GREAT RESULT: First Whitsunday local over the line was Justin Knight-Gray.
GREAT RESULT: First Whitsunday local over the line was Justin Knight-Gray.

Justin claims ‘title’ for first local runner home

AFTER the running of the half marathon on Sunday, Justin Knight-Gray said his goal was to "have everyone high fiving each other when out running around Airlie'."

"I would love for people to think of Airlie as a sporting place where people are friendly," he said.

Knight-Gray was the first local home at the Airlie Beach Running Festival and said he was happy with time.

"I said I would run between 1:28 and 1:32 and I was on 1:32, so spot on the money."

The Airlie Beach event is the fourth race in the north Queensland half marathon series with only the Townsville race left to run.

"This is my home run and a very important race," Knight-Gray said, adding his preparation leading up to the event went well.

"I train most days. I use parkrun every Saturday to help me with my speed, I run a lot around town and train with the Whitsunday Running Club and the Whitsunday Triathlon Club," he said.

Last year Knight-Gray ran in the 5km event at the running festival and it was this that got him back into running after a 20-year break.

"It is an amazingly well organised and run event. It is the best event, I think, in north Queensland," he said.

"It's been absolutely perfect today. A bit cooler than normal, we got cloud cover. Perfect conditions for today's run."

Knight-Gray said he was looking forward to running in Townsville on August 7 where race winner of the Airlie event, Sam Stedman, would be running on home soil.

After four races in the series Knight-Gray is locked on 1474 points with James Leonard.

"Townsville is the make or break race," he said.

"It's a very flat course (but) I really enjoy it because it is quite an easy race, where Airlie has a lot of rises."

Knight-Gray said to be the first runner from the Whitsundays across the line on Sunday made him "feel very proud to be a part of the Whitsundays."


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