Whether you’re competing or cheering, there’s nothing like the excitement of an Australian running event or marathon. Race past waterfalls, lush national parks and the wild Southern Ocean on the Great Ocean Road Marathon. Join elite and fun-runners from around the world in the popular Gold Coast Airport Marathon, where thousands of spectators line the course between Broadwater and Burleigh Heads. In August, Sydney’s streets come alive in the City to Surf, the world’s biggest running event. The Melbourne Marathon is held in October. There are running festivals in almost every Australian State and Territory catering for beginners to professionals.
Great Ocean Road Marathon
Each May, elite runners from around the world test their endurance on the iconic stretch of Australian coastline known as the Great Ocean Road. Starting in Lorne and finishing in Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road marathon route is fringed by rainforest on one side and craggy, dramatic coastal cliffs on the other. You can also take in the scenery on the half-marathon, which stretches from Kennett River to Apollo Bay. Or sign up for smaller runs of 13 kilometres or 6.5 kilometres. The races are staged over two days, so competitors can warm-up with a fun run.
Gold Coast, Queensland
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is a huge two-day event, which draws thousands of international visitors and almost 25,000 competitors to Queensland’s Gold Coast each July. Join the cheering crowds along the course, which winds along the Broadwater foreshore between Southport Broadwater Parklands and Burleigh Heads. It is known as Australia’s fastest, flattest course, ideal for marathon runners of all levels. A music and entertainment program adds to the festivities. Families, fun-runners, wheelchair competitors and Olympians are all welcome at this event, which also has a half-marathon and 10 kilometre course.
Australian Outback Marathon
Alice Springs, Northern Territory
The Australian Outback Marathon a truly unique Australian running event. Feel the kilometres slip by as you run past the awe-inspiring sight of Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). The inspiring backdrop of the Australian Outback Marathon encourages both professional marathoners and amateur runners with an event for every running ability. There is a full marathon, half marathon and shorter races. Perfect for all who love running and adventure, most of the course is on unsealed roads complete with Australia’s famed ‘red earth’ underfoot. The Australian Outback Marathon supports the Cathy Freeman Foundation charity.
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney’s 14 kilometre City to Surf race is the world’s largest timed running event, attracting more than 75,000 entrants. The route winds from Hyde Park in the Sydney CBD to iconic Bondi Beach through Sydney’s most-exclusive suburbs, before finishing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Join the cheering crowds on the pavements and in cafes and pubs all along the way. The event is also among the world’s biggest fundraising events, raising around four million dollars for charity. The great outdoors, stunning city scenery and a sense of community spirit epitomise the City2Surf fun run in Sydney.
Perth, Western Australia
The City to Surf is a popular road running event held annually in Perth, Western Australia in which participants race from the city area to City Beach, a distance of approximately 12 kilometres. A shorter four kilometre course is also run and a marathon was held for the first time in the 2009 event. The event is both a fun run and a race, attracting both serious runners and community participants who can choose to run or to walk. Previous events have attracted more than 45,000 people and it is one of Western Australian biggest community sporting events.
Sydney, New South Wales
The Sydney Running Festival in September has a course for competitors of all fitness levels. It is one of the most spectacular running events and marathons in the world. Anyone can enter the event whether you are an elite athlete, club runner, gym member, or simply someone who enjoys a social walk or jog. Events include a marathon over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Sydney’s Centennial Park and a half-marathon to the Royal Botanic Gardens. There are also Bridge Runs and Family Runs. The event is organised by not-for-profit Athletics Australia with runners often raising money for charity.
Choose the race you want, walk, jog or run in the Melbourne Marathon, which winds through Victoria’s riverside capital city in October. The full marathon route starts on Batman Ave near the Yarra River and travels almost as far as the St Kilda Esplanade before looping back through the city to Melbourne Cricket Ground. There are also races to suit all levels and ages of runners including a children’s run, held in and around Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens. The event provides a great opportunity to explore Melbourne’s great shopping, restaurants and cultural attractions such as Federation Square and Southbank Promenade.
The annual City2Sea returns to Melbourne in November. A sister event to Sydney’s City2Surf event, the 14 kilometre course starts at the Melbourne Arts Centre and travels along tree-lined St Kilda Road, around the Albert Park Grand Prix track and on to a spectacular finish by the sea in St Kilda. It is a fun event for both elite and fun runners, joggers and walkers from around Australia, with many dressed in novelty themed costumes and live music along the route. Participants can choose to run and raise funds for more than 450 charities.