Griffith University painted the town red over the weekend, with a team of 800 taking part in events for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
The red-singlet clad Team Griffith ranged from 5 to 75 in age, with more than 300 taking part in the half-marathon and 120 pounding the pavement for the full 42 kilometres.
Braving an early-morning temperature of just 10 degrees – freezing, by Southeast Queensland standards – competitors arrived in jumpers and beanies before hitting the course.
“It starts cold, dark and busy, and with a lot of anticipation,” said Professor Martin Betts, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Engagement).
“But once you get moving it’s just fantastic. The atmosphere out on the course with people cheering you on and so many Griffith vests – it’s incredible to see that on the Gold Coast.”
A “relieved and exhausted” Professor Betts said it’s a fantastic way for everyone at the university – staff, students and alumni – to be part of the Griffith family, named the largest corporate team for the 5th year in a row.
“We all come together and represent our university with pride, in the city that we own.”
Daniel Lang, a former aviation and technology student, was the first Griffith University marathon runner to arrive back at the team tent.
Now a Virgin pilot, Mr Lang knew he could get through to the 38 kilometre mark, but found the run psychologically challenging for the last four. His goal was to make it under three hours – and he succeeded.
“I was very proud of my mum and dad too,” he said.
“Mum did the half marathon, and dad’s out there with a bulging disc doing the full! He was going better than his 5 hour target – they’re very inspirational!”
The Team Griffith tent, organised by Development and Alumni, was a hub of activity throughout the morning.
“We look after everyone,” said Cynthia Pehi, an event support officer for D&A.
“We’ve got physio, bean bags, tables, protein balls, egg and bacon wraps – whatever you need, it’s all here!”
Jade Collier was one of the physiotherapy students working the massage tables as runners completed their race, gaining valuable experience and no doubt many grateful clients.
“I think it’s great because it does provide relaxation and help with muscle recovery – I’m not sure what the evidence is there, but sometimes psychologically it can help the runner relax and feel a bit better!”
Team Griffith member Greg McKenzie was supported by his family on the day, including son Darcy who ran the Junior Dash on Saturday.
“He did great,” Darcy said of his Dad, and described his own post-race feeling as “tired, and a bit sore.”
Dr Andreas Chai, from Griffith Business School, echoed the thoughts of many when he said he felt “awesome” – once he crossed the line.
“Absolutely not while running the course, but it’s all good now,” he said.
The sea of red singlets proved an inspiration for many, particularly when the end was still a little out of sight.
For law and psychology student Bria Sherrington, who said it was law’s ‘marathon’ study sessions that helped prepare her mentally, it came at the 12 kilometre mark.
“These girls ran past and yelled ‘Go Griffith’ – and I needed that! That was really, really good.
“The final kilometre was just the best feeling in the world – I knew it was going to be over!
“I came across the line and all I could think was ‘next time I’m going to get a better time!’ I’m already planning the next one.”