We have just returned from a fantastic week away in Broadbeach, Queensland. It was our school holiday getaway, planned around our first time at the Gold Coast Marathon event.
You might be thinking, how on earth is a marathon event a family friendly one? Well, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) #gcam has a race for the whole family!
Our experience at the Gold Coast Marathon
This was our debut at the GCAM, and we absolutely loved it!
First up was a walk to the Convention Centre to pick up our race kits. This was also the site of the ASICS Sport & Leisure Expo. With numerous stalls of everything a runner could possibly need from shoes, socks, clothes, gadgets, accessories…and the list goes on… it was interesting and exciting to walk through in the lead up to the race.
Race Day (s)
The Gold Coast Marathon spans over 2 days of racing.
My eldest daughter entered into the 10km event which was on Saturday morning. She was lucky to be fast enough to qualify for a priority start. This means you get to race from a separate pen at the start line, just behind the elite runners. She said that they even had a dedicated warm-up zone which was handy. Over twice the distance of a normal cross country race for her age group, she had a great run finishing in under 43 minutes! #proudmum
My youngest daughter was registered in the 4km Junior Dash but unfortunately was not up to it on the day. She watched all our races though and cheered us on! #proudmum
The half marathon was on the next morning. It was a gorgeous one. Clear skies, not too cold, no wind, perfect weather! My husband and I both loved the race which was fast, fun and energising with all the enthusiastic competitors and spectators. We had ideal conditions and both ran faster than expected, each with a new personal best! #happy
So what did we like about the Gold Coast Marathon event?
1. It challenged each of us. As a relatively flat course, it pushed all of us to run at a faster pace than expected. If you are after a PB, the Gold Coast Marathon event is for you!
2. Amazing atmosphere and spectators. Running around the scenic course in perfect weather conditions was fantastic with supporters cheering and clapping along the way. With your name on your bib, strangers would call out directly to encourage you to keep you going. Much needed when it all starts to hurt!
3. Pretty well organised for such an enormous event. Sometimes a big event can be intimidating and overwhelming to attend. With more than 26,400 runners over the weekend, I have to say that the event was well organised considering its size. We had a very smooth experience. I loved having two pacers for each time target and the exit chute worked well to pick up a drink, food, your free t-shirt, and medal.
A race for the whole family
Whether you are a child, adult, recreational runner or elite runner, there is a race at the Gold Coast Marathon event for you.
All in all, there are 8 events in total.
1. Gold Coast Airport Marathon
2. ASICS Half Marathon
3. Southern Cross University 10km Run
4. Suncorp Bank 5.7km Challenge
5. Zespri 4km Junior Dash
6. Zespri 2km Junior Dash
7. Wheelchair Marathon
8. Wheelchair 15km
The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is internationally recognised as an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label event.
Biggest tip for the event
Get there really early!
I know early sounds pretty obvious, but I nearly got caught out! So I mean really early!
We left our apartment in Broadbeach with plenty of time on Sunday morning to get to the half marathon event. This was tested out the morning before with my daughter’s race, which all ran smoothly. The race precinct was located at the Broadwater Parklands, Marine Parade, Southport.
Closer you live the harder it is to get on public transport
For events with more competitors however, there are always going to be crowd issues. The half marathon was the biggest event of the weekend with 9,891 runners, 87% more than the 10km race which was also the first race the previous morning.
Luckily, being further out from the course, we hopped on at one of the early tram stops so managed to get a seat. But by two stops up, there was not even enough room for anyone else to get on the tram! Sounds a bit contradictory, but if you are staying nearby but not near enough to walk to the event, you probably need to leave home extra early to get to the race on time. The trams (and I assume this may be similar for buses too) are full before they reach your stop so you can’t get on. There were lots of nervous faces as we went past the platforms not letting in any extra passengers!
Leave enough time for that last minute visit of necessity!
Even being lucky enough to get on the tram and arriving 40 minutes before the race start, we were still cutting it fine. Just walking from the tram stop to the race precinct with a road crossing on route took forever with just so many people. I needed to make a last minute bathroom visit to rid the nerves but there were huge queues everywhere. What looked like an overload of empty toilets the morning before, looked now like there were clearly not enough to service nearly double the crowd!
After a long wait, then a crazed dash to the start line trying to find my start zone, I managed to find my way with about 2 minutes to go! I very much underestimated the enormity of the event and the resulting repercussions as a result! It was all good in the end, but that is definitely my biggest piece of advice…get there really really early! Then race fast and have FUN!
What else does the Gold Coast have to offer for family fun?
This was not our first time to the sunny Gold Coast. We love to stay in Broadbeach when we are up that way as there is a beautiful beach, running path along the beach, great restaurants in walking distance, and we find it just that bit more family friendly than some of its northern suburbs neighbours along the coast.
For those who love a bargain, there is the shopping outlet, Harbour Town>. Or closer to us in Broadbeach is the newly redeveloped Pacific Fair. Even though we have been to Broadbeach many times, we have never been tempted to visit Pacific Fair previously. Happy to say that it has been transformed into a very stylish and modern shopping complex. Worth a visit if you love to shop!
For us this time, we all needed some much-needed chill time. The weather was so amazing and we very much enjoyed our time at the beach. It was hard to believe we were swimming at the beach in the middle of winter! Definitely not on the agenda back in Melbourne!
You can find loads more information about Things to Do at www.visit goldcoast.com.
Will we be back?
Definitely! And maybe see you there at another Gold Coast Marathon event!