On a Mission


A DREAM came true for Mission Beach’s Danny Reed recently when he crossed the finish line at the Ona Mission Multisport Adventure Race to uproarious cheers.


The 21-year-old, who has muscular dystrophy, raced down the beach in a wheelchair pushed by childhood schoolmate, Cody Shaw, as part of a team that came together under Danny’s name.


“He saw people in the Ona Mission t-shirts after last year’s event and said he wanted to do it – he’s been talking about it for a long time, so we made it happen,’’ family friend, Sheryl Shaw, said.


She recruited her son Cody as the runner and Danny’s Carer, Angela Dearlove, enlisted her son, Jacob, as rider. Then Sheryl phoned a long-time competitor Phil Berry-Porter to see if he could paddle Danny to Dunk Island in a double sea kayak. And Angela’s other son, Scott, began organising team t-shirts.


“We told Danny that he was in the race and to see his face…,’’ Sheryl said. “He was lost for words.’’ 


With blustery conditions on Sunday, Danny missed out on the paddle, but he was part of the final run – in a beach wheelchair offered to the team on the day of the event when Mission Beach Surf Lifesaving Club members learned the plans had gone awry. 


“He had a great time – he wants to do it again,’’ his mother, Jo Reed, said. “We’re grateful to Sheryl, Angela, and the boys for all the time they put in to make this happen. It worked out really well.”


Adding to the buzz, Danny’s ‘Team Dandiflower’ finished second in the short course team category.


Cassowary Coast Multisport Club President Richard Blanchette said “Captain Danny’s” team had made this year a special one for the event and the community.


“We had competitors from across Queensland here for our ‘adventure in paradise’ but it was this team and all of Danny’s supporters that really heightened the atmosphere,” he advised.


Townsville’s Sam Stedman earned another Ona Mission title in the solo long course after four hours and 22 minutes of racing, coming in ahead of Allan Jefferson, also from Townsville, while Mission Beach’s Julie Lightfoot won the long course women’s event ahead of Townsville’s Julia Anderson. In the short course, Brisbane’s Tim Whitburn won the men’s event, ahead of Mission Beach’s Luke Tamblyn and Ben Felan, while Kathy White was a hometown women’s champion with Brisbane’s Amanda Attard finishing second.


Locals also featured in the team events, with wins to the long course teams of Ryan Holdsworth and John Irving, and Michelle Lloyd, Claire Sharpe, and Sharon Hoey, and Ken Dyson with Linda Davis and Julie Brunker. In the short course, winning local teams were Craig Harris, Ben Smith, and Adrian House, and Jo Propsting, Michaela O Neill, and Michelle Sutton, as well as David Rolfe, Seth Christopher, and Tracy Darveniza.


In the juniors, Korey Roberts won the solo short course, and Nate Todd, Gus Rowe, Jaiar Richtsfeld, and Ryder Kleeman won the short course teams and juniors Harrison Tamblyn and Maeve Lowe teamed up with Charlotte Sharpe and Austin Stuart to come second in the open mixed teams.


The Ona Mission Multisport Adventure Race combines running, paddling, and mountain biking. A paddle to Dunk Island is followed by a run along rainforest trails on the island, and a paddle back to the mainland. A ride along the beach and through the rainforest comes next, and then a final beach and trail run. Long course competitors cover 63km, while the shorter course is a 44km event.


“Ona Mission showcases our region – with spectacular locations, world-class trails, and the vibe and energy of our volunteers,’’ Richard Blanchette said.


“The whole community gets behind it – big thanks to all our volunteers, to major sponsors Mission Beach Resort, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, and Wobble In Cycles, and to all our other sponsors without whom we couldn’t run this event so successfully.”


Next year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, September 18. For more information, visit www.onamissionevent.com.au

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