A record 800 runners and riders have raced their way to Heathcote over this weekend in the biggest - and fastest - O’Keefe Challenge yet.
From as short as 500 metres through to the 42.195 kilometre marathon, the eight different races on offer provide challenges for people of all ages. It’s proving to be increasingly popular, too, with participant numbers higher than ever.
“Who would have thought this event could grow to the heights it has in just four years?” Chair of the O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon, Sandra Slatter said.
“Thanks to all our sponsors who have supported the event since its inception and a big thank you and congratulations to Event Director, Nigel Preston, and his team for their continued dedication and commitment, their outstanding efforts are to be commended!”
Four Record Breaking Performances at this year's O'Keefe Challenge:
Australian Commonwealth Games representative, Virginia McCormack, ran a stellar race to smash previous Women's Marathon time by 15 MINUTES. Virginia also receives a $750 cash bonus as the first woman to break 3 hours.
Two past race winners were locked in a titanic struggle until the last kilometre when Jamie Cooke outsprinted Leon Griffin to win by just 10 seconds. Jamie shaved 30 seconds off his own course record which he set in the inaugural event in 2016.
Men’s Half Marathon
Half Marathon winner, Brady Threlfell, broke the previous Half Marathon record by 6 minutes (1:15:31). He was chased by a pack of four who were all underneath the previous record, too.
Men’s Ekiden Relay:
The Run Bendigo relay team (consisting of Ben Stolz, Stephen Van Rees, Andy Buchanan, Kye Jenkin, Matthew Schepisi, Luke Millard and Nathan Meade) eclipsed the previous Ekiden Relay course record time by 45 minutes (2:21:25)