This years "A" race for myself and Kirsty took us to the Gold Coast this year for the 39th running of the Gold Coast Marathon. The race offers distances other than Marathon, including the Half Marathon, 10km and 5km races, but we were there for one of Australia's biggest Marathons. We've heard a lot about the race with a lot of people we know taking it on. Everyone seems to love the race and have a great time, so it was natural we would eventually give it a go one day.
Gold Coast was a great location for a break from a Southern Hemisphere Winter. Even though it was actually a little cold and wet in the lead up to the race, it was still a lot nicer than the Auckland weather we left behind. The Gold Coast is a major tourist destination for people around Australia and the rest of the world, so the race offers a large number of runners from all over Australia and the rest of Asia. Even though there is a large number of visitors to the city, as a major tourist destination the city has more than enough accommodation, restaurants, cafes, shops, fun parks and the list goes on. It really is a great place to visit although the crowd can be a little tiring. The Gold Coast comes with a pretty impressive public transport system as well, so there is no real need for a car while you stay there as everything is either close by, or connected by the train, tram or bus.
Wow, this was pretty impressive. I know I haven't done any of the major marathons around the world, this still was the biggest race I have entered and the race registration and expo showed that it was big. Registration was pretty speedy and there was not a lot of time waiting to get through, and that lead us into the race expo which was pretty impressive. There were a lot of stalls for us to spend up on race and running gear. Asics obviously paid the big money for naming rights, so unfortunately there was no other shoe maker there on the day. Still, it took us a good hour to get through the expo and we had a great time doing it.
The course is one lap of along the Gold Coast foreshore, finishing and starting at the same location. The course is pretty flat and extends south to Burleigh Heads where runners turn back north at the 17km mark to where they started. When they move back past the starting point, runners head north another 5km till they then head back south to the finish line. The run has supporters all along the course, especially at the Start/Finish line, where you pass through at the 32km mark where it is much needed to lift the spirits of runners as they start their final 10km or the marathon. The support then grows through the last 2km of the race where there are even grand stands welcoming runners with cheering crowds.
It was a pretty awesome day. We had rain at the start, wind through out the day which was a real battle in the final 4km of the race. The course was pretty spectacular with the number of supporters around the course. The news was saying there was close to 100,000 people out on the course supporting, which made a massive difference for me in the final few kilometres of the run. The sun did come out during the second half of the marathon, which started to make things a little hot again, but was glad when it clouded over again to cool things down again before the finish line. My race day is documented in the following post .
Hopefully this gave you enough information on the day to make up your own mind as I can highly recommend this race to anyone interested in a big destination, holiday, marathon.