The finer details of getting there, prices, participation & other noteworthy extras.
The Australian Running Festival || Presented by TATA Consulting Services.
For those looking for a well organised (family friendly) event that caters for multiple fitness levels and competition; do consider the Australian Running Festival. A weekend of running and associated fun across a variety of distances throughout the nation’s capital.
Getting there: An easy event to get to. Ride your bike, walk, or grab an Uber/Taxi. Or for the organised and early risers, drive and grab a car park right out front. We took an Uber and a taxi (different events – different times), which was about $15.00 for a ten-minute commute. There were quite the series of roadwork’s this year, which required some detours but otherwise, all very smooth sailing. The website was super handy in advising drop off locations as well course maps, additional insider info etc.
Registration: Online registration with mail-out race packs or pick up from the event expo the day prior.
Fees: Reasonable prices given the event capacity (circa 11,000 participants across the whole weekend > spacious enough to find own running space), as well supplies on course and at finish. Ie, NUUN, water (re-useable cups utilised), gels, fruit. Participant hardware all round!
For a smaller event, the expo was a good size. Last minute items were easy to come by. For example, race/nutrition belts, a REBEL Sport ‘pop up’ site, good deals on Compress sports socks, etc.
Marathon: $150.00 // Half Marathon: $130.00
Event start: Marathon – 6:20am. Half Marathon – 8am. Both events’ started on time. A huge win given the chill factor!
The course: 42.2 kms – A scenic tour of the nation’s capital run from point to point for the greater part. A mostly flat course with gentle undulations, which permits for good views of the city’s major sites – Parliament House, Lake Burley Griffin, Telstra Tower in the distance, etc.
Towards the back end of the race there were one or two moments that required athletes to backtrack on themselves, perhaps in order to see the mara and half marathon to finish simultaneously. This probably didn’t affect the half mara athletes too much but for those that had already punched out 30kms, negotiating crowds if not exactly a crowd pleaser. A fresh set of legs to jump in and bring it home, – perhaps!
The Half Marathon course was much the same as the full distance in terms of sightseeing, though the course omitted a few good kilometers at the start (phew!), and ran in a different direction to the full. It did cross my mind to start the full and to see how I felt, that depending, to transition to the half. But the event organisers’ were ahead of their game here, ensuring this wasn’t an option. Calling it quits at 21kms into the full would mean a long march home.
On course nutrition was well staggered but toilet facilities were a little less frequent by volume. Just 1 loo at pit stops has potential to cause issues, which hopefully it didn’t… NUUN electrolytes and water, as well GU Energy Gels kept athletes hydrated and were made available every 2 – 4kms. Canberra was very generous on the aid station front – frequency and supplies, but also ensured athletes did their bit to help #keepaustraliabeautiful; advising that any persons caught discarding litter outside of the designated areas would be issued with a DQ.
The crowds of support were in full force at several points around the course. In the parklands, out on the highway, on the bridges, etc. It was a fantastic atmosphere for a very cold front. Tip of the hat to you Canberra!
If you’re one of those athletes that loves an action shot or proof of your ‘crazy’ and will do anything ‘for the gram’, photographers were out on course in abundance. A paid service as expected, but a good selection of pics per athlete to choose from.
On race finish, a special mention must be made to the re-useable water cups. Having done our fair share of ‘fun-events’, this was new grounds and great to see. Rehydrate and simply deposit your cup into a bin for washing and re-use. Brilliant. Again, – water, NUUN electrolytes and fruit was available to all the finishers, as well as some new and shiny memorabilia.
A great event with solid organisation and on course support by The Australian Running Festival. Thank you Canberra, – we’ll most definitely see you again!
Mentone Mara Swim || Hosted by Mentone Lifesaving Club.
For anyone who wants to test themselves with a marathon swim, or a friendlier distance of 5km, the Mentone Lifesaving Club has you covered.
Getting there: About 40 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD in the Bayside area. Good access to paid parking (via an app.) and (free) residential streets surrounding for those who don’t mind a little walk.
Registrations: Open from 7am.
Event start: 8:00am (non-wetsuit) 8.20am (wetsuit). Plus it started on time!
The course: 4x 2.5km laps of a triangle course in Beaumaris Bay. Unassisted feeding bay at 2.5km/5km/7.5km. Nb. 5km event also available. ‘Waist-deep’ start given the tide, about 100m off the beach. Start/finish at same location.
Fees: $60.00 – good value for money considering it provides for 2.5 – 3 hours + of ‘entertainment’. A smaller scale event with proceeds going back into the community/life saving club. Fruit/drink available on finish & everyone gets some commemorative hardware! Place-getters get additional medals.
A really well run event that went smoothly (or at least seemed to from a participant’s perspective). The event hosts and race officials were friendly and informative. Facilities were good/clean/accessible.
The course was well marked with sighting made easier through the use of large red buoys (why can’t all events have these?!). A bit of sun made sighting difficult at the third right hand turn, but hey, it’s all part of racing.
The feeding bay seemed a timely expedition. Though I had brought my goodies, I opted for a few mouthfuls of Gatorade from an on-course boat due to seeing how many supplies went into the feeding boats unnamed/marked, etc. Hectic, and free for all really! Time is money…
The conditions were tough for almost half of the course for each lap. Brought about by the wind picking up and creating quite a bit of chop. A few too many mouthfuls of salty not-so-goodness were taken on. Perhaps an earlier start could have somewhat eased the rough seas.
Nonetheless, a beautiful location for a swim and for onlookers to enjoy the bay. However for spectators, don’t expect to trace your swimmer. It’s quite the distance off-shore.