Mayor leading the charge

10 August 2017
Mayor leading the charge

For Light Regional Council Mayor, Bill O’Brien, life has always been about finding things to be passionate about while still balancing the books. For Bill it has been about family, community, his love of running, sampling the occasional quality wine and improving life in the beautiful Barossa Valley.

Happily married for 50 years, with 54 marathons under his belt, Bill’s work and community life has revolved around the Barossa region and it is a passion that he is keen to share with everyone.

At 70 years age, the two time Mayor is still a very active runner and with the inaugural Runaway Barossa coming to the valley on 21 October, 2017, Bill is keen to make it marathon 55.

Bill’s mayoral “decree” is to encourage everyone to gather their family and friends, pack their running gear and come visit the Barossa and to join him at Runaway Barossa and experience firsthand some of the most scenic areas of Australia’s premier wine growing area.

“The Barossa combines a few of my biggest passions, the beautiful area, the sensational wines, and the ability to go for a run and enjoy a wine afterwards. The Barossa is a wonderful place to run around and you see something new every time you go out. And the different seasons bring a totally different look to the area. Then there is the quality of the food and produce of the region and its agricultural base.”

“I think bringing Runaway Barossa to the valley is wonderful because it will highlight this region and is wonderful for our tourism promotion. I can talk the Barossa up all I like but once the people across Australia and overseas see it and experience it for themselves they will think we might have even underplayed. They will think it is even better than we told them.”

“The weather will be perfect in October, it is a wonderful time of the year to have the event and the Valley will be looking stunning. The run takes in a wide section of the Barossa. After the running there are plenty of things for everyone to do and stay around and enjoy the region for a few extra days. There are a whole smorgasbord of attractions.”

Bill’s preparation for Runaway Barossa has been hampered slightly by an injury set back and while his personal best of 2:58 set in his prime it not under threat, he is determined he will be on the start line of the full marathon come race day.

“I really enjoy getting out on a run and the solace. I played team sports from a young age and Aussie rules was my life as kid but as I got older decided I wanted to do something for myself. Getting out on a run gives you time to reflect on things and you can keep fit. I don’t mind a good drop of red, so running allows me to balance the books.”

“I am a bit injured at the moment and it is a bit frustrating but I will be doing the full marathon and wouldn’t contemplate doing anything less. I was in pretty reasonable nick before this injury but I am determined to get myself back on track and complete Runaway Barossa Marathon. I want to do it and I have entered already so I am going to encourage a lot of other people who are around to do the marathon, or one of the other distances as well.”

“It is all about leading by example and this is a great opportunity to be the Pied Piper and get people involved and say ‘Come on, if this old timer can do it you can’,” he said.

A new look at the traditional Barossa experience, Runaway Barossa Marathon is a weekend escape with friends and family, that brings together our love of the outdoors and our passion for being active.

Runaway Barossa Marathon not only immerses you in the unique wine and food experience the Barossa region is famous for, but also allows you to indulge in your passion for running offering brand new, innovative and creative marathon and half marathon courses (and 10km and kid’s runs) among the beautiful countryside and patchwork quilt of paddocks and vines of this stunning destination.