Marathon event build-up rolls on

McIvor Times - - RABBIT STEW - By VIVI­ENNE DUCK

THE O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon is more than a race — it’s a com­mu­nity event.

At the of­fi­cial launch on Thurs­day a new slo­gan — Run, cy­cle, walk and roll the O’Keefe — was un­veiled aim­ing to unite peo­ple of all back­grounds.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful in­au­gu­ral event in 2016, the or­gan­is­ers de­cided to in­clude more op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple of all abil­i­ties this year, in­clud­ing peo­ple in wheel­chairs.

Event di­rec­tor San­dra Slat­ter said the O’Keefe marathon had been de­vel­oped to be an all abil­i­ties event.

‘‘It will pro­vide a won­der­ful new op­por­tu­nity for par­tic­i­pants, vol­un­teers and their fam­i­lies to ex­pe­ri­ence the beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ment be­tween Bendigo and Heath­cote while em­brac­ing and en­cour­ag­ing a healthy lifestyle,’’ she said.

‘‘The event has been ex­panded to in­clude five cycling events and seven run­ning events.

‘‘There will also be a spe­cial ‘meet the lo­cals’ par­tic­i­pant din­ner and of course Vin­nie our lo­cal Aus­tralian disc jockey with a dis­abil­ity will pro­vide the post event en­ter­tain­ment.

‘‘There are also sev­eral new ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing friend­ship tags for the Eki­den re­lay.

‘‘The race is sym­bolic in bring­ing peo­ple to­gether, who in the past may not have been phys­i­cally ac­tive, to achieve an ob­jec­tive or dream.’’

Maps will be made avail­able closer to the event in­clud­ing a smartphone app which of­fers com­peti­tors the chance to ac­cess their in­for­ma­tion live.

‘‘Thanks to our gold spon­sor, Man­dalay Re­sources, there is an op­por­tu­nity for a marathon run­ner, re­gard­less of age, gen­der or abil­ity, to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at the 2018 Wen­lock Olympian Games in Eng­land,’’ Ms Slat­ter said.

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