by Mat Churchill
Another major sporting event is coming to Port Douglas thanks to the Port Douglas Event Management (PDEM) team who have secured funding for the 2011 Great Barrier Reef Adventure Marathon.
PDEM, the company responsible for the 2012 Solar Eclipse Marathon, has received a $40,000 Major Events Grant from Cairns Regional Council which was announced last Thursday, ensuring the event will go ahead.
PDEM spokesperson Bruno Bennett said the 2011 Great Barrier Reef Adventure Marathon is part of a bigger plan to bring more events of this nature to Port Douglas.
"It's part of a four-year plan and this is really year one, and what we've been hoping to do is build an event off the 2012 Solar Eclipse Marathon. Now with Council support and the $40,000 that's going to happen.
"In 2011, our objective is to get 400 participants and will be the start of an event which we think will be fantastic for the region. 2012 will have 3,000 (participants), and after that we'll have an event which is established which will cater for 1,000 plus.
"In some ways 2011 is a test event for 2012. It'll give us a chance to have a look at the course (which will be the same as that used for the 2012 Solar Eclipse Marathon) and just be prepared for 2012 . But 2011 is the first Great Barrier Reef Adventure Marathon which is also exciting."
Mr Bennett said one, two and seven night packaged holidays will be available which will cater for regional entrants as well as people from around Australia and overseas.
He also encouraged locals to enter the event which also includes shorter distance courses.
"What we're really looking for is the participation of people from Port Douglas. There'll be events from 5km up to the marathon so there's no reason we couldn't have a couple of hundred local people involved.
"They've got plenty of time to get in shape and entry fees will be very good value for money and will certainly reflect our desire to have locals involved."
Mr Bennett confirmed Commonwealth Games gold medalist and four-time Olympic Games marathon runner Steve Moneghetti will be throwing his support behind the events.
"We know that Steve Moneghetti will be involved so there's a chance for people to run with an Olympic legend. He'll be a frequent visitor to Port Douglas over the next four years.
A new Great Barrier Reef Marathon website will be created with the view to taking entries by 21 February, and The Newsport will let you know when it becomes live.
The 2011 Great Barrier Reef Marathon gained funding as part of a Cairns Regional Council and TTNQ Event Strategy designed to provide an over arching framework for developing regional events.
As part of the strategy, local event organisers can apply for financial assistance in three areas including Developmental Events, Community Festivals, Major Events.
“The events strategy was designed to ensure the region’s rich diversity of festival and events. It will ensure vibrancy across the north’s multi- cultural community,” Mayor Val Schier said.
“There are some strict criteria that individuals or groups are required to meet when applying for grants and each application is graded against them.”
The Development Event stream awarded $30,000 to three recipients:
• the Cairns Ukulele Festival - $20,000
• Cairns Underwater Film Festival - $5,000
• the Go Troppo Arts Festival - $5,000.
The Community Festival Grants and Events grants awarded more than $20,000 to six recipients:
• Cairns Adventure Film Festival -$5,000 Cairns
• Far North Environment Centre Envirofiesta - $5,000
• Rock Impact Inc. Pests in the Park - $5,000
• Cairns and Regional Multicultural Association Tropical Wave Festival - $5,0000
• Autism Queensland Cairns Autism Awareness Day $800 in kind
• Port Douglas Outrigger Canoe Club 2011 for the Marlin Coast Challenge - $2,300.
The Major Events Grants stream delivered $70,000 to four recipients:
• Port Douglas Event Management for 2011 Great Barrier Reef Adventure Marathon - $40,000
• The Roots Music Agency for the Reggaetown Festival 2011 - $10,000
• Cairns Blues Festival -$10,000
• Festivals Up North for the Cairns Buskers and Comedy Festival - $10,000