Ben Slater, from Brisbane, designed the special “Wondai, Wondai, Wondai” T-shirts for the festival … he’s pictured with Beris Stennett and Lynette French, both from Wondai

July 27, 2020

The skies may have been grey at the start of Saturday but there was nothing but smiles on the faces of the 300 or so runners who rolled up for the annual Wondai Country Running Festival.

This is the third year the festival has been held (or the fourth if you count the “trial run” in 2017).

Organisers crossed their fingers and held on while other South Burnett events were cancelled, and their gamble paid off … COVID-19 restrictions were eased sufficiently to allow the event to take place.

And the runners – who came from across south-east Queensland – were very, very grateful as nearly all their regular events had been cancelled.

The total number of nominations for the two days was 469, although some runners took part in more than one event.

By all reports, accommodation was booked out in Wondai, with competitors staying as far away as Proston.

The sudden boost in population also proved a bonus for Wondai’s Saturday markets which were held nearby in Coronation Park.

Organising committee member Ros Heit said there were 72 runners in the 7:07am 5km run on Saturday, followed by 18 in the Dash For Cash, 20 in the All-Abilities Run, 65 in the Family Fun Run and 94 in the Forest Trail Run.

On Sunday, there were 105 competitors in the 10km run, 73 in the Half Marathon and 22 in the Marathon.

Many of the visitors were members of running clubs.

Eight families came up as a large group from Sandgate.

Spokesman Brenton Zwarts said this was the second time they had come to Wondai; six families had travelled up to take part in the 2018 event – and they planned to be back again!

The rain stayed away for most of the weekend with blue skies on Sunday.

The only event that was slightly affected by wet weather was Saturday afternoon’s 10km run through the McEuen Forestry.

Marathon winner Adrian Royce, from Brisbane, crossed the finishing line while most of the runners from the shorter races were still on the track
Tia Jones, from Brisbane, was the first woman home in the Ken Mills Marathon
And they’re away … the start of the 2km Hansen Kitchens Family Fun Run
The “Super Sandgate Seven” … Family Fun Run winner Caitlin McNamara, 12, centre, also rolled a “six” with the dice at the end of the race and won a Toblerone chocolate
Organising committee members on Saturday morning … Sean Nicholson, Ros Heit and Claire Kapernick
David Holleran, from Mundubbera, says he’s run in races all around the world but reckons Wondai is the best … “I love this place!”
The start of the Over 40s CROW-FM Dash For Cash … the 1km sprint began at the first bridge on the rail trail and finished at the starting line
The junior CROW-FM Dash For Cash gets under way

CROW-FM Dash For Cash winner Soul Love with Matilda Schapendock, both from Brisbane

Emmanuel Vergara, from Toowoomba, gives the thumbs up after winning the Bendigo Bank Half Marathon
A group of eight families came up from Sandgate to take part in the weekend festival … they stayed in local cabins and in the campground (Photo: Brenton Zwarts)
The 707 run (at 7:07am on Saturday) was a 5km untimed warm-up … Keryn Andersen, Tingoora, and John Box, Kingaroy, are regular Wondai parkrunners; Keryn would have been celebrating her 100th parkrun if it had been back on
Organising committee member Liz Nicholson seemed to be enjoying the bellringing – used to encourage the runners – way too much …
Jessica Hodgson was first home in the South Burnett CTC All Abilities Run … Jess was keen to thank her sponsors, Kingaroy Office Equipment and Stitches On Embroidery as well as the helpers who had encouraged her to take part; Jess later also ran in the 10km PCA Rail Trail run

Elaine Madill got a helping hand from Winston Burrows in the South Burnett CTC All Abilities Race

Michelle Hansen, from Kingaroy … Hansen Kitchens sponsored the 2km Family Fun Run
Hudson Jessep, 15, from Coolum, crosses the finishing line first in the 10km PCA Rail Trail Run
Kingaroy runner Kathryn Krosch was the first woman home in the Bendigo Bank Half Marathon and took out third place overall
Winston Burrows, Ros Heit and Donna Clark with the wooden medallions given to every runner as well as the main trophies
Running is a family thing … Elouise, Selina and Annalee Hansen, from Kingaroy, took part in the CROW-FM Dash For Cash

Angela Clarke, from Kingaroy, finishing the 10km Rail Trail Run … she’ll be turning 81 in September!

Jennie Bridge, Kingaroy, completed the 10km Rail Trail Run with Henry, 16½ months, in a stroller
Ultra marathon runner John Pearson, centre, from Mapleton, completed a 100 mile run on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail on Friday before dropping in to Wondai … he’s pictured with Paul Carter, Mt Coolum, and Zac Frampton, Caloundra

Leonie Nichols, from Blackbutt, with “Wilma”

“Narla” was looking nifty in her special pink dress
The nearby Wondai Markets attracted a good crowd on Saturday morning after the first lot of running events finished

* * *

Crow-FM Dash For Cash


  1. Soul Love 2:46
  2. James Laird 2:54
  3. Tom Fryer 3:08


  1. Debbie Thorley  3:41
  2. Matilda Schapendonk 3:54
  3. Lauren Corvino 4:00

Category Results

* * *

PCA Rail Trail Run (10km)

Paul Carter (2nd), Hudson Jessep (1st) and Stephen O’Connor (3rd)


  1. Hudson Jessep 34:02
  2. Paul Carter 37:23
  3. Stephen O’Connor 38:19


  1. Lisa Dineen 42:46
  2. Paige O’Connor 44:48
  3. Amanda Klein 45:06

Category Results

Paige O’Connor (2nd), Lisa Dineen (1st) and Amanda Klein (3rd)

* * *

PCA Forest Trail Run (10km)

Soul Love, from Brisbane, leads the way out of the Forest Trail Run on Saturday afternoon … this was the only event that ended up a bit damp from the rain (Photo: Nadine Gray)


  1. Soul Love 44:43
  2. Stephen O’Connor 46:12
  3. Leif Mawson 47:25


  1. Paige O’Connor 53:06
  2. Vanessa Gibson 1:03:04
  3. Nicole Robinson 1:04:29

Category Results

* * *

Bendigo Bank Half Marathon

Scott Perry (2nd), Emmanuel Vergara (1st) and Brenton Zwarts (3rd)


  1. Emmanuel Vergara 1:22:09
  2. Scott Perry 1:28:02
  3. Brenton Zwarts (4th overall) 1:33:45


  1. Kathryn Krosch (3rd overall) 1:28:07
  2. Petra Galea 1:36:09
  3. Elisa Denyer 1:36:16

Category Results

Petra Galea (2nd), Kathryn Krosch (1st) and Elisa Denyer (3rd)

* * *

Ken Mills Marathon

Adrian Royce (1st) and Simon Christie (3rd)


  1. Adrian Royce 2:46:49
  2. Frank Witcombe 3:13:57
  3. Simon Christie 3:15:17


  1. Tia Jones 3:23:41
  2. Jane Rushton 4:18:14
  3. Lynda Coulson 4:25:36

Category Results

Jane Rushton (2nd), Tia Jones (1st) and Lynda Coulson (3rd) (Photo: Ros Heit)

* * *


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