Thousands of runners, families and locals flocked to Apollo Bay sunday morning to celebrate the start of the 2023 RACV Solar Great Ocean Road Running Festival. Day one kicked off with a beach yoga session at sunrise, followed by three major running events with Victorians taking out first place in every distance and setting a new course record in the 14km run. AFL legend and Surf Coast local, Gary Ablett Junior, and long-distance running champion, Steve Moneghetti, also joined the festivities making special appearances in the 1.5km and 14km events, respectively.
Event Director, Brad King, says he was delighted to see the running community out in force along Victoria’s southwest coast to launch the 19th iteration of the nation’s most stunning running festival.
“We are thrilled to have kicked off another extraordinary weekend of running along the Great Ocean Road. It was fantastic to see people of all ages, abilities and experience levels brave the autumn weather and take part in our day one events and festivities, including our special guests! The atmosphere was absolutely electric and we can’t wait to do it all again on saturday,” said King.
The reigning champion of the Cocobella 14km Paradise Run was Andre Waring, taking out first place for the third year in a row and setting a new course record with a time of 40:19. All eyes will be back on Waring as a top contender for the Brooks Half Marathon on day two of the Festival. In the women’s division, long-distance runner Sarah Klein secured first place in the 14km event with an impressive time of 45:08. Moneghetti was not far behind, completing the course in 46:38.
Christopher Dale topped the podium in the SriLankan Airlines 6km Run, crossing the finish line in 18:01 with Katie Gamble the first woman to complete the 6km distance in a time of 23:24.
Young running superstars and their families joined Gary Ablett Junior in the 1.5km Great Ocean Road Real Estate Holidays Kids’ Gallop which was won by Matilda De Young in the girl’s category with a time of 6:04, and Harry Brennan in the boy’s category completing the stunning track in 6:09.
In an exciting continuation of the sporting festivities, some of Australia’s most elite athletes will go head-to-head along the coast tomorrow for day two of the event. Brave participants will take on the Ultra Marathon (60km), RACV Solar Marathon (44km), Brooks Half Marathon (23km), 12km and 6.5km Trail Runs, and the 5km and 10km Great Ocean Road Walk.
DAY ONE RESULTS: 2023 RACV SOLAR GREAT OCEAN ROAD RUNNING FESTIVAL
1.5km Great Ocean Road Real Estate Holidays Kids’ Gallop
Girls: (1st) Matilda De Young 06:04, (2nd) Laney Scott 06:14, (3rd) Shailee Mewha 06:26
Boys: (1st) Harry Brennan 06:09, (2nd) Tommy Anderson 06:36, (3rd) Benjamin Hickingbotham 06:58
SriLankan Airlines 6km Run
Female: (1st) Katie Gamble 23:24, (2nd) Rebecca Gilmore 23:33, (3rd) Teyvia Williams 23:44
Male: (1st) Christopher Dale 18:01, (2nd) Evander Scott 19:25, (3rd) Paul Souter 21:25
Cocobella 14km Paradise Run
Female: (1st) Sarah Klein 45:08, (2nd) Stella Radford 48:05, (3rd) Melissa Duncan 50:41
Male: (1st) Andre Waring 40:19, (2nd) Matthew Buckell 41:05, (3rd) Andrew Amor 41:14