TOP EVENT: Whitsunday Running Club president Tim McQuoid-Mason accepted the Athletics North Queensland Event of the Year award for the Airlie Beach Running Festival.
TOP EVENT: Whitsunday Running Club president Tim McQuoid-Mason accepted the Athletics North Queensland Event of the Year award for the Airlie Beach Running Festival. Claudia Alp

Airlie Beach Running Festival wins Event of the Year

ATHLETICS: The Airlie Beach Running Festival was dubbed Event of the Year ahead of Mackay Marina Run and Mulgrave Relay Day at the Athletics North Queensland Annual Awards Dinner last Saturday.

Whitsunday Running Club received recognition for co-ordinating the event, satisfying criteria for conducting a significant, successful event, developing innovative partnerships, community acceptance and achievements and outcomes of the event.

President Tim McQuoid-Mason said the club hadn't expected to win.

"It's pretty exciting. We were up against Mackay Marina Run and Mulgrave Relay Day which are both very significant events. We were pretty stoked,” he said.

Mr McQuoid-Mason said the location set the Airlie Beach Running Festival apart as the foreshore provided a "panoramic view” for the duration of the event.

He said the event also brought additional visitors to town.

"The major benefit was a boost to the local economy as 63 per cent of the entrants needed to spend at least one night and brought at least one additional person into town,” Mr McQuoid-Mason said.

But the win didn't come easy.

Mr McQuoid-Mason said the event was a 12-month job - sourcing sponsors, organising registration, singlets, medals and prizes and setting up the course with appropriate certification being part of the planning which takes place.

"I would really like to thank the team behind the organising, the competitors and in particular, the volunteers,” he said.

"Everybody that I've spoken to said two things stood out: the course was really nice with not too many hills, and the volunteers were really enthusiastic.”

Representatives from Zonta Whitsunday, SES, Airlie Beach parkrun and Whitsunday Running Club were among helpers who gave their time and efforts to assist.

Whitsunday Athletics Club technical official Nicholas Sainsbury also cleaned up on the night landing Junior Official of the Year.

Mr Sainsbury, 17, was recognised for outstanding service, dedication, innovation and leadership throughout the nominated awards period.

"It felt pretty amazing to be picked out of all the junior officials we had this year. I was a little bit unsure of what to do when they called out my name because it was such a big thing for me,” he said.

Mr Sainsbury said his predominant role was to operate the EDM (Electronic Distance Measuring) device during competitions such as javelin throw.


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