THE FAR-A-WAY began with a journey and a challenge.
The Journey was an undertaking in 1986 by Queensland riders to take a team to the first travelling Quilty to be held in South Australia. The trip was most successful, with Queenslanders filling most places in the four divisions.
The JOURNEY was continued with the fast return to Queensland, but the travel time was laced with ‘how good are we’ and our thoughts turned to projecting Queensland’s place in the Endurance hegemony by tossing around the idea of a signature ride for Queensland. So here was another CHALLENGE. Within a few months, a committee was established from the Dealbata ride of ’86, and the new Marathon event was to be known as THE FAR-A-WAY.
After all these years, not many people will know about the Far-¬A-Way’s inception, but it was named with a travelling bushman in mind.
Nat Buchanan was a fellow who travelled across Australia. The indigenous people called him the Faraway man, because of his travelling habits.
Those privy to the creation of the event were Barb Timms, Louise Lewis and David Nancarrow. The first consideration was to develop a unique event for Queensland. The committee that formed was comprised of people with local connections and endurance riding commitment. The local Plod was the first president. In fact, Kenilworth police maintained a significant role with the club for the whole time of our Kenilworth tenure.
WITHOUT A TRACK, we did not have a ride. The track consideration was always the first action of the Far-A-Way group. Our tracks were discovered by wide travelling young horse riders. Elise Nancarrow, who helped with the family horse-holiday business, guided many horse campers over State forestland reporting back discoveries about interconnecting bridle paths and unused forest trails in the high country. With Elise as guide, we discovered a multitude of trails for our Brisbane customers.
It was these people who later became ‘on the ground’ workers, track operatives, all night vigil persons and great friends. The wooden base to the Far-A-Way cup was· discovered on the trail – stranded high on a bank, following a time of flood.
OUR FIRST EVENT featured an Art Gallery opening for local artists. The Far-A-Way maintained a strong connection with not only the Arts in Kenilworth, but also commercial and business interests and the wider aspect of the Local Authority, Maroochy Council.
INNOV A TION was a characteristic of Far-A-Way operations. Innovation and Creativity. Challenge in presenting the event each year meant that when problems or opportunity arose we were bound to respond in innovative and creative ways. Some years, the tracks were closed, others, the threat of fire meant that we could only use the Pine plantations, or even, create tracks through private land.
EASTER WAS THE CHOSEN DATE FOR THE MARATHON.
The Easter marathon event was conceived as a 320k test over four riding days, with time being given to a clear Good Friday holiday for families and social times.
THE GOBLET AS A COMPLETION-AWARD, does not hold any religious significance. However, it did fulfil a role in celebration for those who completed the testing ride, and who, on the evening of the last day, knew that they had experienced one of ridings’ immense challenges.
Written by David Nancarrow.
Edited from a longer article by Bob Sample. 15/12/2015.