Marathon effort benefits Sunshine Coast

Runners, charities and the community are all set to be winners when the first Sunshine Coast marathon and community run festival is held on the weekend of August 25 and 26, 2012.

Atlas Multisports managing director and race organiser Jason Crowther said the festival had received significant community support, with Seven Sunshine Coast, McDonalds and Westpac actively involved in the event.

“It’s been humbling to know that so many influential businesses, organisations and people want to be involved and have put their money where their mouths are,” Mr Crowther said.

Funds raised from the event will benefit two major charities: Ronald McDonald House Charities and The Butterfly Foundation.

Race entrants will also be encouraged to fund-raise for their favourite charitable organisations.

Mr Crowther said there had been strong interest from runners and he was pleased with participant numbers so far, particularly as there were so many other well-established endurance events to choose from.

“To have achieved well in excess of 1000 entrants four months ahead of race day is pleasing,” Mr Crowther said.

“We have entrants from all states and territories, and athletes from seven countries are represented.”

As well as the marathon and half marathon, runners can also participate in a range of shorter races and team events.

Buddina runner Linda Earle regularly competes in long-distance events, and said she was looking forward to running in the Sunshine Coast marathon.

“There’s a lot of interest in this marathon,” Ms Earle said.

“It seems like every second person is doing it.

“I run in lots of other races but I really like the idea of supporting local events.”

Mr Crowther said there were many potential benefits for the Sunshine Coast community in hosting the festival, with advantages reaching beyond fund-raising and promoting healthy lifestyles.

“There’s the flow-on effect for tourism, hospitality and accommodation providers,” Mr Crowther said.

“With at least half the expected 5000 competitors visiting from outside the region, they’ll all need somewhere to eat, sleep and be entertained.”

Races start from Alexandra Headland, and Mr Crowther said the course would provide spectacular views of the coastline and attractions of the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Crowther said organisers were seeking volunteers to assist with the event, with over 300 helpers required to ensure the race weekend was a success.

He said they were also looking for stallholders to run the ‘Marathon Markets,’ selling food and produce, and providing entertainment for spectators and competitors.

Ms Earle agreed that food, entertainment and activities would help attract spectators and make the event more family-friendly.

“It’ll be great if there are things for non-competitors to do because crowd support gives such a good atmosphere,” Ms Earle said.

“Other events like the Gold Coast marathon do it so well, so they need to have as much as possible to compete with races like that.”

Mr Crowther said he was confident the Sunshine Coast marathon and run festival would become an annual event, with dates for next year’s race already being discussed with the local council.

By Mary Trust

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