Our Backyard – Apollo Bay

THE 2013 Great Ocean Road International Marathon Festival will deliver the region its biggest tourism and economic boom in the event’s nine-year history, with the festival on track for record entries.
More than 4000 competitors have entered the May 18-19 event, which is closing in on its target of 5000 participants.
Geelong Otway Tourism executive director Roger Grant described the continual growth of the festival as a remarkable achievement.
“Particularly when you realise the original dream of establishing the Great Ocean Road Marathon was very much to fill the beds in Apollo Bay and along the coast during a time that was traditionally very quiet, being after Easter and leading into the cooler months,” Mr Grant said.
“We’re now starting to see what the marathon can really do.
“Accommodation is much sought-after.
“Instead of being a quiet time, it has become an exceptionally busy time.”
The Great Ocean Road Real Estate Marathon Festival was the brainchild of marathon founder, the late Les Noseda. Offering six events across two days has encouraged competitors to stay in the area while they discover what Mr Grant labels “a world icon”. He partly attributes an increase in international competitors to the unrivalled Great Ocean Road landscape, with overseas entrants already up 66 per cent on last year.

After organisers embarked on a Singapore promotion campaign late last year, Singapore/Malaysian entries have jumped almost 50 per cent compared with the same time last year.
“Singapore is such an urbanised country and every run you have, it’s in an area with people and buildings,” Mr Grant said.
“There’s not the same open space you can enjoy here.
“It does have that wow factor but it’s also the challenge.
“I think we will continue to see growth, particularly from international areas.”
It is predicted that up to 15,000 people will potentially descend on the Great Ocean Road region for the festival. “You can usually say for every runner, there will be a couple of supporters,” Mr Grant said.
“The economic impact, I think Tourism Victoria told us last year, is close to $6 million, which is a real boost, particularly at a time that was quiet.”
Another goal the festival is fulfilling is drawing competitors, whether it is local or interstate, back to the region.
“What we’re trying to generate is repeat visitation,” to Marengo and return, followed by the popular 1.5km Vetta Pasta Kids' Gallop. Also on Saturday's schedule is the 14km Geelong Advertiser run and TAC Wheelchair Athletes' Challenge, which both travel from Apollo Bay to Paradise and return.
On Saturday night, the Mantra Lorne will host a Pasta Night, with Moneghetti and former marathon great John Farrington special guests.
Sunday, May 19, features the headline events – the Fagg’s Mitre 10 Half Marathon from Kennett River to Apollo Bay and the Great Ocean Road Real Estate Marathon from Lorne to Apollo Bay.
Team honours are up for grabs in the 6km, 14km, 23km and 45km running events, with the victorious teams to score Soleus Running Australia prizes.
The Great Ocean Road Real Estate International Marathon Festival is supported by Tourism Victoria and three municipalities – Colac Otway Shire, Surf Coast Shire and the City of Greater Geelong.

See you in Our Backyard.


Darren Brimacombe

0418 317 424