The Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival has made a triumphant return, with 8,987 keen runners along with their friends and family travelling to the region this weekend to take part in Australia’s most picturesque running event. The event has grown in popularity in recent years with the record-breaking 2021 result reflecting a strong interest in the sport and anticipation to return to large-scale events. The 2021 edition is Australia’s largest running event since March last year.
Visit Victoria CEO Brendan McClements said the event had attracted thousands of visitors to the Great Ocean Road region at a time when tourism businesses need support.
“On behalf of the Victorian Government, Visit Victoria is proud to support the Great Ocean Road Running Festival and we were thrilled to see so many people enjoying the event, soaking in the beautiful coastline and supporting the local accommodation, hospitality and retail businesses.”
Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival Director at IMG, Brad King welcomed the enthusiastic response from Victorian and Interstate runners, “After a challenging 2020, we are thrilled to have delivered a successful event for the Great Ocean Road community. We would like to thank our event and charity partners, volunteers, supporters and every participant who helped make this year a success. We look forward to returning in May 2022 with another edition of the Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival.”
The women’s Kieser Great Ocean Road 44km Marathon category was won by Geelong local, Aleara Wallace with a time of 03:09:16. She bettered her 2nd place performance from 2017 to finish 2 minutes ahead of Danni Rogan and Judith Arndt in second and third place respectively.
John Csongei from South Australia won the men’s Marathon with a time of 02:48:20, finishing ahead of runner-up Jason Daye and John Howley who placed third. For a complete list of winners, please see the results section of the media release below.
Winners of the 14km Paradise Run held on the Saturday morning, Calli Thackery and new race record holder – Andre Waring (40:29.250), both backed up their performance with second place podiums for the Science in Sport Half Marathon on Sunday. Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival ambassador, Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, 58 year old Steve Moneghetti also ran the 14km finishing in 7th place overall with a time of 45:58.
Across the weekend, participants had complete access to the experts at Kieser, who provided complimentary physiotherapy consultations to help guide runners towards a successful race day. Kieser Australia CEO Brett Long said, “It has been wonderful to see this major event return to the Great Ocean Road. Many runners today were strength training at Kieser last year and have continued for the 2021 event.”
“Our Kieser community has been there every step of the way. It’s great for us to see everyone from first time recreational runners to elite competitors – everyone doing their bit to keep our community strong, healthy and active.”
As well as being a significant driver of tourism for the Great Ocean Road region, the running festival continues to implement sustainability practices to minimise impact on the local environment. Road to Zero Waste measures for the 2021 event included the removal of unnecessary packaging and plastics on medals, gifts, and merchandise, a reduction in cups through the introduction of self-service drink stations, specialised waste sorting and recycling, a ‘digital passport’ to eliminate the printing of 10,000 race guides, and official event t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles.
This year saw many participants banding together in the name of charity, with thousands of participants united behind worthy causes, including Breast Cancer Trials, Dementia Australia, Lifeline Australia and Beyond Blue. Official charity partner, the Apollo Bay & District Health Foundation was also raising funds for their eighth year in a row, helping distribute grants to maintain and improve health services and support community groups along the Great Ocean Road.