The Spartan countdown has begun as official launch is held

ON YOUR MARKS: A big crowd is expected when Spartan comes to Oberon in March next year. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
ON YOUR MARKS: A big crowd is expected when Spartan comes to Oberon in March next year. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

AND now it's official.

Oberon got a taste of the tourism boom to come when the Spartan obstacle course events were launched on Tuesday.

Spartan - which holds events all across the world - will be bringing races to Oberon over the weekend of March 7 and 8 that are expected to attract a crowd of around 5000.

Spartan Race Australia/New Zealand managing director Chris Heverin was in town to have a first-hand look as the countdown begins until the big weekend.

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Oberon Council tourism and economic development manager Mat Webb said Oberon is joining Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast and Port Stephens as a location for a Spartan signature event in 2020.

"So Oberon is punching well above its weight," he said.

He said the town will play host to the 21-kilometre Beast, which features 30 obstacles; the five-kilometre Sprint, which is designed as an entry to the world of Spartan, and which features 20 obstacles; and the one- to two-kilometre Spartan kids' race for those aged three to 13.

The Beast and Sprint events will be held on the Saturday and the children's race on the Sunday.

The venue will be on the edge of Oberon Dam, which Mr Webb said would provide views and the right terrain - and all within "a stone's throw" of town.

He said Spartan's impact on Oberon would be substantial, not just in terms of tourism but also in marketing and providing opportunities for businesses in town and the district.

"I think the whole region will feel it," he said.

"With five thousand people coming to town over the weekend, Bathurst and Lithgow will feel the effects in terms of accommodation."

Mr Webb said Oberon Council had been working on a renewed focus on tourism, which had led to the creation of Oberon Outdoor Week, which will be held for the second time next month, and the Field to Forest festival, which was held for the first time earlier this year.

To complement those home-grown events, he said Oberon Council had been on the lookout for recognised, established events that might be interested in coming to town and Spartan fit the bill.

A physical, outdoor event of its type suited the region and Oberon terrain well, he said, and was the sort of event that would be equally challenging no matter the weather when it was held.

"This type of event [Spartan] is looking for a place that is a bit unique," he said.

He said the sort of person who will be taking part in the Spartan events will be an active, outdoors person who he can imagine visiting Jenolan Caves or Mayfield Garden or the region's vignerons while they are visiting the area.

Mr Webb said council will work with local businesses to help them get the most benefit from the Spartan visit, whether that is by selling supplies or feeding the volunteers that will run the weekend.

He said Spartan will have an obvious interest in selling as many tickets as possible to the Oberon event, so the town will be getting the spin-off benefits from that marketing.

"It will help us to promote broader Oberon," he said.