FULL EVENT RECAP: Le Tour de Le Tan 2015 | written by Sarah Cannata

As the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s CBD chugged along like any other normal Thursday, a small group gathered on the green, lush lawns beside the state’s iconic Tan Track that spans 3.8km last Thursday.

A relatively low murmur echoed out into the early morning as the group prepared for the arrival of up to 150 participants and school staff ready and raring to tackle Le Tour de Le Tan 2015.

This year, we were pleased to have four schools participating in Le Tour including St Helena Secondary College, The Mac.Robertson Girls School, Brunswick Secondary College and Port Phillip Specialist School.

Now in its third year, Le Tour is a one-lap sponsored race organised by The Duke of Ed Victoria, and gives participating schools the chance to make a difference to the lives of young people by helping to raise funds for The Awards Funding Assistance Program (AFAP).

Why is the AFAP so important? This grant program subsidizes the costs of The Duke of Ed’s Awards for disadvantaged young people regardless of any social or economic hurdles or circumstances they may be facing.

The Duke of Ed team, complete with its bevy of volunteers and special guest Clint Stanaway, Sports Presenter for Channel 9 News Melbourne, had an hour to ensure the event would proceed without any hiccups.

We all know how unpredictable Melbourne’s weather can be but the state turned on a stunner as rays of sunlight helped to warm everyone’s backs and repel the freezing start to the morning (yes, it was just 9 degrees!).

And as the first buses arrived and a steady flow of students started trickling out, all bets were off: Le Tour de Le Tan 2015 had begun!

After the team helped to get the students checked in and handed out numbers so that we could record finishing times, Clint Stanaway enthusiastically led the warm up which consisted of star jumps, running on the spot and a few moves you might find yourself busting out on a Saturday night (just to keep things interesting!).

From that point on, forget about holding those eager beavers back – The race had begun and the pace was at breakneck speed from the onset.

As the students made their way around the challenging Tan Track, we had team members strategically positioned to offer moral support and any assistance that was required along the journey that treks 3.8km in total.

We also placed other Duke of Ed team members at the finish line to greet the students as they conquered Le Tan.

And in the record time of 14.41, well under 15 minutes later, Ben Laschko from St Helena crossed the finish line and claimed the overall red ribbon for 2015.

As for the ladies, Ellorie Mercer (also from St Helena) claimed victory, locking in the fantastic time of 17.48.

Rocketing in at second and third place were Xabier Twyman and Christopher Gardner, posting times of 15.04 and 15.31 respectively. This made for a clean sweep for St Helena – A massive congratulations to all of the winners (although, everyone was a winner on the day!).

As the students trickled over the finish line one-by-one, they were greeted with a very special goody bag and well-earned lie down on the lush lawn.

But the morning’s excitement wasn’t quite over yet – Our very own Le Tour planning extraordinaire (and the Duke of Ed’s Communications Coordinator), Lucy Saarelaht, hosted the presentation ceremony, shining a light on the day’s most notable performers.

For the third year in a row, the entire team here at the Duke of Ed is proud to declare our Le Tour de Le Tan, a roaring success!

On behalf of the entire team, a massive thank-you to all of the volunteers and supporters who donated gifts that made-up the goody bag. Without you, this event simply wouldn’t be possible.

It goes without saying that Le Tour has become one of the cornerstone events hosted by the Duke of Ed. While a lot of time and effort goes into planning this each year, it’s incredibly rewarding for us all to celebrate the young adults we’re able to support and offer ongoing assistance to.

Hats off to these remarkable young people who are well on the way to becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

And don’t forget…

Keep your eyes on our social media pages for the announcement of our photo competition. You, or someone you know, could be the lucky winner of a Kobo Wireless eReader! Check out all the pics so far on Instagram: #DukesLeTour2015

Sarah Cannata is a freelance writer and Huffington Post blogger. Contact her via her website (www.sarahcannata.com.au) or email her directly: info@sarahcannata.com.au

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