participation. All inclusive – all abilities is one of the key objectives of the organisers. Disability considerations are foremost in their minds. There will be disabled toilets available and temporary universal change tables set up at Axedale and Heathcote.
Organisers are also currently making arrangements for a ‘trail rider’, a special all terrain chair for someone with a disability to experience the trail. This opportunity has never been presented in a marathon before. Sandra says that organisers are looking for people to be trained as ‘sherpas’ to help with the transportation of the participant and expressions of interest will be greatly appreciated.
In 2017, the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon Inc in conjunction with Bike Bendigo and the Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail are delighted to present the Inaugural 2017 Cycle the O’Keefe. This is a recreation event will feature 5 different ride events aimed at both the experienced and novice riders and will add yet another dimension to the already exciting marathon program.
Geoff O’Sullivan President Bike Bendigo said Bike Bendigo is excited about being part of a collaboration to encourage more people to get on their bikes.
Cycling events will offer several categories including an Ultra Ride from Bendigo to Heathcote, then to Axedale of approximately 70kms, a 40km Junortoun to Heathcote event for those who still want a bit of distance but not quite up to the Ultra, the Axedale to Heathcote for those who enjoy some, but not too much, of a challenge, the Knowsley to Heathcote great for both individuals or families, and Mia Mia Derrinal Road to Heathcote – ideal for families, particularly those with young ones.
“Cycle The O’Keefe’ events will be all about participation, plus helping to promote the many features of the O’Keefe Rail Trail,” said Garry Long President of Friends of Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail. With the combined events of the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon and Cycle the O’Keefe , this whole weekend has the exciting potential to become a major event on the tourism and athletics calendar.”
Tell your family, tell your friends and keep posted for the many other exciting things that will be happening