Media Release

January 2019

Organisers of the annual Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival have decided on a major re-structure of the event. 

On the back of the most successful year yet, Port Douglas Event Management (PDEM) are planning a new national event that will maintain the objectives of the iconic Marathon Festival, but that will also embrace significant changes.
 

Over the years, participants in the Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival have raised funds for reef research through the Run for the Reef Initiative. In 2017 this Initiative was expanded to host community City Run events held simultaneously across North Queensland. Over $100,000 has been raised.

Since that time the PDEM team has been planning a further expansion of City Run events into 20 Australian cities scheduled for March 2020. From these 20 City Runs it is planned to host the Finale of these events in Port Douglas in May 2020. The Great Barrier Reef Running Festival will become the new annual event and supersede the Great Barrier Reef Marathon.

Organisers believe that by hosting the Run for the Reef Finale in Port Douglas the objectives of raising funds for unique reef research, the generation of significant economic benefits for the region and the promotion of healthy lifestyles will all be met. 

To facilitate this expansion, the Run for the Reef Initiative is seeking support from the Federal Government, Tourism and Events Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Organisers of the event realise that many of the annual participants will be disappointed to lose the October Marathon Festival from the running calendar. Director, Sam Cullen said “we understand the passion of our runners for our existing event, but we also believe it was time to aim higher in terms of potential outcomes. 

“With the support from the Douglas Shire Council, the Federal Government, Tourism and Events Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, we are confident that the events will be a huge success”. 

Mr Cullen continued, “Together with Tropical Journeys, Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas, The Cairns Airport, China Southern Airlines and our many corporate partners who have been fantastic supporters of our events over the years, we are looking forward to this next ambitious step”. “Our previous events and experience show that the Run for the Reef Initiative through the City Run events can expand to eventually embrace the whole nation”.

City Run is unique. The City Run timing application enables communities to run as one. All City Run participant times from each individual events are aggregated simultaneously. Participants not only compete against runners in their own cities, but against every runner across the nation at the one time.

Raising the consciousness of the Federal Government’s existing Great Barrier Reef programs, it is projected that the City Run events will raise over $650,000 over the next 3 years for Run for the Reef programs and funding for local charities.

From 20 events across Australia in 2020 it is planned to expand internationally to 50 in 2021 and up to 100 in 2022.

The City Run events are simultaneous and interactive 1km, 5km and 10km “looped” courses in the most iconic locations in each City. All ages and abilities are catered for from Olympians to families and community, social and school groups.

Courses feature large format video screens to broadcast the reef awareness messages to 50,000 runners and their families across the 20 cities. 

Cities in 2020 will include Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Canberra, Wollongong, Albury- Wodonga, Bendigo, Ballarat, Launceston, Hobart and other major regional Australian cities.

PDEM is planning to host the finale of the City Run events in Port Douglas at the Great Barrier Reef Running Festival in May each year. At all the City Run March events throughout Australia and internationally, the Port Douglas Run for the Reef Finale will be promoted providing a boost for the regional economy.

Full details on the final plans for Run for the Reef 2020 will be available to all stakeholders and participants here on this website later in 2019.

To all sponsors, partners, volunteers and participants over the past 8 years we would like to say THANK YOU and please stay tuned for more information on these new plans.