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25 August, 2021

The great race returns

THROUGH trials and tribulations, The Great Wheelbarrow Race has been fully revived in its three-day glory as they look ahead to bring the race back for 2022.

By Rhys Thomas

THROUGH trials and tribulations, The Great Wheelbarrow Race has been fully revived in its three-day glory as they look ahead to bring the race back for 2022. 

Much to the dismay of veteran racers and committee members The Great Wheelbarrow Race was unfortunately cancelled this year with not enough submissions being received to run the race. 

During lockdowns, the committee pulled out all the stops trying to get the event approved and although they were able to get a one-day event approved, three days proved too much. 

Now looking ahead to 2022 The Great Wheelbarrow Race committee chair Locky Benstead in encouraging people to get excited for next year's event. 

“We are planning to return to the three-day format in 2022,” he said. 

“The Wheelbarrow Race is iconic, nowhere else does this.” 

The 140km gruelling journey is unlike any other found in Australia and possibly the wider world, following in the footsteps and wheelbarrow tracks of old Australians during the region’s gold rush. 

Not only is the event looked forward to by the competitors but the towns and businesses the race travels through and connects. 

“In terms of tourism the wheelbarrow race is a real opportunity for those western towns to get a free tourism drive,” Mr Benstead said.

“A much needed and extra drive with the race running through those communities.”

Mr Benstead also had some words to the veteran and newcomer competitors alike about next year’s race. 

“Don’t let this race run its course, come back we need to keep this going,” he said. 

“We need you, the teams are what makes the race.

“If you’ve always thought about it and never done it here is your opportunity to do something that is done nowhere else.”

Volunteers needed for regions greatest race

WHILE it is looking like green lights for the 2022 Great Wheelbarrow Race to continue the committee has asked for assistance in the form of volunteers and new committee members. 

Three people have stepped down from roles in the committee due to various reasons and now there are some important shoes to fill. 

Like many important events in the Mareeba shire and across the country, the Great Wheelbarrow Race couldn’t run without volunteers.

“When you run an event as big as the Great Wheelbarrow Race, that encompasses two nights and three days, your volunteer base is critical,” Mr Benstead said.

“It’s about having people on the ground who want to be a part of the community and be a part of the Great Wheelbarrow Race.” 

Longstanding committee members Rob Miller, Deb Qazim and Terry Roos have all stepped down for various reasons, leaving these committee positions vacant.

“I thank these outgoing members for their years of commitment and hard work because without those three the race wouldn’t have happened,” Mr Benstead said. 

Committee members are just as important as volunteers and Mr Benstead is urging anyone who would like to get involved in the Great Wheelbarrow Race email

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