Enjoy running off the beaten track

March 22, 2018

Runners in the 2017 O'Keefe challenge

THIS year the O’Keefe Challenge offers plenty of variety for those who prefer an off-road trail run. Events will cater for the novice through to the experienced runner. For the novice, the O’Keefe Challenge offers several events that are ideal for those starting out or wanting to ‘up it a notch’.

For the experienced runner, we provide the age graded winner the opportunity to take home Mandalay’s ‘Pot of Gold’, the biggest prize of its type offered in Australia, together with the opportunity to represent Australia at the Wenlock Olympian Games (England).

To give an added interest this year, we have changed some of the courses and added the odd challenge here and there.

Our amazing marathon course starts on the outskirts of Bendigo on the grounds of the Baptist Church Junortoun, and follows the historic O’Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote. The Ekiden Relay (seven team members) follows the same course with teams changing runners at Longlea Rd, Axedale, Knowsley, Moorabee Rd, Derrinal Railway Station site and Mia Mia Derrinal Road.

The Marathon and Ekiden Relay follow the historic O’Keefe Rail Trail, passing through Longlea, Axedale township then crossing over the picturesque Campaspe River, through the Knowsley Forest to Knowsley. This year the half marathon will start at the Knowsley CFA station. The three events continue to follow the O’Keefe Trail passing by Lake Eppalock, open fields and dense bushland before reaching the final destination at the oval in the heart of Heathcote.

The 10km, 5km and Mile events will offer satisfying challenges, and the opportunity to be part of the O’Keefe Challenge experience. These are perfect events to become more accustomed to running off the bitumen without it being too rough.

The course will take runners on a journey through a diverse range of landscapes. Starting on the oval at Heathcote, runners will experience the thrill of running past the liquid ambers in all their autumn glory, the surreal experience of running on pine needles through the pine forest, before embarking on the McIvor Creek trail as it meanders through a variety of landscapes. The 10km will continue on and pick up the experience of the O’Keefe Trail and the beautiful One Eyed Forest before returning back to the oval.

Runners in all events will experience the thrill of running the final 190 metres on the oval, past crowds of cheering supporters. As they cross the finish line they will be presented with an O’Keefe Challenge finisher’s medal.

There will also be loads of events happening on the oval including the Wenlock Tribute race, the school KM and the kids’ dash for the little ones, dressed as their favourite super hero.

For further details, visit or contact the event director on 0417 350911.

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