Marathon beaten by virus

Catherine MasseyManjimup-Bridgetown Times
2019 Blackwood Marathon winning team Lemonis/Tantiprasut Lawyers will not have the chance to defend their crown this year.
Camera Icon2019 Blackwood Marathon winning team Lemonis/Tantiprasut Lawyers will not have the chance to defend their crown this year. Credit: Flying Eye Photograpy

For the first time in its 41-year history the LiveLighter Blackwood Marathon Relay will not go ahead on the last weekend of October, another casualty of COVID-19.

The beloved marathon usually attracts about 1000 athletes, supporters and spectators to take part and watch the five-leg relay of running, canoeing, swimming, cycling and horse riding.

Competitor organiser Sue Doust said the event team was disappointed the marathon could not proceed this year.

“We tossed around ways that we could possibly do it and how we could make it work with the restrictions that are still in place, but it was beyond our scope,” she said.

“We don’t have the resources, it just wasn’t achievable this year.”

In previous years the popular event has boasted more than 300 teams who push themselves to the limit throughout the 35km course from Boyup Brook to Bridgetown.

Mrs Doust said at the end of September the marathon had already 90 entries for event, an increase of 20 compared to the same time last year.

The Blackwood Marathon started out as a vision from the Bridgetown Rotary Club to celebrate Western Australia’s 150th anniversary, and is now its major annual event as well as a driver for tourism in the region.

Rotary Club of Bridgetown president Brendan Punch said he thought COVID-19 restrictions would have loosened by now, which would have enabled the event to proceed as usual.

“We got to the point where we had to decide whether or not the event would go ahead and things hadn’t loosened as much as we thought,” he said. “It would have taken a lot of organising and resources to get the marathon itself COVID safe.”

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