Record run­ning fes­ti­val

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Sharon Small­wood sharon.small­wood@whit­sun­day­

MUMS can do any­thing – and in Air­lie Beach they’ve been adding marathons, half marathons and five to 10km runs to their CVs – proudly cham­pi­oned by Ni­cole Bun­yon, founder of Run­ning Mums Aus­tralia.

Ms Bun­yon, who started the in­ter­net group five years ago and was the am­bas­sador for Sun­day’s 2017 Air­lie Beach Run­ning Fes­ti­val, said it was great to see so many mums, kids and fam­i­lies at the event.

Of the 30,000 peo­ple now fol­low­ing­ning­mum­saus­ and its as­so­ci­ated Face­book page, some also fol­lowed Ms Bun­yon to Air­lie Beach, where the 2017 Run­ning Fes­ti­val of­fered a full “heart of the reef” marathon for the first time.

The chance to ex­pe­ri­ence a new place in an event aptly dubbed “run to par­adise” was quite a draw card, she said, adding “a lot of our mem­bers are into this des­ti­na­tion-type event”.

Run­ning Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Tim Oberg said many of the event’s record-break­ing 626 at­ten­dees also ex­pressed a de­sire to sup­port Air­lie Beach in the wake of Cy­clone Deb­bie.

“Air­lie’s get­ting back on its feet and this was a great way to show­case the town. We are thrilled with the way ev­ery­thing went – the weather gods shined on us and our volunteers went over and above to give all par­tic­i­pants a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

Also new this year was the course, which led run­ners on a 10.55km loop be­tween the start and fin­ish lines at the Port of Air­lie and Can­non­vale Beach, with the Cruise Whit­sun­days Half Marathon com­pris­ing two loops and the Heart of the Reef Marathon four loops.

Mr Oberg said the feed­back from the run­ners and the way spec­ta­tors had been able to en­gage with them was one of the per­sonal high­lights for him from the 2017 event.

And Ms Bun­yon de­scribed the course as “beau­ti­ful”.

“And even though it was a semi-big event it had a great com­mu­nity feel while show­cas­ing a beau­ti­ful place. I don’t think I can com­pare it to any­thing else,” she said.

For some of the par­tic­i­pants at this year’s event there was much more than run­ning or hit­ting a per­sonal best at stake.

Evan and Te­gan McCarthy were there to raise money for the Can­berra Hos­pi­tal where their daugh­ter Lalita was born 10 weeks pre­ma­ture in 2015.

And six months ago 23-year-old Aaron Roy­all packed up his life in Syd­ney and de­cided to drive around Aus­tralia run­ning marathons along the way to raise funds and aware­ness of men­tal health is­sues for the Black Dog In­sti­tute.

The win­ner of the in­au­gu­ral Heart of the Reef Marathon and 2017 Ath­let­ics North Queens­land Cham­pion in the women’s divi­sion was Air­lie Beach lo­cal of 15 years, Deb Mayne.

In the men’s cat­e­gory it was Dar­ryl Hill from Rock­hamp­ton who took the crown, in two hours 40 min­utes, 22 sec­onds.

For the full story, re­sults and photo gallery head to whit­sun­day­

Kirsty Ferguson was sup­ported around the run­ning fes­ti­val track by her chil­dren Seren and Carys.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.