Word has arrived that Fairfax is backing the Canberra Marathon which will form the centrepiece of a suite of running events in April next year including a half marathon, 10K and a 5K distance.
The events will be held as part of the Australian Running Festival – a new event sponsored by the ACT Government.
The event languished this year due to a bitter dispute between the ACT Cross Country Club and Cundy Sports Marketing (CSM) over ownership rights. Famously, the ACT Cross Country Club held a special general meeting for the sole purpose of cancelling the life membership of Dave Cundy, just before the costs of the litigation with CSM drove the Club into liquidation.
The new Canberra Marathon website states that CSM has, ‘moved on to focus on other international opportunities’, while a link to the ‘new YMCA of Canberra Runners Club’ takes you to the old ACT Cross Country Club website. Interesting.
Fairfax Events are the highly successful organisers of the largest running event in the world, the City 2 Surf – although their record took a hit in 2009 when participants in the Fairfax Events Canberra Times Fun Run waited half an hour at the starting line because the water truck was late.
The launch of an Australian Running Festival in Canberra next year is an extremely exciting development on the local athletics scene. It is also a significant achievement for the ACT Government as it seeks to attract large events to celebrate the Centenary of Canberra.
The Canberra Marathon has real potential as a tourism drawcard because the course is nice and flat and a reasonable finish provides entry to other sought after international marathons.
If you are thinking of running the marathon for the first time and you are not already a regular runner then you might want to think about the half or 2012.