THE O’Keefe Rail Trail Marathon is more than a race — it’s a community event.
At the official launch on Thursday a new slogan — Run, cycle, walk and roll the O’Keefe — was unveiled aiming to unite people of all backgrounds.
After a successful inaugural event in 2016, the organisers decided to include more opportunities for people of all abilities this year, including people in wheelchairs.
Event director Sandra Slatter said the O’Keefe marathon had been developed to be an all abilities event.
‘‘It will provide a wonderful new opportunity for participants, volunteers and their families to experience the beautiful environment between Bendigo and Heathcote while embracing and encouraging a healthy lifestyle,’’ she said.
‘‘The event has been expanded to include five cycling events and seven running events.
‘‘There will also be a special ‘meet the locals’ participant dinner and of course Vinnie our local Australian disc jockey with a disability will provide the post event entertainment.
‘‘There are also several new initiatives including friendship tags for the Ekiden relay.
‘‘The race is symbolic in bringing people together, who in the past may not have been physically active, to achieve an objective or dream.’’
Maps will be made available closer to the event including a smartphone app which offers competitors the chance to access their information live.
‘‘Thanks to our gold sponsor, Mandalay Resources, there is an opportunity for a marathon runner, regardless of age, gender or ability, to represent Australia at the 2018 Wenlock Olympian Games in England,’’ Ms Slatter said.