With the Great Ocean Road Running Festival (GORRF) only days away local champion Ellie O’Kane is hoping to go one better than last year’s second-place.
Racing in the 23-kilometre distance on one of Australia’s most scenic runs on May 19-20, Torquay resident Ms O’Kane said she was looking forward to a weekend of good racing among friends.
“This will be the fifth time I’ve raced. I’ve won before and normally place second or third. I haven’t won for a couple of years but I’m feeling good and am fitter then I’ve ever been, so you never know,” Ms O’Kane.
“I just love the views. The start of the race is at Kennett River where you watch the sunrise running up a hill and then you’re able to run along a road you’re so used to driving on. Being able to run it is pretty special.”
Having recently represented Australia in March at the World Half Marathon Championships in Spain she said despite being fit, she would conserve her energy at the start of the race.
“It’s really hilly at the start and does flatten out but if you go out to hard in the first 10 to 16 kilometres you pay for it. I try to tell myself to stay calm and not get too excited,” Ms O’Kane said.
“If you feel good then you save it for the last eight or nine kilometres.”
Ms O’Kane said each year she rents a house in Apollo Bay with her husband and a group of friends that all race and then enjoy everything the festival has to offer afterwards.
“My coach Julian Spence normally wins the 44-kilometre marathon. This year my husband Joe is doing the 23-kilometre distance too. I’m hoping to beat him by about half an hour, we’ve been running together but he doesn’t like training with me,” she said.
“This would be the most scenic race I’ve ever run. A lot of the marathons and half marathons overseas are quite flat to ensure a fast race, but the Great Ocean Road is a bit different.
“It’s more spectacular, it’s not as fast but it’s definitely enjoyable.”
Ms O’Kane said the GORRF is fantastic because there’s a distance for everyone including a walk this year for those not wanting to run.
“You don’t have to run if you don’t want to, it’s such a great event to be a part of. A lot of people do it purely out of enjoyment. I’d encourage anybody that’s thinking about it to sign up,” she said.
The Great Ocean Road Running Festival taking place over May 19 and 20 has seven events for participants to choose from and registration gives participants free access to a range of activities across the weekend such as a kite festival, movie screenings, live-music and yoga sessions.
The course stretches along the coastal towns from Lorne to Apollo Bay and runners of all distances can soak up some of Australia’s most scenic beaches and breath-taking views during the annual twoday running festival.
To register and for more information, visit greatoceanroadrunfest.com.au.