Event Organiser Out of Steam

After 5 years at the helm and lengthy deliberation I have decided not to continue organising Race the Train. 

When I established the event in 2013 it was for a number of reasons:

- to help showcase the Victorian Goldfields Railway (VGR)
- introduce cyclists to the off-road connectivity between Castlemaine and Maldon
- encourage cycle tourism to the area
- provide a participation event for cyclists of all ages and abilities, and
- offer the point of difference of trying to beat the train!

I am really proud that each one of these objectives has been achieved and I know that people look forward to it each year, but it will not be me who can take it beyond this point. Apart from event day it’s a one girl show; i.e. there is no committee to spread the load and I do everything myself - and I just don’t have the capacity to do that moving forward. 

But it's only me that’s out of steam so if there is someone out there (club, individual or event company) that would like to take over the running of the event PLEASE CONTACT ME!... all the assets are available and VGR would love for it to continue (they just don't have the cycling event experience to take it on themselves). 

In the 5 years it’s been running its grown from 120 participants to 342 last year and has raised more than $5,000 for the VGR. Last year there were 244 non-MTBA members and 98 MTBA members confirming the event's strong appeal to both competitive and social riders. And the biggest thrill for me has been having riders as young as 4 and as old as seventy-five cycling the full distance. 

For me personally there are many people to thank; first and foremost is Garry Aitchison who was the Marketing Manager at the VGR when I first proposed the idea back in 2012. Sadly, Garry passed away suddenly last December. It was Garry that took the idea to the VGR Board to convince them to support the event. I’m very grateful for Garry’s efforts and the Board’s support and trust in me. 

From a sponsorship point of view the event could not have even got off the ground without the three-year commitment by Waller Realty. Coupled with one-year contributions by the Maldon and District Community Bank and KR Castlemaine these three significant financial contributions enabled all the first-year foundation work to be commissioned.

The Mount Alexander Shire has also been an incredible supporter and through their annual “Strengthening Our Community” Grants Scheme I have been able to secure funding each year to cover the traffic management costs associated with the event.

A massive thanks also to the McClure family for allowing us to descend upon the Old Castlemaine Gaol each year and to Pete, Gary and Michael from the Bike Vault for their generosity with time, promotion, giveaways and mechanical support each year.

My sincere thanks to my family who, along with the incredible volunteers, have supported me in this pursuit and enabled event day to happen each year for the past 5 years! 

Thanks everyone for your support of the event and please continue to support the VGR and keep riding! It really is good for the soul!

Sincerely, Paula Ewing

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