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The O’Keefe Challenge

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This amazing marathon course starts on the outskirts of Bendigo, and follows the historic O'Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote. Passing the banks of the Campaspe River, Lake Eppalock, and the small towns of Axedale and Knowsley before reaching its final destination in the heart of Heathcote.

How to enter the The O’Keefe Challenge

  1. Marathon

    Run 42.4km
    AUD $89–AUD $111
    Event passed
  2. Half Marathon

    Run 21.1km
    AUD $60–AUD $80
    Event passed
  3. 10k

    Run 10km
    AUD $10–AUD $45
    Event passed
  4. 5k

    Run 5km
    AUD $10–AUD $20
    Event passed

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The O’Keefe Challenge routes


This amazing marathon course starts on the outskirts of Bendigo, and follows the historic O’Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote. From the Bendigo Baptist Church in Junortoun on the outskirts of Bendigo, runners will pass through beautiful bushland, through the small townships of Axedale and Knowsley, cross the Campaspe River and along the banks of Lake Eppalock. Runners will reach their final destination in the heart of Heathcote at Barrack Reserve.

Half Marathon

From Knowsley to the heart of Heathcote, this run follows the historic O’Keefe Rail Trail passing Lake Eppalock, open fields and dense bushland. It is a mostly flat route, so is accessible to everyone.

10 km

The Athlete’s Foot Bendigo 10km offers those that enjoy runs of this classic distance a satisfying challenge on a NEW cross country course that will take in part of the McIvor Ranges.

For the novice runner who has not competed off the bitumen in an event, it is a perfect event to become more accustomed to running away from the bitumen without it being too rough. We expect it will attract a few who enjoy ‘light trail running’ or find bitumen boring, too.


The 5km Real Estate Run / Walk Against Dementia is a picturesque course starting and finishing at Barrack Reserve in the heart of Heathcote. Runners will take in some of Heathcote’s hidden gems in the Liquid Ambers and the McIvor Creek Trail.

This is a low key event, similar in style to the popular parkrun phenomenon in that this also encourages the participation of the local community in promoting health, fitness and your wellbeing.

Times are not as important. The aim is to finish and to support a great cause.

All participants will receive a specially crafted ‘Forget Me Not’ (which is the symbol for dementia) medals of participation at the finish line.

Event Details

What’s Included

A unique O’Keefe Challenge finishers medal.

Raceday Logistics


Race Briefing – 7:15am

Race Start – 7:30am

Finish Location – Barrack Reserve, High St. Heathcote

Cut off time: 6 hours

Half Marathon

Race Briefing – 8:15am

Race Start – 8:30am

Finish Location – Barrack Reserve, High St. Heathcote

Cut off time: 4 hours


Race Briefing – 10:25 am

Race Start – 10:30am

Finish Location – Barrack Reserve, High St. Heathcote

Cut off time: 2 hours


Race Briefing – 10:25 am

Race Start – 10:30am

Finish Location – Barrack Reserve, High St. Heathcote

Cut off time: 1.5 hours

Kit List
No Mandatory Gear.
Prospective volunteers can get in touch with the O'Keefe Challenge team via

When will I receive my bibs?

Entries prior to Sunday 25 March 2018

Bibs will be mailed out to participants to the postal address provided in the week commencing Monday 9 April 2018.

Entries after Sunday 25 March 2018

Those who have entered after this date will be required to collect their race packs from:

  • Friday 20 April: Bendigo Athletics Track, 58 Retreat Rd, Flora Hill VIC 3550 between 4pm – 6pm.
  • Saturday 21 April: Bendigo Athletics Track, 58 Retreat Rd, Flora Hill VIC 3550 between 2pm – 5pm.
  • Sunday 22 April: Barrack Reserve Stadium, High St, Heathcote from 6:00am onwards.
  • Marathon and Half Marathon entrants who cannot make one of the above collection times can collect their bibs from the ‘Baggage Drop’ located near start line at Junortoun and Knowsley respectively.

What is The O’Keefe Challenge?

The Marathon event was originally part of the Heathcote Community Games in 2015, but became a standalone event in 2016 with further cycling, walking and community activities added in 2017 and 2018.

But the O’Keefe Challenge is more than just one race, there are running and walking events from the 42.2km Marathon down to a 500 metre dash, a social night ride, family scavenger bike ride, the Axedale Historic Walk and community activities, too.

All of these activities are designed to celebrate fitness, nature and the community spirit of the Heathcote region.

Where does the money from the O’Keefe Challenge go?

Proceeds from entries are used to ensure a safe and well supported event; and the profit is donated to the proposed Heathcote Dementia Village Project.

What is the connection with the Wenlock Olympian Games?

The legacy of the O’Keefe Challenge’s inspiration is drawn from Dr. William Penny Brooks, the founder of the Wenlock Olympian Games and the inspiration for the Modern Olympic Games.

This will be be perpetually honoured through:

  • Awarding of the prestigious Wenlock Olympian Medals to the Male & Female Marathon Champions.
    The O’Keefe Challenge is the only event outside of the England to have been granted the honour of presenting these prestigious medals.
  • The Wenlock Tribute Event:
    honouring the introduction of female athletes into sporting events.

Apart from the running, cycling and walks, what other activities are happening on the day?

There will be activities for the young and old on the oval at the finish line at Barrack Reserve. Join in the festivities including novelty races and events, temporary tattoos, Balloon Man, jumping castle and loads more.

The area outside of the oval will be transformed into a Village Green, featuring a Kids Zone for the parents and their kids to take time out whilst they nibble on some of the local delicacies provided by the local schools. There will be a special event day market offering healthy food options and a chance to grab some bargains, plus a new wet area to enjoy a glass of Heathcote’s fine local wines and craft beers.

Is there a Bag Drop?

Yes, a bag drop service will be managed by a team of volunteers at the Barrack Reserve building. Marathon and Half Marathon participants can also leave belongings with the event volunteers at their race start locations in Junortoun and Knowsley. We ask that you provide your own labelled plastic bag where practical.

Are there toilets along the route/s?

Yes! There will be some official toilets located along the route/s. There will also be toilets at the start and finish locations. When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.

Further details will be provided closer to the event.

Where are the drink stations along the route?

Yes. There will be drink and aid stations, manned by local volunteer groups, along all course routes and at the start and finish locations.

These stations are situated roughly every 4km – 5km along the Marathon and Half Marathon course and approximately every 2.5km for the 10km and 5km courses.

Further details will be provided closer to the event.

Questions & answers

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The O’Keefe Challenge weather forecast

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.

Predicted highs
Predicted lows
IconLight breeze possible, up to 8mph

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