The 2019 Melbourne Marathon Festival is set to be the biggest in the event's 42-year history, as it returns to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Sunday, 13 October 2019.
With more than 36,000 participants already registered across the event's five distances, a record number of entrants and spectators are set to join in Australia's largest ever marathon.
The event features five curated courses for people of all ages, abilities and athletic stature:
• Melbourne Marathon 42.195km
• SriLankan Airlines Half Marathon 21.1km
• ASICS 10km
• Westin 5km
• 3km Walk
Participants have the rare opportunity to race past some of the city's most iconic landmarks including the St Kilda foreshore, Flinders St Station and Albert Park Lake, alongside thousands of fellow athletes.
This year sees many notable Melburnians banding together in the name of charity. More than 250 entrants are raising money for Lucia's Angels – a cause to raise funds for the Royal Children's Hospital Cardiology Ward and remember the late Lucia Crinis who lost her battle with a rare genetic condition at only 99 days old. Team members include: Sally Crinis and Suzy Eskander, Ricky and Rianna Ponting, Kylie Brown, Lorinska Merrington, Renee Enright, and Lauren Phillips.
Last year's Melbourne Marathon participants raised in excess of $1,300,000 for a huge number of deserving causes across the country. Entrants are again encouraged to raise money for the official charity partner, Cerebral Palsy Education Centre and associate charities JMB Foundation, Australian Red Cross, Beyond Blue and the Heart Foundation.
One such entrant is former GWS star Tom Downie, who will run the ASICS 10km with his partner to raise money for Beyond Blue. The Bachelor's Tim Robards will be tackling the SriLankan Airlines 21km Half Marathon, representing the Festival's hotel partner The Westin. Other notable names taking to the track include Australian running icon Steve Moneghetti, as well as beloved TV presenter Brodie Harper.
Competition is fierce for the race that unites the city, and experts are already weighing in on the contenders predicted to take the top spots and the potential $20,000 prize money. 2019 female entrants have big (running) shoes to fill, with last year's marathon winner Sinead Diver setting a new Australian record of 2:25.19. Top contenders are tipped to be Kenyan Naomi Maiyo, Melburnian Lydia O'Donnell, NSW's Marnie Ponton, and Perth-based Nera Jareb.
Entrants in the Marathon's male division will be following in the footsteps of popular tradie and 2018 winner Liam Adams. Vying for the top spots in 2019 are WA-based, Isaac Birir & Willy Chebor, Polish runner Wojciech Kopek, New South Welshmen Reece Edwards, Matthew Cox and Matthew Hudson, as well as Melbourne local Ryan Geard.
Competition remains fierce in the SriLankan Airlines Half Marathon, with running experts identifying Tara Palm and Casey Wood as front runners in the women's division, and Nic Harman, Tom DoCanto, Harry Summers and Dejen Gebreselassie as strong men's contenders.
While some entrants pine for the glory of breaking the finish line tape, and others revel in an active day out, there is one thing that everyone can agree on – the need for a recovery drink when the race is run. For the first time in the Marathon Festival's history, 'The Village' pop up garden will quench the thirsts of deserving runners and supporters with a selection of beer, wine, cider, soft drinks and variety of food trucks, all within staggering distance at the MCG entrance.
Not all the action on the day takes place on the running course; the Active Feet Runners Expo on the external concourse of the MCG features an exciting array of fitness specific stores catered to runners of any kind. There is also the chance to donate unwanted running shoes to those less fortunate as part of a collaboration with Australian charity Footscape.
For the first time, participants in 2019 have access to the expert dieticians and athletes from Science in Sport, who have created training plans and other invaluable resources to help guide participants, all available via the Marathon website.
All participants will have their journey timed down to the minutia from the innovation sponsor of the festival SAP, whilst the event's official wearable tech partner Garmin powers the informative Event App during race week, the easiest way for participants to get all the vital information on the event and their results.
The Melbourne Marathon Festival involves a number of road closures affecting Melbourne – in particular St Kilda Rd, Citylink Extension (Batman Ave), Fitzroy St Albert Park Lake and Beach Rd.
For more information or to register visit melbournemarathon.com.au.