Leila Graham, 11, from Cherbourg, looked ready to take off at the Reconciliation Fun Run on Sunday

May 22, 2018

About 450 runners and walkers – old and young – travelled the “Reconciliation Road” between Murgon and Cherbourg on Sunday for the fifth annual Reconciliation Fun Run.

The run is a project of The Ration Shed and a hard-working committee of volunteers.

Chairperson Sandra Morgan joked that every year they wonder why they do it …

“It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get it all working … but then every year I stand here and see you all – the runners and walkers, the volunteers, the stall holders, the people from Cherbourg, from Murgon, from the South Burnett and from communities further away – seeing you all her, I know why … and I feel happy and proud,” Aunty Sandra said.

“I wish to thank all of you who are here today for playing your part in bringing us all closer together, for standing up for peace and harmony in our communities, and for helping to build a brighter future for all the peoples of our wonderful country.

“This is a beautiful event. It is an event that shows our strengths, our dignity, our humanity.

“The road from Murgon to Cherbourg is a symbol of a divided past.

“We hold our Fun Run on this road as an act of Reconciliation. By doing this we say that this road is no longer a symbol of separation and division; we say that it is now a symbol of unity; we say it is a symbol of us going forward together.

“I say that we should no longer be calling this the Murgon-to-Cherbourg road; we should call it the ‘Reconciliation Road’.”

There were actually three runs this year … the original 7km route from Murgon Showground to The Ration Shed, plus a 10km run which added a loop in Cherbourg, and a shorter 3km run / walk.

Cherbourg Mayor Arnold Murray said this was the only Indigenous community who organised something like this.

“We are the only Indigenous community that does a Reconciliation Fun Run. Cherbourg people should be very proud,” he said.

Uncle Bill Buchanan, from Reconciliation Queensland, said the Fun Run had been named as a finalist in the Queensland Reconciliation Awards. The winner would be announced in Cairns later this year.

He highlighted a visiting group of students and teachers from Mabel Park State School which had taken part in the run, who represented 17 different cultural backgrounds.

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Ian Nicholson, 14, from Murgon, was first across the Finish Line and was presented with the Gold Medal
10km world record-breaker Joshua Williams, 7, from Murgon, was a very close second overall
Duathlon champ Brandi Alberts, from Hervey Bay, was the first woman across the line
Winners of the Best Dressed prize were the “Three Blind Mice” … Glenda Perry, Trish Wiley and Beck Payne, from Moffatdale State School
The youngsters are always first off the line at Murgon … and they’re often first over the line in Cherbourg, too!
Special guests at the Fun Run, Olympian Beki Smith and Australian representative long jumper Robbie Crowther, from Athletics Australia, led warm-up routines at the start of the runs
The start of the 3km run featured one of Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff’s famous pink ribbons …

* * *

Entertainment In The Park

After the runners had rested and recovered, entertainment took off in the park opposite The Ration Shed.

The Wakka Gubbi dancers performed traditional dances, and there were also performances on stage by local musicians, including Robert “Rocko” Langton and Steve Hart.

Steve debuted a song he wrote especially for the occasion, “The Fun Run Song”, which spoke of unity, peace and, of course, running!

Cairns singer Troy Brady also performed on stage as well as Kingaroy teenager Natalia Phillips-Petersen who wowed the crowd.

Other highlights were performances by the band of the 1st Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery who played recent Top 40 songs as only a brass band can …

The Wakka Gubbi dancers are always popular with the audience
This is **** awesome … members of the Artillery Band belted out the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit “Thrift Shop” as well as a lot of other well-known pop songs
“Rocko” Langton, from Cherbourg, sang some well-known local songs
Natalia Phillips-Petersen, from Kingaroy, was invited on stage to sing
Cairns singer-songwriter Troy Brady with Cherbourg’s own singer-songwriter Steve Hart

