FOUR GENERATIONS of an Apollo Bay man’s family will share a special moment during this weekend’s Great Ocean Road Marathon.
Harold Cockerell, 87, will compete in his seventh 14-kilometre Paradise Run tomorrow alongside his son Malcolm, grandson Brendan, 19, and great-grandson Andrew Clover, 12.
A fit and healthy Mr Cockerell said he was looking forward to adding Andrew to the team which tackled the course together last year.
Mr Cockerell recently walked 11 kilometres in preparation for the event and he said competing in the challenge gave him motivation to stay active.
“This will be the seventh year for me,” he said.
“My son used to run it and last year three generations walked it, so this year my great-grandson wants to be in it too, so that’ll make four generations of us in it.
“I don’t know how many more I can do, at 87 I’m running short of time.
“I’ve had my ups-and-downs, I’ve had a heart-attack and a bypass and all this sort of stuff in previous years, but you can’t just sit down and twiddle your thumbs, you’ve got to keep going.”
Mr Cockerell is a lifelong Apollo Bay resident and he said he felt proud to be a part of the event at the coastal town which attracts competitors on a national and global scale because of its stunning views.
“It’s one of the prettiest areas you could picture anywhere in the world,” he said.
“You’ve got the Great Ocean Road from Lorne to Apollo Bay and the Paradise one with the river and the trees, you couldn’t get much better I would think.”
Marathon officials impressed
GREAT OCEAN ROAD MARATHON officials expect more than six thousand athletes to take over the iconic road this week-end.
Director Greg Hooton said the response for the two-day event continued to grow and organisers have added to its community involvement this year.
Festivities begin tomorrow with 14-kilometre, six-kilometre and 1.5-kilometre runs around Apollo Bay.
The 44-kilomotre marathon and 23-kilometre half-marathon start in Lorne and Kennett River on Sunday morning, with competitors crossing the finish line at the Bay around lunchtime.
“We expect around 6500 people to compete over the two days which is a fantastic response considering people have to travel a fair way to get there,” Mr Hooton said.
Apollo Bay and District Health Foundation is heading a volunteer effort for a second year and Mr Hooton said community groups and businesses had supported a new-look festival at this year’s event.
“Last year we made a decision to tap into the local community and all the volunteers came from Apollo Bay and Lorne,” he said.
“In doing that we make donations to all the community groups, from their perspective it’s money coming into the town.
“And it works for all of us, we get a buy in from the town and they get a financial return to do programs they wouldn’t normally do.
“As part of the community activity, Apollo Bay Health Foundation is creating a festival area over the two days, which will add another opportunity for runners to see different things.”
ABDHF member Pamela said the organisation was thrilled to head the community input for the event.
“We’re the official charity of the marathon and we’re also the organisation that provides all the volunteers that man the drink stations, are road marshals, hand out the bananas at the end and do registration.
“We do all those roles for IMG and it’s a fantastic community event.
“For example last year we got $17,500 to the school and we’re hoping to get a bit more this year.”