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Features McDonald’s Brisbane Marathon Festival

06 August 2014, 2pm

Over 4500 participants from 30 countries came to take part in the 23rd edition of the race. They were presented with ideal running conditions on a cool, calm and clear winter morning.

Running River City

by Ricky Swindale

Brisbane Marathon Festival
Sun 3 August 2014

Onlookers gathered at the start line, adjacent to the beautiful Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Looks of determination, anxiousness and excitement were painted on the faces of those ready to embark on their marathon journey.

As the siren sounded a record marathon field flooded the usually bustling streets of Queensland’s capital city, as the sound of ten thousand footsteps replaced the roar of cars, with runners embracing the marathon challenge ahead.
Runners enjoyed the calm glow of the city at first light while winding through Brisbane’s most famous streets, known for their vibrant shopping atmosphere. The first challenge on the course is a short but tough climb up the heritage-listed Story Bridge, opened in 1940, where participants catch the first of many breathtaking glimpses of the Brisbane River and city skyline.

The Story Bridge connects Fortitude Valley, the centre of Brisbane’s nightlife, to South Brisbane’s riverbank at Kangaroo Point. The gradual descent of the bridge provides welcome relief and some beautiful panoramic views of the city. Kangaroo Point Cliffs are the home of Brisbane’s avid rock climbing community where the adventurous ascend vertical rock faces. As participants wind underneath the Story Bridge towards the riverfront, the flat scenic course follows along the riverbanks.

As the sun ascends above the high-rise buildings of the central business district, the city appears to come alive. A magnificent hue of light engulfs the riverfront, contributing a beautiful sparkle to the shores. Blue skies can be seen as far as the eye can see with a calm breeze cooling the effects of exertion on runners’ backs. Brisbane slowly awakes as the City Ferries start the day’s service, with passengers boarding to enjoy a tour of the ‘River City’ sites.

Following the footsteps ahead, a cacophony of cheering can be heard well before the source of it can be seen. The energetic and entertaining high school water station cheer squads give weary participants high-fives and some welcome encouragement, sure to put a spring into any step. The water station cheer squads have something to cheer for other than the sweat-soaked runners – they are competing for a $1000 prize and the honour of becoming the champions for 2014.

Brisbane is drawn together by no less than five bridges which connect all corners of the city over the winding river. Each bridge is used by the courses of the five distances available within the Running Festival, providing runners with a perfect opportunity to explore the city en route to the finish line.

Tackling the newly established Go-between Bridge, participants again cross the river and in the process are offered a different perspective of the city, with the sun now well and truly risen. Footsteps continue to pound the pavement as the sound of the crowd and finish line attracts runners like a swarm of bees to a hive. The final kilometre along the well-used Bicentennial Bikeway, neatly situated at the water’s edge, provides an opportunity to see thousands of fellow participants on the opposite side.
Nearing the finish line the Brisbane Riverstage, a stadium designed within the stunning Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, welcomes finishers to a grand atmosphere of music, entertainment and the cheers of family and friends after completing one of the most scenic and spectacular courses in Australia.
The Brisbane Marathon Festival is held on the first Sunday in August. The next edition will be on Sunday 2 August 2015, and will attract marathon travellers from across the globe for an unforgettable marathon experience.

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