Team Griffith gears up for Gold Coast marathon

A strong Griffith team will again line up for this weekend's Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
A strong Griffith team will again line up for this weekend's Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

They may not quite match the two hours, 11 minutes, 15 seconds clocked by one Griffith graduate in Glasgow three years ago, but an 800-strong Griffith University team is set to take on the annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

The official Griffith contingent is again expected to be one of the largest groups participating under one banner, including 120 lining up for the full marathon and 308 for the half marathon on Sunday morning.

The sea of Griffith red will also be on the move early on Saturday with more than 350 registered in total for the 10km and 5.7km challenge, including the oldest member of the Griffith team aged 75.

Five-year-old Riyo Kawabatta will be the youngest member of the Griffith troop, running the 2km Junior dash.

More than 27,000 are expected to take part in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon over the weekend.

Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor AC (5.7km Challenge) and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Engagement), Professor Martin Betts (half marathon), will be among more than 350 academic and professional staff taking part.

“The Gold Coast Airport Marathon goes from strength to strength and I’m delighted to see such a strong Griffith team involved again this year,” Professor Betts said.

“Our Development and Alumni has done a remarkable job once again in assembling the group from all walks of Griffith life to create a memorable experience that goes far beyond running. Many of the links and friendships that start this weekend will last a lifetime.”

Griffith students, Griffith alumni plus many family and friends will make up the remainder of the Griffith team.

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon, now in its 39th year, has become an important date in Griffith’s social calendar, with a focus on fun, fitness and wellbeing at the heart of preparations across the university community.

The university’s special relationship with marathon running was reinforced at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when business graduate Michael Shelley won gold in the aforementioned time of the two hours, 11 minutes, 15 seconds. The connection will be further underlined at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games where Griffith University is the Presenting Partner of the GC2018 Marathon.

In the lead-up to this weekend’s physical exertions, a Griffith lecturer in nutrition and dietetics has encouraged participants to focus on fibre, fluids and carbohydrates in their preparations.

“You don’t want to be going into a run dehydrated,” Dr Chris Irwin, School of Allied Health Sciences, said. “Drinking enough fluid in the days leading up to the event is going to be really important.”

In the wake of the weekend action, another important component of the Griffith team will be a group of 27 exercise science and physiotherapy students who will be on hand to deliver massages for aching limbs, under the watchful eye of senior physiotherapist at Griffith’s Allied Health Clinic, Kara Roffey.

Third-year sport development students will also be involved through the weekend. The three students, who graduate later in 2017, will gain valuable business and marketing experience working in the social media and Facebook Live space through the weekend. The students have already profiled 10 members of the Griffith team in the build-up to highlight goals, strategies and superstitions.