The streets of Yarrawonga and even a school oval were lined with people cheering on the runners taking part in last Thursday’s history-making event – the Queen’s Baton Relay.
Among those who laced up their running shoes to take part as a baton bearer were Terry Johnstone from Wahgunyah and Greg Lumby from Rutherglen.
Terry described being “excited and a little apprehensive” on the big day.
“I was a nervous about how the day would go,” he told the Free Press.
“On arrival the organisers made you feel so welcome and important.
“Meeting all the other baton runners increased the excitement.”
Terry received the baton at 12.34pm and ran 200 metres from the corner of Piper Street to Lynch Street where he passed the baton on to the next runner.
The Wahgunyah Fire Brigade Secretary was greeted by his family and friends holding signs and streamers in his honour.
“I saw my family and friends and suddenly I realised this is happening to me,” Terry said.
“The reception at the foreshore was amazing - what a brilliant day.
“I felt very proud to be part of it and a big thank you must go to all the volunteers who organised the day.”
Greg was also amazed at the reception when he marshalled to receive the baton.
The Rutherglen Football and Netball Club President received the baton at 12.53pm on the Sacred Heart Primary School oval in Woods Road.
“I was pretty thrilled to be representing the community, Rutherglen and Noorong, on such a special day,” he told the Free Press.
“I was lucky enough to have most of my family at the event.”
Greg, who devotes enormous time to many organisations in Rutherglen including his work with the Noorong Country Fire Brigade, said he wasn’t sure what to expect on the day.
“I did a lap of the Sacred Heart School oval and the kids really got behind it,” he said.
“It was not originally arranged that way but it got swindled around so that I actually did a lap of the school oval which was lined with students.
“I had the baton in one hand and the kids were giving me high-fives on the other.
“Towards the end the kids started following me up until I passed on the baton to the next runner.”
Greg reckons the change of plan to run a lap of the oval worked in his favour.
“I got to run probably 400m instead of the 200m we were initially assigned, so I was really lucky and had a good run,” he said.
“It is something I will never forget and a real honour.”
The relay finished at the Yarrawonga foreshore just after 1pm where there was a celebration including a community barbecue and guest speakers.
Former Corowa High School student James Willett was also a baton bearer and guest speaker at the celebrations.
The baton will continue to make its way throughout Australia on its way to the opening of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast on April 4.