Iconic marathon could grow

Great Ocean Road Marathon organisers estimate between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators gathered around the finish line outside the Apollo Bay Hotel. The six events attracted 5700 entries.

Great Ocean Road Marathon organisers estimate between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators gathered around the finish line outside the Apollo Bay Hotel. The six events attracted 5700 entries.

GREAT Ocean Road Marathon festival organisers say the event has room to grow after record-breaking fields competed this year.

The festival’s six events, including the Great Ocean Road marathon and half marathon, attracted more than 5700 entries at the weekend.

Caribou Publications director and race organiser John Craven said the six-race program could cater for more entries.

He said restrictions on the use of the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Apollo Bay would create a cut-off in the future.

“We’re nudging 6000 but there’s room for more,” he said.

“I can see a cut-off on the horizon given that we only have the capacity to use one lane of the Great Ocean Road.

“It won’t be open slather on how many people you can put in the events because the right-hand lane is used as an emergency avenue for police, medical, officials, etcetera, so we’ll have to monitor this.”

More than 2600 people competed in the 23-kilometre half marathon which was the festival’s most popular event.

Craven said organisers would likely have to cap entries for the half marathon.

“I really do think the half marathon is heading towards a cut-off,” he said.

“We had almost 2,700 competitors this year so maybe 3000 is about the limit there but all these things will have to be determined in the next couple of weeks or so.

“Our current agreement expires next year but we’ve been approved for another three years on top of that so Caribou has the opportunity to still be connected with this event for the next four years.”

Kenyan Joel Chepkopol won yesterday’s Great Ocean Road Marathon in a time of 2:27.50 ahead of 1149 other competitors.

Ballarat’s Tracie Kaye was the first woman to cross the finish line in a time of 3:08.44.

Craven said he was proud to be a part of the annual festival.

“There’s a list a mile long of people and organisations who make a tremendous contribution in making this event happen every year,” he said.

“It’s a supreme high for me to be able to work with so many committed people.

“I thought it was a sensational weekend for the Otway region.”

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