Griffith University runners were ‘treated like rock stars’ at this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon as Team Griffith claimed its fourth successive title as the Largest Corporate Team in the two-day event.
Many of the competitors said the Gold Coast was their favourite event on the running calendar, ranking it over marathons in New York and Budapest, because of the atmosphere and the Griffith support.
Team Griffith amassed 955 runners and retained the title for most distance travelled in all events with an impressive total of just under 16,300km.
Alumni Nick O’Neill, who was one of the first across the line for Griffith in the half marathon, travelled from Canberra where he now works as a government policy officer.
“I’ve come nearly every year for the last six years because it’s one of my favourite events on the running calendar,” he said.
“You get treated like a rock star with the Griffith group. It’s fantastic so I always make it a priority to come up here.”
The Team Griffith tent provided breakfast as well as massage, from physiotherapy students.
The university’s cheerleaders showed their support and entertained the crowd with their performances while face painters had a steady line-up of children at the Griffith tent.
Ultra-marathon runner Kyle Weise, a Master of Physiotherapy student, breezed through the 21 km half marathon as his normal running events are up to 100km in length.
“Speed was kind of my weakness, my endurance has been good, so I’ve been working on my speed with this,” he said.
“You get free massage, food and there are lots of people cheering. It’s a really great atmosphere.”
Staff members Kate Grattan and Brooke Harris both achieved personal best times in the half marathon, with Brooke beating her previous PB by an impressive five minutes.
“It’s an amazing experience, and the best event to go to in the world,” she said.
Administration officer Kate is training for a half ironwoman event, which is the same length as the half.
“You get very well looked after in recovery and I just love catching up with everyone else,” she said.
“You get to relax with everyone. I feel quite privileged Griffith supports us.”
Griffith had 105 competitors contest the full marathon and 370 in the half marathon.
A further 286 family and friends joined Team Griffith in a range of events across the Gold Coast Airport Marathon weekend.
Medical Science student Tait Hearps was first across for Griffith in the full marathon.
“That was my first race and I got what I wanted,” he said.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and now I am able to do it this year.”
For people like law student Roysin Davoren it was her 10th time running the 5.7km challenge, while IT project manager Chris Osborne admitted he was getting older having run his slowest time yet in three years.
Physiotherapy Clinic supervisor Dr Richard Newsham-West said their team of volunteers were on hand to help with any niggles or sprains.
“These students don’t do that much massage or sport event stuff so this is great for them,” he said.
“Most people are sore and tight. Most people realise they’re going a bit faster than they should do and they get a bit tired.”
The event attracts international runners, including Griffith graduate Aileen Ho, who completed a Master of Business (Sport Management) in 2006 and travelled from Singapore to compete.
Griffith has a strong connection with sporting events on the Gold Coast and is the Official Presenter of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Men’s and Women’s Marathons.