News this morning has come that the future of one of Australia’s longest running and most popular marathon races is uncertain. The letter below was received from Wild Horizons, who run the Highland Fling, this morning.
“For over a dozen years The Highland Fling has been one of the largest and most iconic mountain bike marathons in Australia – bringing together an incredible community of riders, supporters, sponsors, local community groups and local businesses to celebrate a festival weekend of all things MTB.
In 2015 we grew this weekend to include the Bundy Run, and in doing so grew our community of outdoor enthusiasts. This young event attracted a new outdoor audience and excitingly saw a solid increase in numbers year-on-year.
The Highland Fling has put millions of dollars into the regional economy and has contributed over half a million dollars to local community and charitable causes. The Fling, as it is affectionately known, has long been the largest fundraiser for many local community groups involved.
The organiser, Wild Horizons, is Australia’s longest established adventure event organiser and has, for 20 years, worked across NSW, interstate and overseas on such events.
2017 should be the 13th running of the Highland Fling weekend. But the number 13 is living up to its reputation and the future of the Fling, along with the Bundy Run, is hanging in the balance due to a variety of reasons. Key amongst these include the loss of a couple of key sponsors that impacts the viability of the events. Added to this is the continuing lack of support from local government. This has been a thorn in the side of the event for many years despite it being, for a long period, the largest sporting event in the Southern Highlands region.
We’re still searching for replacement Sponsors, investigating additional funding, and looking at what else we can do to make these events happen in 2017. What we won’t do however, is bring an event that is anything less than our best. We also recognise that in recent years many of the big MTB events across Australia have stopped being run for a variety of reasons and we are keen to ensure the Fling does not follow this path.
We’ll keep you updated with a decision in the coming two weeks.”
Has ‘The Fling’ been an important part of your mountain biking? If so – show your support in a comment below. If you’ve been absent – what do you think is missing?