What is Run for the Reef?


The Run for the Great Barrier Reef Research Fund was established in 2014 in a partnership between the Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival and James Cook University.

The Fund is maintained under the auspice of JCU and is governed by an independent board. It is this board that selects the project in which will become the beneficiary for funds raised through the Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival and individual fundraising via Everyday Hero.

From each registration in the Steve Moneghetti Marathon and the Sheraton Mirage Grand Resort Half Marathon, $20 is donated directly to the fund. To date we have raised over $80,000. Runners are encouraged to assist where possible by setting up an Everyday Hero account and calling on their peers to donate and support them in their endeavours to achieve new goals. 


Run for the Reef events have five (5) objectives:

1. Raise awareness of the value of the Great Barrier Reef

2. Raise awareness of the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef

3. Raise funds to support specialised research projects

4. Create a Great Barrier Reef Ambassadorship Program with all participants in the events

5. Promote the importance of our health and the Great Barrier Reef


Why? The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

It is Australia’s most remarkable natural asset. World heritage listed, the reef is home to the worlds largest abundance of marine life, picturesque tropical islands and beautiful sun-soaked golden beaches. The Great Barrier Reef supports Australia and our local economies to the tune of over 6 billion in revenue each year through tourism and ­fishing.


“Put simply, the Great Barrier Reef is a living National

and World Treasure. We must save it now.”

Sir David Attenborough


Run for the Reef is currently funding research into the relationship the MEGAMOUTH species have with the Great Barrier Reef.

MEGA FAUNA as they are known represent the giants of the ocean; the Manta Ray (Manta) and the largest of all the fish species, the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

Whale Sharks were added to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Endangered Species List in July 2016 making the research undertaken by the Run for the Reef funded project is uniquely important. 

Run for the Reef & Manta Ray and Whale Sharks!


All funds raised by go directly to the James Cook University Run for the Reef research team in partnership with Biopixel who are studying the behaviour of Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.



The waters off the north east coast of Australia remain a mystery to scientists, with little to no data about whale sharks and manta rays in this area.  While we know these charismatic plankton feeders have a circumtropical distribution through all tropical and warm temperate seas, we don’t know much about their habitat use, population demography, movement patterns and occurrence on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Coral Sea.


Whale sharks are listed as endangered and manta rays as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.  The megamouth project aims to determine the significance of the GBR for the sustainability of these species and to identify implications for species management and conservation if whale sharks and manta rays move across international borders into territories where they are still exploited. As biological processes shift due to the changing environment, we could be losing important habitats for these species, or potentially losing these species from sections of the GBR, without knowing they were there. 



To date runners have raised over $80,000 for the Run for the Great Barrier Reef Fund


A video posted by Adam Stern (@adamfreediver) on

Meet Adam Stern:

Adam is shown in the footage above and is one of a handful of people who have swum with a Whale Sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. Adam is the current Australian Free Diver Champion and is based in Cairns.

"Whale Sharks need our help please give generously to help the Run for the Reef Research Team find out why these spectacular creatures have mysteriously reduced in numbers across the planet." 

                                                                                                                                            Adam Stern