Published on : Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The inaugural Mitchell Street Mile will see elite athletes and amateur runners take on the 1.6km (mile) challenge right in the heart of the city’s entertainment, dining and shopping precinct.
The event is a new initiative under the Northern Territory Government’s FestivalsNT program, which provides Territorians with a calendar of new sporting, cultural, arts and business events that celebrate our great Territory lifestyle.
“This is a fantastic new sporting event that will put Darwin on the national map,” said Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing Matt Conlan.
“The mile length format means anyone can have a go, no matter what the level of their fitness and enjoy the rare thrill of running up and down the iconic Mitchell Street.
“The race will showcase the energy and vibrancy of Darwin’s city centre and provide a new event to look forward to outside of the Dry Season. It will be a major highlight on our growing FestivalsNT calendar and has the potential to build a national and international profile with elite athletes from our Asian neighbours to be targeted as the event expands in the coming years.
“I’m sure competition will be fierce in the battle to win the title of the inaugural fastest Mitchell miler and it will be a great day out for everyone.”
The mile race will begin at the Mitchell Street/Bennet Street junction outside the Deck Bar. The route will then travel south along Mitchell Street through to the Daly Street intersection before the field turns around and runs back along Mitchell Street, finishing where they started.
The event will cater to a wide spectrum of runners, encouraging participation at all levels in a program of separate mile-long races throughout the afternoon, from elite athletes to masters, celebrities and an ‘all-comers’ category.
In keeping with the family-friendly theme of the day, kids and teenagers will be involved with Darwin, Palmerston and rural area schools invited to enter in special primary and secondary categories.
“Spectators will be encouraged to watch the races unfold while they enjoy a meal or drink from a wide variety of venues along the strip, or they can simply bring along a camp chair and find a spot along the route to soak up the social and festive atmosphere of Mitchell Street,” said Mr Conlan.
The event is being funded with $100,000 by the Northern Territory Government through its FestivalsNT program and will be run in conjunction with Athletics NT.
“Fun-runs are hugely popular in the Top End with thousands of runners both elite and amateur participating in events such as the City 2 Surf and Mother’s Day Classic,” said Athletics NT General Manager, John Bowden.
“We have already had significant interest from interstate athletes in the event and expect some big names to come up for it.
“We have already also had very positive discussions with Athletics Australia about the possibility of the event becoming the National Road Mile Championships. We are thrilled this new event is coming to Darwin and thank the Northern Territory Government for their financial support to help make it happen.”
Local traders including restaurants, cafes, shops and pubs have been consulted about the new event and are supportive of the concept which is expected to bring in more customers to the CBD.
“This is a great event that will attract people including families into Mitchell Street on a Sunday,” said President of the AHA (NT Branch) Justin Coleman.
“We hope everyone will enjoy the spectacle of the race and the fantastic hospitality on offer in our city pubs, restaurants, cafes and community clubs.”
Darwin City Council also welcomed the new event today and said it would be a fantastic celebration of Darwin’s love of sport right in the heart of the city centre.
“I’m looking forward to seeing our vibrant city centre host this exciting new event,” said Darwin Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim.
“I’m especially pleased it is taking place during our build up, a time when we often need extra motivation to stay active. The Mitchell Street Mile is a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the community to get out and run off their build-up blues!”
To ensure the safety of all participants and spectators, Mitchell Street will be closed to all vehicle traffic from 4am through to 8pm on the day of the event. This road closure will be supported by extensive community notifications and direct communication with affected stakeholders to maximise safety.