VC arrives to encourage marathon effort by Team Griffith

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Physios Joni Ralph-Wilkie (left) with VC Prof Ian O'Connor, Runner Gemma Willis and Renee Turner (Physios student) after the half marathon

With more than 500 registered competitors Team Griffith was off and running in perfect weather at this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

Griffith University provided the biggest team in the weekend’s events on the Gold Coast, having grown from 189 in 2012 to 518 in 2013.

It proved quite a spectacle with the sheer volume of red Griffith singlets taking to the track.

Vice Chancellor and President of Griffith Professor Ian O’Connor visited the Team Griffith tent on Sunday to provide his encouragement to the weary runners as they returned from the half and full marathons.

Professor O’Connor said he was delighted that Griffith had such a large number of participants this year.

Pic of Chelsea Tevellume with VC Prof Ian O'Connor,  after the half marathon
Chelsea Tevellume with VC Prof Ian O’Connor, after the half marathon.

“This is the second time the University had supported a team of students, staff and alumni to participate in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon,” Professor O’Connor said.

“The wonderful response we received again this year demonstrates Griffith’s real sense of pride in supporting and belonging to the Gold Coast community.”

Philip Tweed claimed 80th place out of 4800 full marathon finishers, the highest position for Team Griffith after running the course in a time of 2 hours, 51 minutes and 37 seconds.

Philip, who is studying his Masters in International Relations at Griffith via Open Universities Australia, said that he had made the trek to the Gold Coast from his hometown of Newcastle, especially to be a part of the Griffith team.

“The community spirit I felt during the whole event was amazing,” said Philip.

“It was my fourth marathon and it was great fun. You could easily chat with other runners and join a group looking to maintain a good time.

“But the best part, was going back to the Griffith tent after the race. The support was terrific. They had food, drinks and volunteer student physiotherapists on hand to help as you cooled down.

“Unfortunately, I suffered some nasty cramps after the race, so having the physios there to help me through it was really good.”

The Griffith University Development and Alumni Office was responsible for coordinating the Griffith team and support services such as the Griffith red singlets, the marquee, volunteers and catering.

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Chris Tyres, Grace Mullins,Emma Downie-Mewes, Stephen Chambers and VC Prof Ian O’Connor

Alumni relations manager Jenny Longrigg praised the support of the devoted volunteers.

“We were so lucky to have such devoted students, staff and alumni who donated their weekend to assist the Griffith team.”

“The physio team were fantastic and we received many wonderful words of thanks from the runners as they finished.

“They said they felt very honoured to be part of the Griffith team and to have the opportunity to meet the Vice Chancellor when he came along to celebrate with them.”

Alumni relations coordinator Laura Keele said the post-race breakfast of bacon and egg rolls, was a big hit too.

“We went through 900 bottles of water and as you’d expect with 500 competitors.”

“We went through about 500 eggs and 17.5kgs of bacon.”

“Our volunteers were just the best. They helped out so much and you could see the gratitude written on every tired runner’s face.”

No doubt the momentum from the success enjoyed at this year’s event will be enough to drive Team Griffith to new heights in 2014.

Griffers runners at the start of the full marathon
Griffers runners at the start of the full marathon