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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

King of Lake challenge

Organisers of the Act to D-Feet MND event have laid down a challenge to participants.

January 23, 2013 4:51am

Up-and-coming Benalla triathlete Luke Baker says he can beat last year’s time of 14 minutes eight seconds as he prepares to defend his King of the Lake title at next month’s Michael Rodger — Act to D-Feet MND event.

Baker, who blitzed the field last year to record the fastest time around the Lake Benalla course in the history of the event, believes he can go quicker and possibly even break 14 minutes.

‘‘I have trained more in the past 12 months so I am feeling pretty fit and I will give it my best shot,’’ Luke said.

‘‘It would be great to come in under 14 minutes, but we will just have to wait and see how everything goes.

‘‘The event is a lot of fun, and a great way to raise money and awareness for MND,’’ he said.

This year the organising committee for the event is aiming to break the $300,000 fundraising target at Lake Benalla on Sunday, February 24.

Last year more than 1400 people walked, ran and cycled to raise more than $50,000 towards research programs to discover a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

In the five years since its inception in 2008, the event has raised more than $260,000 for research into the presently incurable disease.

The relay and King and Queen of the Lake events are extremely popular with local and visiting athletes, sporting clubs and other organisations.

Co-ordinator of the running events Pip O’Donoghue believes this year’s events will again be hotly contested.

‘‘We would like to see the best athletes from across the region competing in the King and Queen events.

‘‘Luke has thrown out the challenge to other runners to try and beat his time which should result in an exciting race.’’

Luke holds the record from past winners Chris Harvey (14.19) and Daniel Maher (14.50).

Last year’s Queen of the Lake, Penny Hall, holds the women’s record with a time of 17.08 from Georgia Rodger (17.57).

In recent years, local clubs Benalla Saints and Goorambat Netballers, have had a stranglehold on the men’s and women’s relay events, and are again expected to field strong teams.

The day will also include a long cycle event (89km), short cycle event (26km) and the annual walk.

Entertainment will also be provided throughout the day and lunch and refreshments will be available.

Every cent raised from the event is donated to research into the disease.

Pre-event registrations will once again be available in the weeks leading up to the day at Mitchell Health Care, Bridge St, Benalla.

Sporting clubs and organisations wishing to enter a relay team are asked to phone Pip O’Donoghue on 0411715208.

History of event

Michael Rodger Act to D-Feet MND was first held in March 2008 after popular Benalla businessman and sportsman, Michael Rodger, was diagnosed with the disease.

Since then a small but committed organising committee, with the tremendous support of the broader community, has raised more than $260,000 to help find a cure for the disease.

After a brave battle, Michael passed away in March 2010.

MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells controlling the muscles that enable us to move around, speak, swallow and breathe, progressively fail to work normally.

The disease, which affects about 1300 people in Australia and their families, was first described in 1869, however there is still no known cause or cure and treatment options are limited.

On average, one person dies every day of MND in Australia.

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