Cameron Dew, from Narangba, took home a 3rd prize in Saturday’s Dash For Cash … despite being a tad chicken!

June 29, 2023

Unexpected winter warmth greeted runners at the sixth annual Wondai Country Running Festival on the weekend.

The two-day event, held on the South Burnett Rail Trail and in the adjoining McEuen State Forest, attracted competitors from across southern Queensland.

But despite the visiting athletes, South Burnett runners also shone, taking out many podium positions.

Saturday’s events featured family-friendly community races, including “dashes” for cash and a fun run.

Entrants were greeted by cowbells as they crossed the finishing line.

In the afternoon, more experienced runners headed across-country, dodging obstacles on bush trails through the State Forest.

A dinner at Wondai Town Hall was organised on Saturday night for the many competitors in the Sunday events who were camping overnight in the local area.

On Sunday morning, these serious athletes tackled full marathon (42.2km), half-marathon (21.1km) or 10km events along the bitumen rail trail.

As well as having fun (and winning prizes), competitors also had the opportunity to help out some good causes.

They donated more than 150 pairs of running shoes to be sent to Papua New Guinea and by recycling their cans and bottles, raised some cash for Relay For Life.

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Wondai Country Running Festival committee member Liz Nicholson was adding some colour (and cowbell clanking) at the starting line
Race volunteers Jodi Chamberlayne, Wondai; Claire Kapernick, Cloyna; and Michelle Hansen, Kingaroy
Volunteer Sean Nicholson was kept busy behind the microphone

* * *

Dash For Cash

Lenny Dew, from Narangba (2nd) and James McCarthy, Nanango (1st) battled it out in the Under 18s Dash For Cash

The CROW-FM Dash For Cash was the first of the Wondai Country Running Festival events to hit the Rail Trail after parkrun.

There were three races – with prizes for males and females – run across the 1km course, starting at the bridge over the creek.

The surprise winner of the 18-40 women’s category was South Burnett councillor Kirstie Schumacher.


  • Under 18s Men – 1. James McCarthy 3:24; 2. Lenny Dew; 3. Sean Anderson
  • Under 18s Women – 1. Amelia Jorgensen 4:10; 2. Lacey James; 3. Grace
  • 18-40 Men – 1. James Laird 3:09; 2. Matt McCauley, 3. Cameron Dew
  • 18-40 Women – 1. Kirstie Schumacher 4:27; 2. Chloe Turner, 3. Brandy Stutz
  • Over 40 Men – 1. Fritz Radda 3:59; 2. Craig Kapernick; 3. Warren McKean
  • Over 40 Women – 1. Esther Farmilo 4:13; 2. Michelle Hansen; 3. Sonya
Amelia Jorgensen, from Wondai, was the first girl home in the Under 18s category and third overall
James McCarthy and Lenny Dew hit the finishing line almost together in the Under 18s Dash For Cash
James Laird, from Brisbane, was first home in the 18-40s category
Cr Kirstie Schumacher was the first woman home in the 18-40s category
Fritz Radda, from the Sunshine Coast, outpaced local favourite Craig Kapernick, from Cloyna, in the Over 40s category
Esther Farmilo, from Kingaroy, was the first woman home in the Over 40s category
Craig Kapernick and Fritz Radda after their Over 40s Dash For Cash success

* * *

Family Fun Run

The 2km Hansen Kitchens Family Fun Run is always one of the most popular events at the Wondai Country Running Festival.

The event is untimed but all the competitors had an opportunity to roll the dice after they passed the finishing line to win random prizes.

Having fun at the starting line of the Hansen Kitchens Family Fun Run …
… and they’re off! The younger children are always first away, and often first home!
Lydia Martin, 7, from Buderim, was first over the line (by a long way) in the Family Fun Run

* * *

All Abilities

Everyone was a winner in the 1km South Burnett CTC All Abilities race, which is also very popular on Saturday morning.  

It was keenly contested with competitors and carers tackling the course along the South Burnett Rail Trail.

Serenading cowbells welcomed the runners as they passed across the finishing line.

All the entrants received a wooden Wondai Country Running Festival medallion.

The starting line-up for the All Abilities Race
Everyone received a medallion in the All Abilities Race, but Bradley Courtney, from Yarraman, was first across the line
Elaine Madill, from the Wondai Art Gallery – which auspiced the festival – had an easier time in the All Abilities Race … Elaine also organised the Wondai Markets and entertainment which was happening across the road in Coronation Park
Competitors celebrate at the end of the All Abilities Race

* * *

Forest Trail Runs

The competition became more serious on Saturday afternoon with the running of the two Bega PCA Forest Trail Runs through the nearby McEuen State Forest.

