New Airlie Running Festival course a hit with competitors
THERE was some light drizzle at the starting line of this year's marathon event at the Airlie Beach Running Festival, but the sun was certainly shining on competitors as they crossed the finish line a gruelling 42km later.
The marathon was one of seven events at the annual festival which featured a new course this year, that made the most of the new Airlie Beach foreshore paths.
Almost 360 competitors took part at the weekend, the field including seasoned runners to tiny tots who took part in the 1km run with their parents.
Adrian Whittaker, from Port Douglas, took out the marathon in a time of 3 hours and 15 minutes.
It was only the third marathon he had taken part in.
Proserpine's Justin Knight-Gray was only 1 minute and 39 seconds off the winning pace to finish in second position.
Local runners Chris Murphy and Julie Cauchi were also first-time competitors in the first marathons, finishing in fourth and 10th positions, respectively.
For many like Whittaker, the marathon was about clocking a good time. For others, it was about proving they could last the distance.
When the last of the 20 marathon competitors crossed the finish line in a time of 5 hours 34 minutes and 24 seconds, they received a big cheer from those still gathered at the foreshore for the medal presentations.
Others pushed themselves in the half marathon, with Claire Ashworth the first across the line in 1 hour, 23 minutes and 39 seconds.
Other events included 10km, 5km, 2km and 1km runs, as well as a 5km Corporate Team Challenge.
The 1km kids event was definitely among the cutest, with 26 youngsters under the age of six running their hearts out - most were still running flat out as they crossed the finished line.
Among them was Strathdickie's Rose Murphy, who at the tender aged of two-and-a-half, was certainly amongst the youngest competitors on the day.
The tiny tot ran the entire 1km and was still running well after she crossed the finish line.
Airlie Beach Running Festival event manager Tim McQuoid-Mason said organisers were happy with how the event, now in its seventh year, unfolded.
"There were some good times, particularly in the half marathon,” he said.
Mr McQuoid-Mason was also pleased with the weather and the festival's new venue.
"It's nice to be able to use the foreshore,” he said.
Competitors also commented on this year's course, including the marathon winner who competed in the Airlie Beach event for the first time this year.
"It's such a beautiful place to have it,” Mr Whittaker said.
"And the course was well marked.”
Marathon second placegetter and local runner Mr Knight-Gray also approved of the event.
"It's really well organised and well set up,” he said.
"And it's great seeing so many people taking part.”