THE annual Great Wheelbarrow Race is set for a shake up next year after the committee voted to turn the race around.
After 13 years running from Mareeba to Chillagoe, Committee Chair Nipper Brown said it was time to ‘bring the gold home’ to Mareeba. “After careful consideration and community consultation with key stakeholders, the decision was made to revive and refresh the signature event,” Cr Brown said.
Councillor Nipper Brown added that the committee hopes the new direction will reduce safety concerns and generate more interest in the event.
In 2004, as a tribute to the early pioneers and to honour their amazing trail-blazing feats, the road between Mareeba and Chillagoe was named the Wheelbarrow Way and sparked the beginning of the unique event.
The charity event will remain a three day fun-filled endurance challenge, taking in the rugged picturesque landscape. Competitors will start the 144km journey in Chillagoe on the Friday morning and will arrive to a home crowd in Mareeba on the Sunday.
Councillor Nipper Brown said the committee will “trial the turnaround in 2017 and see how it goes.” “There will be a number of changes made to the race and it’s going to be exciting having new challenges for all involved,” he said.
Race record holder and Mareeba local Sonya Alba-Miller said she is looking forward to the new challenge and running into Mareeba to a home crowd. “The revitalised Great Wheelbarrow Race has got me excited and thinking about how I’m going to run it,” she said.
The event will be held on 19-21 May 2017. More information will be released in the coming months with nominations opening early next year.
Race enthusiasts are encouraged to keep an eye on the event’s website and Facebook page for exciting updates.