Marathon gives economy a running start

This weekend’s first ever Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Run Festival will yield some exciting and surprising benefits for the region on a number of levels.
Sunshine Coast Council Economic Development Portfolio (Sport, Tourism and Major Events) holder Councillor Jason OPray said the inaugural Sunshine Coast Marathon festival had success written all over it.
“When you take a glance at a few of the simple stats and facts, you can quickly identify the significant benefits this weekend’s event will bring to the local economic, retail and tourism sectors,” he said.
“Case in point, we’re looking at an estimated $4.5 million local economic spend from the event.
“I’m so very proud to be heavily involved with the Sunshine Coast Marathon at such an early stage of my Tourism, Sport and Major Events portfolio tenure.
“More than 5,000 competitors are registered to participate in one of the several different race options this weekend, and a number of these events are already full to capacity.
“This is absolutely outstanding when you consider the organisers were initially hoping to get 2,000 entries.”
Cr OPray said local accommodation houses, cafes, restaurants and retailers were understandably excited about the Sunshine Coast Marathon.
“The Sunshine Coast already does sporting events like the Mooloolaba and Noosa triathlons brilliantly,” he said.
“This is exactly the sort of incentive we need to draw people to our region – to come stay, experience, enjoy and spend money. 
“Of the 5,000 participants, a whopping 40% are from outside the Sunshine Coast region and there will be 13 different countries represented on the day.
“Given we’ve been experiencing a relatively flat spell in the local tourism as well as the economic and retail sectors, a tourist influx of this magnitude is very exciting.”  
Cr OPray said one of the most important benefits from the event was the much-needed funds it would provide to some incredible charities including Ronald McDonald House and the Butterfly Foundation.
“As well as taking part in a terrific event, participants can be very proud they have helped contribute more than $100,000 towards some wonderful charities,” he said. 
The Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Run Festival is taking place on 25 and 26 August.  The events will take place on the stunning coastal beachfront loop from Mooloolaba to Cotton Tree via Alex Heads. 
Cr OPray said despite the 5km and 2km races both being fully booked, participants could still register for the full marathon, half marathon or 10km event.
“And even for individuals or families who don’t wish to run on the day, this will be a great historical event to come and watch on the day,” he said. 
“My advice on the two best spots to watch all the action is anywhere on top of Alex Hill or anywhere in and around Cotton Tree (as that’s the turn around point). Enjoy!”