13 Apr Bunya Spirit of Youth
After the success and growth of the Blackall 100 ultra-marathon in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Run Queensland have turned their attention to a new race event for schools and youth organisations. The Bunya Spirit of Youth will take place in late-August when Run Queensland partners with the Jinibara People, Queensland Conference and Camping Centres (QCCC) and Goombuckar Creations to establish a new prestige race event for younger Queenslanders.
The Blackall 100 has established itself as a premiere event on the international ultra-marathon schedule and doubled as the Australian long-course championship last year. The race course is also described as one of the world’s most beautiful, coursing through the mountains, valleys and gorges of the Blackall Range. In 2018 the Spirit of Youth event will use a 22-kilometre segment of the same course, but aimed at participants aged 14-18.
As the closest Outdoor Education facility to Baroon Pocket, historical venue of one of three traditional Bunya Festivals, QCCC Mapleton and Goombuckar have the endorsement of the native title holders for the Blackall Range, the Jinibara People Aboriginal Corporation (JPAC), to establish the Triballink Centre. With JPAC permission, the Spirit of Youth event will honour the Bunya Festival as a coming together of people from many places for story-telling, team-building and recreation, with a little competition thrown in for good measure. On behalf of the Jinibara People, Uncle Ken Murphy commented:
“For thousands of years my ancestors hosted people from many miles around during the bumper fruiting seasons of the Bunya tree for a time of feasting, story-telling and conflict resolution. The Jinibara people continue to welcome people from all places to this special part of the world.”
Run Queensland offers endurance and trail running events, but also aim to invest back into Queensland communities. Director Brett Standring picks up the trail:
“We’re really excited about the Festival of Youth Event because it’s a challenge which aims to foster teamwork, build new friendships and strengthen old ones. Our goal is to teach resilience, aboriginal culture, nurture connection with the land, connection with each other and test individual comfort zones. Run Queensland’s mission for the “Bunya Spirit of Youth” event is to offer a secure and safe place for our next generation to connect with the land, test themselves and experience something they may not have experienced before. We aim to foster a sense of accomplishment, understanding and inspiration to conquer any challenge.”
QCCC and Goombuckar Pty Ltd are hosting partners for the race and QCCC have come on board with the event in a big way, providing subsidised accommodation for participants and $18,000 in prizes. Director Andrew Grant said QCCC had been looking to establish a Schools Challenge for the Sunshine Coast area for quite a while:
“When the Run QLD crew were here for last year’s Blackall 100 we got talking and discovered we had the same idea. We’ve enjoyed working with each other so this is a logical step, to create a prestige race for youth with a big point of difference. It’s not just about the race, but the whole weekend of events for schools to come here together and experience the Spirit of the Bunya Festival. This year QCCC will run some Saturday activities before the race on Sunday. We will use this as trial so in future years they will form part of the Challenge Race, introducing time bonuses for the successful completion of team-building activities on the Saturday.”
Goombuckar’s Kerry Neill is putting the finishing touches to the onsite Triballink Centre, an innovative hub for Cultural Awareness Activities. The weekend will have a significant focus on Aboriginal Culture with a Welcome to Country from the Jinibara People and Goombuckar providing a dance and corroboree experience on the Saturday night.
“The Blackall Range is a very significant area for Aboriginal people, something Run Queensland have recognised. It’s exciting this is more than just a race, the weekend of events will open many eyes to the rich Aboriginal history of the Sunshine Coast.”
The Bunya Spirit of Youth event will take place this year over the weekend of 24-26th August. Teams will comprise four youths and one adult. This event is not only for school teams. Run Queensland encourage sporting teams, organisations, or even groups of friends to participate, with the only requirement being that they must be aged between 14-18. Teams are competing for more than $18,000 in prizes. Registrations are open at http://www.runqld.com.au/spirit-of-youth/