Noosa adds marathon race
TWO marathons can become a dual-pronged Sunshine Coast attack on the growing running market.
Sunshine Coast Marathon Festival race director Jason Crowther welcomed next year’s ‘Runaway Noosa Marathon’, which will be an evolution of the Ironman group’s former Noosa Ultimate Festival.
“The greater number of events we have on the Sunshine Coast, the more we expose the region to more people,” he said.
“You have seen that in the past council has done a great job of bringing events here. It has helped major events in general.
“It’s getting renowned as a world-class event destination.”
As part of the shake-up, the ‘Cycling Noosa’ program was dropped while the swimming races have been shifted to the Sunday.
The marathon route will be a combination of Noosa Parade and along the water at Gympie Terrace, featuring four 10.5km laps. Runners will be able to select from the marathon (with two- or four-person relay options), a 31.6km, half marathon, 10km or 5km races.
Noosa’s marathon will be one of four stops on the Runaway Marathon Series, which also includes Hawkes Bay, Queenstown and the Barossa.
“Runaway Noosa Marathon is about running social with a flat, fast and friendly multi-lap on-road course that starts and finishes in the heart of Noosa so you’re never far from fellow runners, supporters and the on-course live music and entertainment,” Ironman Oceania managing director Dave Beeche said.
“The event also offers multiple race distances (so) it will be easy to find your happy running place.”
The course used at this year’s Noosa Ultimate half marathon was abandoned in favour of the flat route which had been used in the past, and should appeal to runners looking for quick times.
Ironman Oceania decided to replace the Noosa Ultimate Sports Festival with the Runaway Noosa Marathon to focus on the running market.
“We’ve found over the last few years the Noosa Run has the been the linchpin of the Noosa Ultimate Sports Festival,” regional director Rebecca van Pooss said.
“So we’ve decided to make the run our focus because that’s where the most growth will be.
“We feel with Velothon Sunshine Coast (the cycling event in July) we’ve kind of got the cycling market covered, so we’re focusing on the run and adding more distances.
“And we’re maintaining the Noosa Swim, to be held on the Sunday morning.”
Crowther said he believed the two events would work in tandem.
“People still travel to destinations to do bucket-list events and 50 per cent of our competitors are from outside the region,” he said.
“The local community makes the event the success that it is... we get such great support.
“It’s good to have events at home you can do and Noosa will be a good kicker for our events.
“They are far enough apart (May and August) that people can definitely do both.”
Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said it would be a “world-class event in one of the best holiday destinations” and she expected it to attract athletes from around the world.
Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said it would further enhance the region’s reputation.
“Marathons are signature events that put destinations firmly on the international stage,” he said.
Melanie Panayiotou on her way to the 2014 Run Noosa Half Marathon crown.