Almost 8,000 registered participants took part in the 2022 Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival this weekend, marking the 18th edition of the idyllic coastal running event. Across two epic days of celebrations, runners of all ages competed in nine distances from 1.5km to 60km, and enjoyed a host of exciting coastal activities including beach-side Yoga and kite flying.
Supported by Visit Victoria’s Regional Events Fund, the beloved festival has become a staple in the state’s annual event calendar and a strong driver of economic support for the local region.
This year’s finish line saw some incredible times including 2:30:20 from Melburnian Dion Finocchiaro who took out the men’s Kieser Marathon. Finocchiaro’s win follows a remarkable run at the 100km World Championships earlier this month where he challenged the Australian record. Second place was secured by Ash Watson from Ballarat, followed by Gembrook’s John Dutton in third place.
Winner of the women’s Kieser Marathon, Kirstin Bull, tackled the 44km course in a time of 3:04:28. The festival has long been a favourite of the 2016 World 100km Champion who was met by her two-year-old twins at the finish line. Geelong’s Sara Coulter came in second place, whilst Danni Rogan from Ocean Grove rounded out the podium.
The first athlete to cross the Brooks Half Marathon finish line was Andre Waring who raced against the clock to secure a time of 1:12:41. This marked the Melburnian’s second win for the weekend after taking out top spot in the 14km Paradise Run on Saturday. Following a breakthrough performance at the 2021 Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival, Rachel McGuinness was the fastest woman to run the 23km distance with a time of 1:22:45. Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Steve Moneghetti also took on the popular event finishing in 19th place in the men’s division, with a time of 1:24:15.
The winner of the awe-inspiring Ultra Marathon was Churchill’s Zac Beasley with a time of 4:05:22. Fitzroy’s Sarah Jayamaha secured the fastest time in the female division, finishing the epic 60km course in 4:41:59. David Bailey and Holly Moreton took out the 13km Trail Run, while Tyson Densley and Aleara Wallace were the first athletes to complete the 6.5km track.
On Saturday, Andre Waring backed up his 2021 win in the 14km Paradise Run alongside UK-born Calli Thackery. The duo took home times of 41:34 and 46:29, respectively.
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism General Manager, Liz Price, commented: “This event falls on what was historically one of the quietest weekends of the year for tourism businesses, and has now become one of the busiest weekends of the year for many. Congratulations to all those who participated and had the opportunity to experience part of the iconic Great Ocean Road journey on foot.”
Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival Director, Brad King, said: “It was an honour to deliver another successful Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival with the help of our amazing event and charity partners, volunteers and sponsors. We want to say a big thank you to all participants who took to the tracks and spectators who offered their incredible support along the way. The atmosphere was electric and we can’t wait to be back in May 2023.”
To ensure runners were prepped for the ultimate weekend of running, Kieser provided complimentary physiotherapy consultations for participants at the Apollo Bay Festival Hub, while Brooks offered fitting sessions in a pop up store full of premium running gear.
CEO of Kieser Australia, Brett Long said: “We were thrilled with the turnout and atmosphere at the 2022 Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival. It was amazing to see the running community back in full force. Supporting the active community is a core belief of our team and our company and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to partner with this fantastic event.”
Marketing Manager for Brooks Running ANZ, Matthew O’Callaghan commented: “We had a fantastic weekend at the 2022 Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival. It was great to see so many runners enjoying the opportunity to come together again; the variety of events and location meant there was something for everyone. A special congratulations to the Brooks Half Marathon winners, Andre Waring and Rachel McGuinness.”
Fundraising efforts by this year’s participants are on track to exceed the event’s $75,000 target. Thousands of entrants have raised vital funds for well-deserving charities including Cancer Council Victoria, Beyond Blue and the Apollo Bay & District Health Foundation – the events’ official charity partner, providing vital care for communities located along the race route.
In between running events, festival-goers lapped up free performances from local artists, an immersive ‘glamping’ experience, beach-side Yoga and kite flying. On Saturday, local wait staff battled it out in the Pub to Pub Waiter’s Race with Adam Laylor from Apollo Bay Distillery taking home the 2022 title.
The Kieser Great Ocean Road Running Festival will return to Victoria’s south-west coast in May 2023.