Not many 70 year olds have run a marathon, but Light Regional Council mayor Bill O’Brien will notch up his 55th effort at the inaugural Runaway Barossa Marathon in October.
Mr O’Brien has dedicated his life to his family and community, and he is encouraging local residents to gather up a crowd and to join him at Runaway Barossa to experience some of the most scenic areas of Australia’s premier wine growing area.
“The Barossa combines a few of my biggest passions, the beautiful area, the sensational wines, and the ability to go for a run and enjoy a wine afterwards,” he said.
“The Barossa is a wonderful place to run around and you see something new every time you go out. And the different seasons bring a totally different look to the area.
“Then there is the quality of the food and produce of the region and its agricultural base.”
At his best Mr O’Brien recorded a time of 2:58, and while that may not be under threat this year, the mayor is thrilled to get on the start line.
“I think bringing Runaway Barossa to the valley is wonderful because it will highlight this region and is wonderful for our tourism promotion,” he said.
“I can talk the Barossa up all I like but once the people across Australia and overseas see it and experience it for themselves they will think we might have even underplayed. They will think it is even better than we told them.”
The run itself covers a wide section of the Barossa, offering a creative marathon and half marathon courses, plus a 10-kilometre and shorter children’s run among the beautiful countryside on a mix of sealed roads and hard packed trails.
The Barossa is a wonderful place to run around and you see something new every time you go out. And the different seasons bring a totally different look to the area.Light Regional Council Mayor Bill O’Brien
Runners will journey through some of the most picturesque locations in the Barossa – a mix of historical buildings, private vineyards and lush grounds, and finishing at the historic Peter Lehmann Wines.
An unwanted injury is less than ideal preparation for Mr O’Brien, but he said he is determined to get his body fit in time for the marathon.
“I am a bit injured at the moment and it is a bit frustrating but I will be doing the full marathon and wouldn’t contemplate doing anything less,” he said.
“I was in pretty reasonable nick before this injury but I am determined to get myself back on track and complete Runaway Barossa Marathon.
“I want to do it and I have entered already so I am going to encourage a lot of other people who are around to do the marathon, or one of the other distances as well.
“It is all about leading by example and this is a great opportunity to be the Pied Piper and get people involved and say ‘Come on, if this old timer can do it you can.’”
For more information visit runawaybarossamarathon.com.au.