Wondai Country Running Festival volunteers Claire Kapernick, Ros Heit and Liz and Sean Nicholson

June 29, 2021

Grey skies and the ever-present threat of rain didn’t dampen any enthusiasm at the annual Wondai Country Running Festival at the weekend.

Organising committee member Ros Heit said she was “super happy” about how the two-day event had unfolded.

“The weather wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t hinder the runners at all. In fact, they like it to be a bit cool,” she said.

The running festival featured events for all the family … from the 1km Dash For Cash on Saturday morning through to the 42.2km Marathon on Sunday.

In between, there was a Family Fun Run, All Abilities Race, two Forest Trail runs, a Half-Marathon and 10km Rail Trail run.

Fortunately, the rain held off for most of the events.

The total of 433 runners (or 533 entrants, as some participants entered more than one event) was the festival’s best yet.

There were also 157 participants in Saturday morning’s parkrun, plus at least another 40 or so in the Family Fun Run.

Sunday’s “serious” events were also well-supported: there were 273 runners taking part in either the full or half-marathons.

The running events were held in conjunction with the 200th Wondai parkrun and the monthly Wondai Markets.

Unfortunately, the gloomy weather did have an impact here.

This had been looking to be a bumper day but some of the stalls and entertainers pulled out due to the threat of rain.

However, there was still a packed program on stage at the Percy Iszlaub Pavilion in Coronation Park – including an hilarious slapstick skit put on by members of the Nanango Theatre Company.

And yes, a cream pie was involved …

On Saturday night, runners and members of the Wondai community gathered at the Wondai Showgrounds for a catered roast dinner.

Ros said there were more than 200 meals prepared on the night by Judy Crawford and her team from JC Catering.

“I would like to thank our sponsors and our lovely team of volunteers who worked across the weekend,” Ros said.

“I would also like to thank the SES and the community groups who helped with our drinks stations.”

Ros said the festival wasn’t just about running, it also aimed to help local community groups with their fundraising.

Donations were made to the SES, Wooroolin State School P&C, Wooroolin Scouts and Wondai-Proston Junior Rugby League.

The South Burnett Mountain Bike Club also made a profit from the Sunday morning breakfast, and a local store reported selling about 400 coffees.

“The profit from the weekend goes to the Wondai Art Gallery, so the money raised is invested back into the town,” Ros said.

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Saturday morning’s Wondai parkrun was extra special for this trio who each reached milestones … Lou Streets, Sandgate (200 parkruns); James Rees, Brisbane (300) and Linda Gray, North Lakes (50)
Carmel McKeering, from Memerambi, was stoked that she had completed her 50th parkrun on Saturday morning
Wondai Country Running Festival committee member Ros Heit with Susan Smith, from Wondai … Susan has been “running around Australia” ie. trying to reach a total of 14,080km, which she achieved on Saturday morning during the parkrun event; Susan has been clocking up the kilometres since 2014
Enjoying the running festival were Therese Barton, Laidley; Peter Collins, Gatton; and Jane Garley, Gold Coast
The Dash For Cash participants before their races … there were prizes for different age categories as well as men / women
The male entrants in the Dash For Cash ham it up at the start … James Maxwell took out the event

Volunteer Craig Kapernick was doing the starter’s duties for the Dash For Cash

Debbie Thorley jumps for joy before the Dash For Cash … she won the Masters category for females
The start of the Under 18s CROW-FM Dash For Cash … runners ran 1km
South Burnett CTC sponsored the All Abilities Race … from left, Angie Fisher, CTC Board chairman John Box, Brenda Brown and Angie Dingle
The field heads off down the bitumen in the South Burnett CTC-sponsored All Abilities race

Corey Smith (2nd) and Rocky Atkinson (1st) hit the line almost together at the end of the All Abilities event

Organising committee member Elaine Madill was also happy to finish the All Abilities event
The Family Fun Run on Saturday morning was well-supported … and the children looked to be having a good time!
Some of the fast finishers in the Family Fun Run

CROW-FM station manager Chantal Harth … two radio stations broadcast for the event (Photo: CROW-FM)

Ross Kay, from ABC Wide Bay, was also doing live crosses from the running event on Saturday
Cherbourg band Muddy Flats provided live music at Saturday night’s dinner
More then 200 diners attended Saturday night’s roast dinner at Wondai Showgrounds … this was a new event for the 2021 festival

* * *

Podium Winners

[Photos by Nadine Gray]

Ken Mills Auto and Machinery Marathon male winners … Aaron Patterson (2nd), Simon Phillips (1st) and Adam Fitz-Henry (3rd)
Female marathon winners: Melissa Bensted (2nd), Margret Goodman (1st) and Tam Hales (3rd)

Bendigo Bank half marathon: John Pearson (2nd), Emmanuel Vergara (1st) and Patrick Mudge (3rd)

Bendigo Bank half marathon: Tracey Thornhill (2nd), Petra Galea (1st) and Michelle Radley (3rd)

10km PCA Rail Trail Run: Paul Ashford (2nd), Guillaume Perin (1st) and James Maxwell (3rd)

10lm PCA Rail Trail Run: Simone Donald (2nd), Charlotte Weinrauch (1st) and Jessica Raines (3rd)

21.1km PCA Forest Trail Run: Phil Hodge (2nd), Jethro Stone (1st) and Sean Harper (3rd)

21.1km PCA Forest Trail Run: Simone Donald (2nd), Elsie Norbury (1st) and Petra Galea (3rd)

11.1km PCA Forest Trail Run: James Maxwell (2nd), Stephen O’Connor (1st) and Michael Green (missing)

11.1km PCA Forest Trail Run: Debbie Thorley (2nd), Charlotte Weinrauch (1st) and Nicole Pollock (3rd)

* * *

Video of the start of the 10km run on Sunday  (Courtesy: Wondai Country Festival):

The South Burnett’s own Go Getta Girls had a contingent in Sunday’s Half Marathon (Photo: Nadine Gray)

* * *

Wondai Markets

The weather knocked the extended Wondai Markets around, but there was still plenty of stalls for visitors to explore and on-stage entertainment to enjoy.

Members of the Gympie Historical Re-Enactment Association were wandering around the markets, highlighting Gympie’s gold mining era
The Wondai QCWA and Community Choir performed some favourites with Graham Mitchell at the keyboard
Local performers Geoff Grevell and Sue Bradley had a couple of unexpected turns on the stage
The Filipino Choir also put on a lively performance
Peter Ainsley and Jocelyn Richardson, from the Nanango Theatre Company, put on an hilarious sketch, Dinner For One, during which “Miss Sophie”, the butler and her four (missing) friends consume much alcohol at her 90th birthday party

[UPDATED with correction]


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