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Festival A Runaway Success

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Maidenwell Community Group president Cr Spud Jones, Blazer the Bear (aka Dean Cullen) and Rural Fire Brigade 1st Officer Richard Don all rated this year's Running Festival "the best yet"

April 24, 2017

This year’s Maidenwell Running Festival has been hailed by organisers as “the best yet”, attracting more than 350 participants and raising more than $10,000 for the town’s community organisations.

The three-day festival was held from Good Friday to Easter Sunday at the Maidenwell Sportsgrounds, and it attracted runners from all over south-east Queensland and interstate.

Over the first two days, more athletic runners were able to tackle 42km marathons and 21km half-marathons – and even a 56km ultra marathon – over tracks on adjoining farming properties.

But on Sunday morning, they could also tackle smaller courses of 10km, 5km or a special 2.2km course designed for children.

The Festival is the brainchild of the Maidenwell Community Group, and Easter marked its third outing.

For the first two years, the event was known as the Maidenwell Marathon, but this year it changed its name to the Maidenwell Running Festival to underline that it offered a range of distances for all types of runners and walkers, not just marathon and half-marathon courses.

The change seems to have worked.

After a small beginning in 2014, last year’s Festival grew sightly although its final day was marred by rain.

But this year, the Festival enjoyed three days of perfect weather, along with bumper attendance numbers that packed out large parts of the J. A. Gorton Memorial Oval.

Maidenwell Community Group president Cr Spud Jones said while final numbers were still being tallied, he believed the Festival attracted about 350 participants this year, along with their families and children.

The proceeds of the Festival will be used to aid town improvement projects being undertaken by the Maidenwell Community Group, as well as assist the Maidenwell Rural Fire Brigade and Tanduringie State School’s P&C.

Members of all three groups helped organise the Festival, and oversaw the races through the Easter break.

They also presented Maidenwell bells to all the participants – smaller ones for taking part, and larger ones as trophies to the winners.

The Maidenwell Hotel and the Maidenwell Trading Post did well from the event, too, with big numbers packing into the hotel each evening and a steady stream of customers passing through the general store.

The Running Festival was capped off on Sunday night with the annual Maidenwell Bull Ride, which also drew large numbers of people to the town.

Running Festival organiser Bruce 'Digger' Hargreaves and Rural Fire Brigade 2nd Officer Robyn Bliss posed for an Instagram shot near the finish line

Niall Kennard, from Brisbane, and Craig Dangerfield, from Manly, were the first two across the line in the 5km run, and both took home Maidenwell bells for their efforts

The Maidenwell Rural Fire Brigade had a very visible presence at the Festival, handing out fire safety literature and guarding the trophies

Blazer The Bear was a firm Festival favourite with Amelia Foote, 5, Matthew Potgieter, 4, and Evie Foote, 3

The Maidenwell Rural Fire Brigade brought their Light Attack and Medium Attack fire trucks to the sportsgrounds, and Robyn Bliss and Ron Sampson were happy to explain how they worked to interested visitors

And they're off! A large number of children took part in the 2.2km run, including local students from Tanduringie State School who had been practising the distance for months

Runners came from all over south-east Queensland to take part in the three-day festival, including these teams from the Gold Coast and Deception Bay; many had been finalists or placegetters in the recent Australian Amateur Athletics Championships

One of the smaller teams to take part in this year's Festival were 'The Clydesdales' - John Marshall, from Brisbane, and Greg Smith, from Sydney; the duo said they paid many visits to the nearby Maidenwell Hotel over the three days to replenish essential bodily fluids

Michael Forde, from Brisbane, was congratulated by his wife Lara after he completed a gruelling three marathons over three days; all up, close to 50 runners attempted the triple marathon at this year's Maidenwell Running Festival


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