Great Wheelbarrow Race 2021

Media Release | April 13 2021

The annual Great Wheelbarrow Race has been postponed until next year.

Chair of the Great Wheelbarrow Race organising committee, Councillor Locky Bensted said the decision was made based on the minimal number of team registrations. “Unfortunately, there were not enough nominations to make the event viable,” Cr Bensted said.

“The new one-day event was an attempt to make the event feasible with the COVID-19 requirements and keep the spirit of the race alive.

“With many social elements of the race taken away due to COVID-19, it was evident that there was not enough support out there for the re-formatted event.

“The committee worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event happen this year, navigating through the COVID-19 restrictions and requirements.”

“While we are disappointed with the outcome, we had to be realistic. The decision came down to the number of nominations we received and unfortunately we didn’t meet our target to enable the event to proceed,” Cr Bensted said.

Mayor Toppin explained that Council allocates a certain amount of funds to support community events each year.

“Even with Council’s generous contribution, both financially and in-kind, the number of nominations and sponsorship received this year will not cover the costs to run the event,” Cr Toppin said.

“I know many people were looking forward to this event however, the community cannot afford to fund the shortfall.”

“As Mayor I thank the Chair of the committee, Cr Locky Bensted and the committee members for their commitment and passion to keep the spirit of the race alive,” Cr Toppin concluded.

Teams that have already registered will receive a full refund for this year’s event.

On the third weekend in May of each year, Mareeba Shire Council plays host to ‘The Great Wheelbarrow Race’.

This is an event where competitors push an empty wheelbarrow along the ‘Wheelbarrow Way’ between Mareeba and Chillagoe in three stages.

In 2017, the event attracted 42nominations with 500 competitors and 54 support vehicles across all categories. The race is a 140km fun run in three (3) stages.

  • Day 1 Chillagoe to Almaden (33km)
  • Day 2 Almaden to Dimbulah (65km)
  • Day 3 Dimbulah to Mareeba (42km)

The Great Wheelbarrow Race may test the endurance of many competitors, but it is largely about having fun and raising money for chosen charities in a team environment.


  • Solo
  • Duo
  • Trip
  • Team (max 10)
    • Mixed
    • School
    • Over 55’s
    • Over 35’s
    • Services
    • Ladies
    • Mens
  • Social (max 15)

Teams are allotted a time of departure each morning, beginning with the solo, duo and trio competitors and ending with the Teams. Teams depart beginning with the slowest, established from the nominated speed they have presented.

After the first day the average speed is calculated for each team and they are released the next day as per that speed.

Teams are released at intervals as determined by the chief timekeeper; usually every two minutes, with the fastest team going out last.