* * *

Other Photos

Medical students Niv Appasamy, Rockhampton; Adam Cowan, Bundaberg; and Joe McLean, Toowoomba; all made long trips to help with the Fun Run’s registrations
Fernando Carbigao and Dahye Jung checked off pre-registrants
Kerilee Waddell and Jasmine Magarry greeted walkers and runners with a smile
Efthimios Haritopoulos, Graham Douglas, Lenore Denduck, Abina Shillingsworth, Vivienne Manessis and Cassie Douglas were part of Team Galangoor from Hervey Bay’s Galangoor Duwalami Primary Health Care Service … and very stylishly dressed, too!
Kiam Beezley, Shawnie Blucher, Leanne Carsburg and Paula Chalmers, from the Hervey Bay Girls Academy
Jane Russon and Toni Jeavons managed a smile despite the cold early morning conditions
Lachie Taylor and Sav Kumaresan, from the QUT Law Faculty in Brisbane, were collecting feedback on proposed changes to Local Laws on behalf of Cherbourg Council
Tracy Lewis, from the Sunshine Coast, was offering family fun eco-art activities at her “Bush Critters” stall
Aunty Lillian Gray was the compere for the day in the park … she’s pictured with Sharleece Fisher, 10, from Murgon; and Dorothea Douglas, from Cherbourg
David Nardoo, Becki Cook, Sharna Willie and Prof Roianne West were providing information about services and opportunities at Griffith University
Margie Hams and Renata Danisevska, from the Darling Downs West Moreton Primary Health Network, were providing information about the introduction by the Federal Government of the electronic “My Health Record” database for all Australians
Gloria Bell and Aunty Shirley Law were serving up stews, savoury mince, damper, pea and ham soup, cakes, muffinsand tea to raise funds for the Many Threads sewing group at Cherbourg
Hydration stations were set up along the fun route … manning the station at the Finish Line were Viranga Wijeyewickrema, Philip Huang, Lee Syn You and David Yoon, from the University of Queensland
Craig Kapernick, from Cloyna, and Laurie Douglas, from Cherbourg, have taken part in the Reconciliation Fun Run every year
Shaun Bliesner and Robyn Samiak, from South Burnett CTC, were cooking up snags, hamburgers, and bacon and egg burgers
The Ration Shed chairperson, Aunty Sandra Morgan, with former Cherbourg principal and founder of the Stronger Smarter Institute, Chris Sarra, who has been a regular participant at the Reconciliation Fun Run
South Burnett Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff and Cherbourg Mayor Arnold Murray
Two of the members of the organising committee who were feeling relieved as the day progressed … Zona Hussey-Smith and Cherbourg Council Economic Development Officer Sean Nicholson

* * *

Athletics Australia representatives Beki Smith and Robbie Crowther presented the trophies and prizes to the successful runners:

10km Run

  • Over 60 – Male – Nil
  • Over 60 – Female – Anne Ryan
  • Adult – Male – James Maxwell
  • Adult – Female – Krystal Lockwood
  • Secondary Student – Male – Nil
  • Secondary Student – Female – Kayla Johnston
  • Primary Student – Male – Nil
  • Primary Student – Female – Emmison Johnston

7km Run

  • Overall – Open Gold – Male – Ian Nicholson
  • Overall – Female Open Gold – Female – Brandi Alberts
  • Over 60 – Male – Sean Ryan
  • Over 60 – Female – Yvonne Bradburn
  • Adult – Male – Craig Kapernick
  • Adult – Female – Brandi Alberts
  • Secondary Student – Male – Ian Nicholson
  • Secondary Student – Female – Breeanna Miller
  • Primary Student – Male – Joshua Williams
  • Primary Student – Female – Savannah Walker

3km Run

  • Over 60 – Male  – John van der Merwe
  • Over 60 – Female – Phyllis Lea
  • Adult – Male – Adam Cowan
  • Adult – Female – Kate Schafer
  • Secondary Student – Male – Marquese Denduck-Green
  • Secondary Student – Female – Karla Denduck
  • Primary Student – Male – Xavier Richardson
  • Primary Student – Female – Kanisha Green

Fastest Teams (average of first four runners)


1. Griffith University First Peoples
2. Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN
3. Team Galangoor


1. Kilkivan State School
2. St Rita’s
3. Team Clontarf Kingaroy


1. Galangoor
2. Pinangba – Blue Care Indigenous Services
3. Team Big Buddy

Other prizes

  • Largest Team – Mabel Park SHS
  • Best Dressed Team – “Three Blind Mice” (Moffatdale School)
  • Best Dressed Individual – Sharlee Fisher
  • Encouragement Award – Henry Rider
  • Special Award (Kathy Duff’s Bracelet) – Tamara Blackman (travelled from Thursday Island)
Overall winners … Male Open Gold, Ian Nicholson, and Female Open Gold, Brandi Alberts, with Robbie Crowther and Beki Smith
10km Female Over 60 winner Anne Ryan
10km Adult Male winner James Maxwell
10km Adult Female winner
Krystal Lockwood
7km Over 60s male runner-up Laurie Douglas and winner Sean Ryan
10km Primary Student Female winner Emmison Johnston and runner-up Olivia Johnston
7km Over 60s female runner-up Libby Leu and winner Yvonne Bradburn
7km Primary Student male runner-up Heath Walker and winner Joshua Williams
7km Adult Male runner-up Joris Mijnssen and winner Craig Kapernick
3km Primary Student Female runner-up Maddie Shipp and winner Kanisha Green
10km Secondary Student Female winner
Kayla Johnston
3km Over 60s Male winner
John van der Merwe
3km Over 60s Female winner Phyllis Lea
3km Over 60 Female runner-up
Annette Chesswas
3km Secondary Student Male winner Marquese Denduck-Green
Tamra Bridge and Gavin Mackey, from Pinangba – Blue Care Indigenous Services, were part of the team that came second in the 3km run
The Encouragement Award was presented to Henry Rider who was a keen participant in the 3km race
3km Primary Student Male winner Xavier Richardson and runner-up Cohen Slater
Best Dressed Individual prize was awarded to Sharleece Fisher
Kathy Duff presented a handmade bracelet as a special award to the person who travelled the furthest to take part … Tamara Blackman, from Thursday Island
The team from Kilkivan State School were the fastest in the 7km run

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


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