EMBRACED BY RUNNERS: Thousands turn out to compete in the Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Run Festival.
EMBRACED BY RUNNERS: Thousands turn out to compete in the Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Run Festival. Patrick Woods

Coast marathon inspired by Las Vegas

FOUR years ago the Sunshine Coast Marathon was just a dream of event chief Jason Crowther.

With two successful editions of the event behind him, Crowther believes the event is making up ground on the Noosa and Mooloolaba triathlons to rank as one of the biggest sporting money spinners on the Coast, banking about $5 million for the region annually.

The not-for-profit race also raises valuable funds for local charities such as Ronald McDonald House.

This year's event is tipped to net about $200,000.

"I guess the thing that makes us different from some other events is that we raise a lot of money for the Sunshine Coast," Crowther said.

"All our contracts, except for our medals, which we are getting from China this year, were awarded to local Coast businesses.

"We are a Sunshine Coast events company that is run by locals who care about the Coast and want the best for it.

"The idea is for the Sunshine Coast to own this event so that in 20 years' time it is still an event the Coast is behind."

Crowther came up with the idea after competing in the Las Vegas marathon four years ago.

He was gobsmacked to witness 10,000 competitors line up for the US race and knew it was something the Coast would embrace.

And it has.

Sunday's event encompasses marathon, half-marathon, 10km, 5km and 2km races.

Crowther said it just kept getting bigger.

"In its first year we had 4900 runners and got 5700 last year, so we have seen some really positive growth," he said.

"We expect 7000 this year and are looking at completely selling out the half-marathon with around 90% of the places for the marathon already gone."

The former Kawana High student said he was most proud of being able to raise so much money for the Coast community.

"We are happy and it is a good surprise that it has done so well, and that's from the sponsors and partners who have helped so much," he said.

"In the last two years we have given $350,000 to local charities and we want to add a couple of hundred thousand to that this year.

"To be able to do that is what it is all about."


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