More than 3200 runners from around Australia and the world descended on the nation’s capital on Saturday to take part in the first day of The Canberra Times Australian Running Festival.
The festival, presented by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is back for a jam-packed weekend and kicked off yesterday with a sold out five-kilometre and 10-kilometre run.
Narrabundah local Jordan Gusman was the first male to cross the finish line in the 5km event with a time of 14:50. Second place went to Arron Spiessberger-Parker from Downer who finished with a time of 15:47, and Michael Bruton of Elwood, Victoria came in third with a finishing time of 16:47.
It was the young females who came out in force today with 15-year-old Katherine McKune from Bonner, ACT being the first female to cross the finish line in the 5km event with a time of 19:08, followed by Jennifer Cabasson from Queens Park, NSW in second place who finished with a time of 19:24. Amelia Norton, a ten-year-old from Royalla, NSW came in third with a finishing time of 20:13.
When it came to the 10km event, Braddon local Hugh Williams took the top spot with a time of 30:47. Second place went to Bryce Anderson from Turner who finished with a time of 31:33, and Kaleen local Reece Langdon came in third with a finishing time of 31:49.
Hugh, Bryce and Reece regularly train together and were there to support each other as they crossed the finish line after a really fast race in windy conditions.
The 10km female winner was Leanne Pompeani from Farrer with a time of 36:09. Shannon Richards from Panania, NSW was the second female to cross the line in the 10km event, finishing with a time of 38:23, and Jacqui Allen from North Wollongong, NSW came in third with a finishing time of 38:25.
The Festival celebrates a weekend of fitness and fun across five running courses. Yesterday’s runners were treated to a picturesque route of the iconic city that followed the Parliamentary Triangle, ran along the banks of Lake Burley Griffin and finished on the East West lawns.
Canberra local Lachlan Lewis is a veteran of this event, having completed an impressive 24 Canberra Marathons over the years.
At 80 years old, he conquered the 10km run and shared his life motto with those running over the weekend.
“You’ve always got to keep moving your ass, no matter how old you are, or your level of ability,” he said.
Runners and spectators also flocked to an immersive event village experience hosted on the West Lawns. The village boasted an entertainment stage, exhibitors, elite VIP area and a kids’ zone fitted out with a plethora of activities, ensuring a weekend of fun for the whole family.
For those keen to also catch the action from the 2018 Commonwealth Games this weekend, the village hosts a special live site; broadcasting all the action live from the Gold Coast.
The Commonwealth Games Marathon, taking place today, will also be broadcast live, giving spectators the unique opportunity to watch the best long distance runners in Australia compete in person in Canberra, whilst also catching the action of the best marathon runners in the Commonwealth competing live on the big screen.
Fairfax Event’s Head of Sport, Sarah Young, said Saturday was "fantastic".
"It’s so inspiring to see thousands of people taking part, all the supporters cheering on the side lines and both participants and supporters getting involved in the festivities around the city,” she said.
The Australian Running Festival has already raised over $136,000 for a wide range of worthy local and community causes, with the total expected to increase further over the next four weeks. More details can be found at www.runningfestival.com.au.
The action in the nation’s capital continues today with the Half Marathon, The Canberra Times Marathon and the 50km AURA Ultra Marathon Championships. Find out more at www.runningfestival.com.au.