Well, that escalated fast.
We wish to begin by expressing our sadness and support to everyone associated with Binna Burra Lodge. What was seen to be a precautionary action on Friday evening, evacuating the Lodge turned out to be a precursor to what appears to be its complete destruction during Saturday night. We cannot know just how deeply its destruction will be felt by those closely related to the Lodge, but we do know that during its 86 years many people - both locals and tourists - had some connection to and were engaged with Lamington National Park by being welcomed by the Lodge, and this service cannot be understated. We also know that the Binna Burra community is strong and resilient, and that this valuable wilderness asset will rise from the ashes and once again act as a gateway for experiencing the wonders contained within Lamington.
What at the time felt like a very difficult decision for us to make, cancellation of the 2019 Wild Earth Coastal High 50 was, in retrospect, an insignificant impact when compared with the loss and devastation felt by so many people and businesses in our community. Our deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has been impacted in any way with the ferocious bushfires over the weekend and ongoing.
That is no way meant to downplay the disappointment felt by you, the runners. We understand the commitment, preparation and time that goes in to readying yourself to run an ultra-distance event, and to not have the opportunity to enjoy the climax of event day sucks. And we empathise with you.
We have had an overwhelming outpouring of support from you regarding the cancellation of the event, and we are extremely appreciative of the kind words and condolences offered by you. We're actually a little embarrassed by the response as we don't believe the level of support shown to us is reflective of the decision we made: it is our duty of care to protect the people entered in our event, so it was our responsibility to make that decision. But we get what you're trying to say in your messages, and we are grateful all the same.
We have received some questions about what happens next, and we will address those issues in separate posts to follow over the coming week or so.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our event sponsors. It is easy to think that the corporate dollar dictates everything in modern society, but we have had nothing but support from our event sponsors since the cancellation of the event, even though their investments in the event are affected by the event not being held. So thanks to Chris, Jimmy and the team at Wild Earth: Wild Earth have supported this event since its inception, and we are extremely grateful for their passion for and involvement with this event; we look forward to many more WECH50s with them in the future. Also thanks to Osprey, Salomon, Suunto, Fisiocrem, Tailwind Nutrition and Squadrun.
We'll finish by extending our sincere gratitude to the regional team at QLD Parks and Wildlife. As the primary permitting authority for the event, we were in constant communication with them in the week leading up to the event as we to'd and fro'd on whether we should or shouldn't host the event. Their honest and open advice was appreciated. It's also worth highlighting that as the current custodians of much of the affected areas, the rangers working in the regional National Parks are going to be hit hard by the destruction of large swathes of protected land. So to Sergio, John, Wil, Miles and all their teams - thank-you for what you do. We continue to offer our support during the ongoing fight against the bushfires that are still affecting the region, and our hope is that better conditions arrive soon to relieve some of the pressure.
That's it for today. We'll be in touch again soon.
Cheers - Chris and Matt