Record opening day of entries for the 35th Gold Coast Airport Marathon
A record opening day of entries for the 35th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon (6-7 July) has the event on track to become the biggest in its history.
Yesterday entries were up 39 percent on the previous biggest opening day of entries with solid increases in interstate and international runners.
More than 30,000 participants from Queensland, interstate and overseas are expected to take part in Australia's favourite holiday marathon across a number of races.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, Jann Stuckey, said the popularity of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon continued to deliver significant tourism and economic benefits for Queensland.
"The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is a major highlight on Queensland's event calendar, attracting participants from more than 30 countries and showcasing the Gold Coast as a premier sporting event destination," said Minister Stuckey.
"Last year the Marathon attracted a record 28,000-plus participants with 73 per cent of those from outside the region, generating more than 63,000 visitor nights for Queensland.
"The Newman Government is proud to support the Gold Coast Airport Marathon as part of our commitment to increase the annual overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020."
One of the first Gold Coast locals to enter the event was two-time IronWoman Series champion Courtney Hancock who will be running in the ASICS Half Marathon.
The 24-year-old Northcliffe Surf Club representative was crowned the 2012-13 IronWoman Series champion last month and now has her sights set on completing the 21.1 kilometre race.
"I'm always looking for new and exciting challenges that can be integrated with my training schedule and the half marathon offers that," said Courtney.
"The half marathon is certainly going to be a major mental and physical test but I'm really motivated to run the best race possible right here in my backyard."
Event General Manager Cameron Hart said this year's event will be extra special after it was awarded the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Bronze Label earlier this year.
"Attaining a IAAF Road Race Bronze Label is the highest honour for marathon events and for us to be the first in Australia to attain one was a huge honour," said Mr Hart.
"We're now in our 35th edition and we are looking forward to record participation levels to celebrate this significant achievement."
This year's race program will feature the full 42.195km Gold Coast Airport Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Suncorp Bank 5.7km Challenge and 4km and 2km Junior Dash races.
Participants also have the opportunity to dedicate their run and raise funds for the official charity Cancer Council Queensland or for a charity of their choice.
Entries for the 35th Gold Coast Airport Marathon are open. There is an early bird fee until Wednesday 22 May. For more information or to enter visit www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au.