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Tourism WA terminates sponsorship contract with Ultramarathon organiser

Tourism WA terminates sponsorship contract with Ultramarathon organiser
June 5, 2012

The Tourism WA board has formally terminated its sponsorship contract with the organiser of the Kimberley Ultramarathon event.

A Tourism WA spokesman confirmed that the contractual options with Hong Kong company Racing The Planet for two further outback marathons this year and in 2013 had been ruled out after a recent board meeting.

Tourism WA signed a one-year sponsorship deal for the 2011 event, with an option of another two years, for a documentary contract, international media coverage and some operating costs.

However, following events that left two women runners with life-threatening burns during the 2011 race, Tourism WA has been widely critisied for a range of management failures.

Organised by Racing The Planet, the ultramarathon was staged between Kununurra, Gibb River Road and El Questro Wilderness Park.

The Western Australian Government's Economics and Industry Standing Committee inquiry has investigated whether more could have been done to stop the runners being burnt and whether proper protocols were in place.

Announcing the termination of the sponsorship a Tourism WA spokesperson stated "although the board is not privy to any investigation findings into all the circumstances surrounding the fire that severely injured several competitors during the 2011 Kimberley Ultramarathon, it (has) ... decided that it would not be appropriate to continue with the sponsorship agreement given the outcome, and in particular the serious burns suffered by Kate Sanderson and Turia Pitt."

The spokesperson added that Racing The Planet had informally advised Eventscorp, the events arm of Tourism WA, that they did not intend to return to WA to conduct future races.

Racing The Planet founder Mary Gadams said the company had decided "some time ago" that they would not hold the Kimberley Ultramarathon again and the Tourism WA decision was merely a formality.

Gadams stated "in the end of the day our only concern remains for the injured parties."

The Tourism WA spokesperson said Eventscorp's sponsorship agreement for the 2011 event was primarily for the production of a television program showcasing the Kimberley wilderness which was to have been broadcast around the world.

Image shows the bushfire that affected the 2011 Kimberley Ultramarathon event.

31st May 2012 - KIMBERLEY ULTRAMARATHON ORGANISER DENIES NEGLIGENCE


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