Runners pace themselves against the Gympie Rattler.
Runners pace themselves against the Gympie Rattler. Craig Warhurst

Rattler takes race for eighth time

GYMPIE runner, and co-winner of the Race the Rattler teams placings, Jack Curran had a whole different race on his hands from the one he was expecting yesterday morning.

Instead of racing the iconic Mary Valley Rattler on foot as he had planned, the long-distance champion found himself racing aboard a bus.

Curran missed his bus to take him from the race's starting point at Dagun station to the point where he was scheduled to take over from teammate Patrick Tierman.

When Tierman made it to the checkpoint, his father and fellow competitor Jim told him his partner was delayed and that it was up to him to keep them in the game.

Tierman's decision to run on was a no-brainer, as the pair was looking to win the team event for the fourth year in a row.

"I just thought, 'keep running'," said Tierman, who had initially paced himself for a 9km run and even had to swap his lightweight runners midway through the race so he could last the distance.

Curran met up with Tierman around the 14km mark for the changeover.

"Then I tried to redeem myself," said Curran, who ran a fast-paced 4.5 km to the finish line at Old Gympie Railway Station in a bid to make up for his delay.

It worked, with Curran clocking the winning team time of 1hr 2min 47sec.

It was a feat, considering both he and Tierman had only one day to recover from the state cross country titles on Saturday, where Tierman finished first and Curran seventh.

The pair said they always finished the annual event with a good story to tell and this year was no different.

"There's always something interesting that comes from this race," said Tierman, who travels from Toowoomba to race the Rattler.

However, the official victory goes to the Mary Valley Rattler, which won the event for the eighth time.

Driver Peter Alder and his fireman, president of the Mary Valley Historic Railway Tony Hallam, are the undisputed winners.

Hallam said for them the race went as planned, with the train and competitors level-pegging until Apollonian Vale.

"When we went past Apollonian Vale, Peter said to me, 'How much do you want to win by?' " Hallam said.

The train took the win despite a near-record number of competitors, with the final count sitting at 57 teams and 155 individual competitors.

Hallam said the event had a much better turnout than 2011 and said the success of the event was due to the support it received.

"I'd like to thank the people who participated, our volunteers and staff, the SES and the Dagun community," Hallam said.

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