When Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker fires the Gold Coast Airport Marathon starting pistol for the Southern Cross University 10km Run this weekend, the University will proudly celebrate 10 years of sponsoring the iconic event.
It is the first time Professor Shoemaker will have the honour of welcoming 27,000 participants and tens of thousands of spectators with a bang early Saturday morning.
After a quick outfit change, Professor Shoemaker will then take on the 5.7km Challenge alongside Southern Cross University Pro Vice Chancellor (Engagement) Ben Roche.
“Mental and physical fitness are the hallmarks of what we do at Southern Cross. What better way is there to demonstrate that fact than in this fantastic event,” Professor Shoemaker said.
Southern Cross University Sport and Recreation Officer Dave Graham said more than 150 runners will compete for Team SCU across the two days.
“We will have students, staff, alumni and friends of the University competing,” he said.
“As the Gold Coast’s only beachside campus right next to the Gold Coast Airport, it’s fitting Southern Cross University sponsors the first event of the weekend.”
First-time event runner and MBA student Micael Baguio from the Philippines said she was using her role as a Mayor’s Student Ambassador to experience the best the Gold Coast had to offer.
While many of the event’s 3000 international visitors will be lapping up the Gold Coast’s winter sunshine, Micael said it has taken her a long time to get used to the ‘colder climate’ compared to the Philippines.
“I was inspired by my eldest brother, who is a triathlete in Singapore to compete in the Southern Cross University 10km Run - he always pushes me to be more active and fit,” she said.
“The Gold Coast is one of the most beautiful places you could host a running event and the people who live here really prioritise healthy living with fun and adventure, so for me I really wanted to work towards this for my health and to prove I can do anything I put my mind to, which includes achieving a healthy lifestyle.”
Team SCU’s fastest marathon runner and 2016 Masters graduate Brian Fuller will be returning for another crack at a personal best under 2 hours 35 minutes after finishing in the top 50 runners last year.
Environmental science doctoral candidate Mitchell Kirby is also back, this time to run both the Southern Cross University 10km and Sunday’s half marathon after his dad threw down the challenge earlier this year.
Mitchell said after years of focussing all his efforts on his PhD (investigating environmental payment programs), he welcomed the opportunity for a new fitness challenge with his dad.
“Mum is even joining in for the 10km Run and it’s the first time dad and I will do both the events,” said Mitchell, who was Southern Cross University’s second-fastest 10km runner last year.
“There’ll definitely be some family rivalry happening.”
Staff from a Lismore campus running group (pictured above), which trains at picturesque locations from Evans Head in the south to Lennox Head in the north, will join forces with Team SCU on Sunday.
Cheekily named ‘We Thought They Said Rum’, the social running group will compete for the third time at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in the half marathon event after previously tackling the Southern Cross University 10km Run.
Running group founder David Duverge from Technology Services said the group enjoys staying together on the Gold Coast and last year celebrated their success … with a drop of rum.
“We all use the Strava app to log our times and compete against one another in the lead up to big events,” he said.
“In three years the group has grown from six members to more than 20 and we enjoy showing off our medals we collect throughout the year - because who doesn’t love a medal?”
Competitors from 45 countries will take part in seven races across the weekend which will be broadcast to more than 850 million homes in 129 countries.
Team SCU runners will be treated to breakfast and sports massages in the support tent after their race.
Photo: Main image credit: John WaddellMedia contact: Jessica Huxley 0417288794