The across-country races were held across two distances: 11.1km and 21.1km.

11.1km Results:

  • Men – 1. Adrian Royce 46:49; 2. Stephen O’Connor 48:47; 3. Eddie Pearson 53:16
  • Women – 1. Sarah Martin 54:30; 2. Paige O’Connor 55:58; 3. Chloe Turner 57:22

21.1km Results:

  • Men – 1. Chris Fenton 1:42:20; 2. Robert Piers 2:00:03; 3. Billy Harland 2:01:50
  • Women – 1. Lauren Ormsby 1:45:48; 2. Lee Cleary 2:06:57; 3. Petra Galea 2:08:49

[Photos by Nadine Gray Photography]

Paul Feasey, from sponsors Bega PCA, with the Men’s 11.1 Forest Trail Run podium … Stephen O’Connor (2nd), Adrian Royce (1st) and Eddie Pearson (3rd)
Successful in the Women’s 11.1 Forest Trail Run … Chloe Turner (3rd) and Paige O’Connor (2nd)
Men’s 21.1 Forest Trail Run podium … Robert Piers (2nd), Chris Fenton (1st) and Billy Harland (3rd)
Paul Feasey, from sponsors Bega PCA, with Women’s 21.1 Forest Trail Run podium … Lee Cleary (2nd), Lauren Ormsby  (1st) and Petra Galea (3rd)

* * *

Sunday Events

Sunday’s events tested the mettle of the most serious runners who had registered across the weekend.

It was an early start for the Ken Mills Marathon, Bendigo Bank Half-Marathon and Ryans Butchery 10km run.

All the races were run along the Rail Trail.

Marathon Results:

  • Men – 1. Robert Ormsby 2:52:33; 2. Adrian Royce 2:52:52; 3. Riley Taylor 2:59:24
  • Women – 1. Amanda Hodgkinson 3:52:21; 2. Petra Galea 3:54:35; 3. Ricki-Lee Vanderweegen 4:04:49

Half-Marathon Results:

  • Men – 1. Emmanuel Vergara 1:20:24; 2. Samuel Schuler 1:25:43; 3. Zac Frampton 1:28:28
  • Women – 1. Nikki Roddie 1:36:09; 2. Deb Nicholl 1:37:37; 3. Ange Harries 1:44:50

10km Results:

  • Men – 1. Matt McNamara 37:24; 2. Sam Scott 37:55; 3. Zac Farmilo 38:09
  • Women – Sarah Ellis 39:54; 2. Janet Smith 40:53; 3. Sarah Martin 44:26

[Photos by Nadine Gray Photography]

Thomas Carroll, from sponsors Ken Mills, with the Marathon men’s podium … Adrian Royce (2nd), Robert Ormsby (1st) and Riley Taylor (3rd)
The Marathon women’s podium … Petra Galea (2nd), Amanda Hodgkinson (1st) and Ricki-Lee Vanderweegen (3rd)

Men’s Half-Marathon podium … Samuel Schuler (2nd), Emmanuel Vergara (1st) and Zac Frampton (3rd)

Men’s 10km podium … Sam Scott (2nd), Matt McNamara (1st) and Zac Farmilo (3rd)

Women’s Half-Marathon podium … Deb Nicholl (2nd), Nikki Roddie (1st) and Ange Harries (3rd)

A Ryans Butchery rep with the women’s 10km podium … Janet Smith (2nd), Sarah Ellis (1st) and Sarah Martin (3rd)

* * *

Saturday Night’s Dinner

On Saturday night, competitors, friends and race sponsors gathered at Wondai Town Hall to enjoy a “country” dinner.

Guests were treated to a two-course meal prepared by JC Catering and live entertainment.

A special treat was mulled wine – served in special souvenir glasses.

Greg Garner, Gympie with Anita and Graeme Staley, from Mary Valley
Brian McAlister, Wondai; Karen Chambers, Murgon, and Elaine Madill, Wondai
Margaret Burrows and Pam McAlister, Wondai
Debbie Hannan, Mark and Samantha Pledger, and Calvin Hannam … all from Maryborough
Race director Ros Heit was kept busy making sure everything was running smoothly at Saturday night’s dinner, but she still had a big Sunday event ahead
Dean Gibson and James Laird, from Brisbane
Wondai Town Hall was filled for Saturday night’s dinner


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