Chal­lenge on the mount

Dubbo Photo News - - Sport - BY JOHN RYAN JOUR­NAL­IST

COM­MU­NITY events are one of the most valu­able com­po­nents of suc­cess­ful com­mu­ni­ties.

When things are tough and govern­ment ser­vices are at break­ing point, it’s dif­fi­cult for lo­cals to gather the courage and en­ergy to try and turn their towns around, yet we see it year af­ter year in our re­gion where peo­ple form com­mit­tees and make good things hap­pen through sheer willpower.

So far this year we’ve seen the enor­mously suc­cess­ful Bur­ren­dong Clas­sic Fish­ing Com­pe­ti­tion, an event which at­tracts thou­sands of peo­ple, pours huge amounts into the econ­omy and raises aware­ness of how we need to fix our rivers as well as rais­ing vi­tal funds to help do that.

The MAAS Ti­tan Mac­quarie Mud Run is an­other com­mu­nity event that’s go­ing from strength to strength, and it now only raises money for recre­ational in­fra­struc­ture along the Mac­quarie River, it also en­cour­ages huge amounts of peo­ple to go down to this amaz­ing nat­u­ral as­set in the first place.

Both of these events are or­gan­ised by small and hard-work­ing com­mit­tees com­prised of peo­ple who give up time and en­ergy from very busy lives to help make it hap­pen.

Welling­ton’s Mt Arthur Chal­lenge is now shap­ing as an­other com­mu­nity event that’s get­ting lo­cals ac­tive in some of the best scenic bush spots in the re­gions as well as at­tract­ing com­peti­tors from across the state to visit the re­gion.

Many peo­ple from Dubbo have never ac­tu­ally been to Mt Arthur and I can guar­an­tee you a shock when you do visit, you won’t be­lieve such amaz­ing coun­try is in your own back­yard – it’s a lot dif­fer­ent to no­tice the high coun­try as you drive through Welling­ton, and an en­tirely dif­fer­ent thing to be in amongst it.

Set to be staged on July 17, this year’s event will feature three sec­tions, with nine and five kilo­me­ter runs and also a 50 kilo­me­tre road bike ride. Plenty of prizes are up for grabs in each cat­e­gory. 2016 has been warm so far, with in­cred­i­bly fine weather ex­tend­ing into May, al­though fore­casts pre- dict things are set to cool down.

It’ll have to be cold to beat last year’s ‘Antarc­tic’ con­di­tions ac­cord­ing to Mt Arthur trust mem­ber Erica Bar­gent, who said she was in­cred­i­bly im­pressed with the par­tic­i­pants’ com­mit­ment in 2015.

“‘ We al­ways knew the moun­tain was dif­fi­cult, but the ad­di­tion of rain, wind and low tem­per­a­tures re­ally tested ev­ery­one – es­pe­cially our vol­un­teers,” Bar­gent said.

“How­ever, the sat­is­fac­tion the par­tic­i­pants felt when they crossed the fin­ish line and col­lected their medals was pal­pa­ble.

“The feed­back we re­ceived also high­lighted the en­joy­ment com­peti­tors got out of the chal­lenge and has re­ally en­cour­aged us to con­tinue as an an­nual win­ter event,” she said.

Like the best com­mu­nity events, the Chal­lenge the com­mit­tee de­briefs af­ter the race and dis­cusses how it all went and what needs to be changed.

Be­gin­ning just three years ago, al­ready a team cat­e­gory has been added to each race, and will con­sist of at least four peo­ple who are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the same event.

“Dur­ing the past two years we have no­ticed there are a lot of peo­ple who come to the Chal­lenge as a group so we thought why not make it that bit more ex­cit­ing for them and open up the team cat­e­gory,” Baigent said.

With just a cou­ple of months to go, she says peo­ple would be well ad­vised to be­gin their train­ing.

“The nine kilo­me­tre run is deemed as the most chal­leng­ing – as­cend­ing the side of Mt Arthur is not for the faint-hearted – but the sat­is­fac­tion felt at the fin­ish line is worth the ef­fort.

“The shorter five kilo­me­ter run doesn’t as­cend the moun­tain which makes it a friend­lier op­tion for com­peti­tors and fam­i­lies to en­ter, while the 50 km bike ride takes place on sealed roads and also starts/fin­ishes at the Welling­ton Show­ground,” she said. With the TI­TAN Mud Run be­com­ing so pop­u­lar, there’s no doubt many Dubbo lo­cals will be look­ing for­ward to this new chal­lenge, par­tic­u­larly the daunt­ing nine kilo­me­ter moun­tain run.

TI­TAN was con­ceived by Dubbo fit­ness fa­natic Rod Fardell and he said his crew wouldn’t dream of miss­ing the Mt Arthur Chal­lenge.

“The great thing is it’s such an iconic lo­ca­tion and for years a lot of cy­clists have rid­den up there be­cause of the in­ten­sity of the hill,” Fardell said.

Not sur­pris­ingly, he takes part in the nine km moun­tain run.

“It’s a great run, it’s a well set up day, it’s nice and quiet and there’s no pres­sure from any traf­fic, it’s a good hit- out.

“It’s a tough run, and last year we were rugged up with gloves and bea­nies,” he said. He’s en­cour­ag­ing any TI­TAN com­peti­tors to take the time to go 30 min­utes down the road and have a crack.

“Hats off to Wello, it’s a great thing and there’s no pres­sure – for those not into per­sonal bests they can just walk it,” Fardell said.

“I hope it con­tin­ues to grow and it’s great to see com­mit­tees in their home towns mak­ing things hap­pen lo­cally,” he said.

Early bird reg­is­tra­tion for the Mt Arthur Chal­lenge is now open, de­tails can be found at www.mtarthur­chal­lenge.org.au

Welling­ton’s Mt Arthur Chal­lenge is now shap­ing as an­other com­mu­nity event that’s get­ting lo­cals ac­tive in some of the best scenic bush spots in the re­gions as well as at­tract­ing com­peti­tors from across the state to visit the re­gion.

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