Orange Festival fun run leads to bigger footrace proposal

July 21, 2016

An exciting new event may soon hit the Gwydir Shire events calendar, with the proposal to introduce a ‘Bingara Buster’ run, and possibly a whole health and wellbeing festival.

The Bingara Buster would be an event on the national running calendar, drawing professional runners from across the country.

At last week’s Gwydir Shire Council committee meetings, a proposal was put to Council to consider a once-off sponsorship to get the event up and running.

Gwydir Shire Council’s Duncan Thain presented the proposal to Council, with the assistance of Ms Cherisse Amer and Ms Casey McClymont who will join Mr Thain on the organising committee if the event is to go ahead.

“Our proposal is to conduct a national elite running athletic event that involves a race to the top of Batterham’s Lookout in Bingara,” Mr Thain said.

“The race would begin at Cunningham Park and finish at the top of Batterham’s Lookout.”

“We are trying to put a national event on the local calendar and I think we are well equipped to run this event,” Mr Thain declared.

Both Casey and Cherisse have been involved in the last three Fun Runs which are held in conjunction with the Bingara Orange Festival, events that have received much praise from the community and constant interest.

“The event targets professional athletes and would be similar to events held on the Sunshine Coast as part of running festivals,” Mr Thain said.

“Overall we would work to incorporate the Bingara Buster in a health and wellbeing festival in Bingara, perhaps a ‘Gwydir Mind and Body Festival’ for example.”

While planning is only in the very early stages, the current organisers have planned to hold a community meeting in the near future to gauge community interest.

“If the response is positive, a committee would be formed and the major and local sponsors would also be needed,” Mr Thain told the meeting.

“Support would also be needed from regional athletic clubs; Inverell and Tamworth are already very enthusiastic about the event.”

Last week’s presentation was essentially the first step in the long road to bringing an event of this size together.

The request to fund the event was first put to Council when groups were asked to submit applications for donations for the 2016/17 financial year. $15,000 is being requested to get the event off the ground.

“We will be looking at grant funding,” Mr Thain said.

Ms McClymont added that without sufficient funding and interest, the event would not run. “If we don’t get the numbers, it won’t go ahead,” she said.

While the Councillors present agreed that the event sounded promising and would be a great way to bring people to the area, there were many questions and concerns.

“The way we can justify a $15,000 donation is if you can guarantee that it would be a once-off donation,” Mayor John Coulton said.

Mr Thain assured the Council that the financial support would only be needed for the first year.  “As Casey said, if we don’t get the numbers it won’t go ahead, and the event wouldn’t happen if we couldn’t guarantee that it would be self-sufficient the following year,” he said.

The Buster will be a run of approximately 2.5-3km. The planning for the event has begun, with hopes that enough interest and funding will see the run take place in 2017. A community meeting will be held in the near future and more information will be available to the public.