Whitehaven: you will not find a more beautiful run
RUNNING: In a sign of how strong the event has become, the Great Whitehaven Beach Run has attracted record numbers, a four-time Olympian and a host of local competitors for this weekend's event.
While Steve Moneghetti will headline the field, Race Director Steve Jackson was equally thrilled with the growth and reach of the event, still only in its third year;
"Even if you're not a runner, most people are aware of Steve Moneghetti and his achievements in representing Australia, so it's a huge honour to welcome him back to the Whitsundays; but the opportunity to share such an iconic location in such a positive light with runners is something we are incredibly proud of," he said.
"This year we welcome over eight international guests, as well as over a quarter of our field representing every state in Australia. This is great for the event but also of course for tourism in the region."
The run forms part of the Hamilton Island Endurance Series and is the second event following the successful staging of the Hilly Marathon in May. Organisers are expecting more than 200 competitors, an increase on the 158 from last year, in race options that include a 5km, 10km and the Half Marathon, as well as 500m and 1.5km races for juniors.
Running is enjoying a resurgence in the region, with record numbers at May's Hilly Marathon event on Hamilton Island, the Airlie Beach Running Festival on track to get bigger, and parkrun flourishing on Hamilton Island and in Airlie Beach.
Jackson said it was no surprise to see a quarter of the field from the Whitsunday region and another quarter from Townsville and Mackay.
"The battle for local bragging rights is sure to be motivation for many," he said.
The fun and free explore Relay Challenge will conclude the day. Any participants on the day can form teams and compete in a 3 x 400m relay for the chance to win cash and prizes. There's an open relay, a corporate relay and a family relay, where at least one child has to participate alongside their immediate family.
Once again the Great Whitehaven Beach Run is working in partnership with local tour operator Cruise Whitsundays to enhance the opportunity for locals to be a part of the event. Their assistance allows race participants to be able to depart on the race charter service from either Port of Airlie or Hamilton Island and travel to Whitehaven Beach, compete and then return at no extra cost.
Jackson said race conditions were predicted to be ideal and entries were still open. Spectator tickets are also available for purchase. Visit http://www.hamiltonisland.com.au for more information.