Wenlock Olympian Society Member visits Heathcote

January 25, 2017

Mac Bardsley, Promotions Officer for the Wenlock Olympian Society, and his wife Maggie made a fleeting visit to Heathcote last weekend to see first hand the O’Keefe Rail Trail and to meet the organisers of the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon which will be held on 23 April. 


Mac, a runner himself and also a competitor in the Wenlock Olympian Games decided to try our trail for himself and enjoyed a walk across the Lake Eppalock Section with members of the organising team.


The Wenlock Olympian Society was set up by Dr. William Penny Brookes the principal Founding Father of the Modern Olympic Movement and the first Olympian games held in 1850.  The London 2012 Mascot was named “Wenlock”  in recognition of the history of the Wenlock Olympian Society and its links to the origins of the International Olympics.


Chris Cannon (WOS Archivist) and Sandra Slatter (O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon Event Director) have communicated over the past years and links have been forged between the two organisations. This bond was further enhanced when Sandra Slatter and Vicki Forde visited the town of Much Wenlock and members of the Wenlock Olympian Society. 


A result of this visit has seen the prestigious Wenlock Olympian medals being awarded to the winners of the O'Keefe Rail Trail Marathon. Nowhere else in the world shares this privilege.



Mayor Councillor O’Rourke joined with members of the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon and welcomed Mac and his wife Maggie to Australia, in particular to Heathcote, the town that shares a special bond with Much Wenlock not only in relation to but also from a geological perspective.  Shales found in Wenlock area limestones have similar brachiopods bivalves, sea shell fossils, to those found in the Heathcote sandstones


Cr. O’Rourke said she was absolutely delighted to join in welcoming the guests and that it was a great privilege to have them visit us.  She hopes that the relationship which has been developed between the two organisations and towns continues towards fostering a Sister City Relationship.  


Mac Bardsley presented the Mayor and the organising team members with a special Wenlock Olympian Pin and a book on the the Story of the Wenlock Olympian Society and William Penny Brookes. 


Mac was very impressed with the amazing resource we have in the trail – an off road facility with a road running standard passing through farmlands and across Lake Eppalock.  He said he was also very interested with the Event’s Ekiden Relay concept and the way the O’Keefe team are incorporating those with a disability into their event. Mac said he will be taking these ideas back to pursue with his organisation.   


He congratulated the organising team for their level of energy and enthusiasm in their dedication to making a memorable community event for the region and wished them every success with the event.


The O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon will be held on 23 April and further information about the event can be found at http://www.theokeefe.com.au

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