Australians racing for marathon titles this weekend

Bendigo to host its first-ever national championship event

The Bendigo Mountain Bike Club will host the Australian Marathon Championships this Sunday, September 20 at Sedgwick near Bendigo. After bushfires destroyed the previous location, Bendigo was the chosen to fill in. According to club President, John Harvey, this will be the biggest event undertaken by the club. The championship will be run in conjunction with the Golden Triangle Epic.

The City of Bendigo and local businesses are supporting what will be the first-ever national mountain bike event to come to Bendigo. The region will play host to Australia's best riders including local elite rider, Joanna Wall, who was part of the successful Australian Team to recently compete at the World Championships in Canberra. In addition, local youngster, Shelly Flood, will race the half marathon.

The men's race is drawing two 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Champions including last year's champion James Williamson and current champion Jason English. Ben Mather from Tasmania is expected to be a top contender after taking the King of the Mountain title recently at the Grafton to Inverell race.

"We have definitely attracted the top riders," said Harvey. "The national jersey is a big draw card. There are still some entries coming in, too."

Elite riders will vye for the green and gold national champion's jersey and possible selection to compete at the 2010 UCI World MTB Marathon Championships in Germany.

The day will not just about the elite riders though according to Harvey."We look forward to welcoming a large field of riders ranging from the novices and juniors doing the 25km or the 50km event along with the elite riders battling it out over the longer 105km. Some of the half and quarter distance riders will go hard, and some will just be out to enjoy the ride and the scenery."

Racing will get underway at 7:55 am for the full distance.

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