Rhys Williams, first to finish today’s half marathon.
Rhys Williams, first to finish today’s half marathon.

Runners gather for scenic Yeppoon marathon

SATURATED with sweat, Rhys Williams was the first to cross the finish line of today’s half marathon in Yeppoon.

Participants ran on the Anzac Parade promenade and alongside Farnborough Road, finishing near the beachfront amphitheatre where supporters waited and cheered.

The 21.1km race began at 5.30am, and Mr Williams completed it in just over an hour and fifteen minutes, afterwards collapsing on the grass and joking that his life was “good while it lasted” as he caught his breath.

The Yeppoon Triathlon Festival 2020
The Yeppoon Triathlon Festival 2020

The Rockhampton runner trained for roughly 15 weeks leading up to the CQUniversity-sponsored festival.

“With COVID it’s sort of been hard to do a lot of training,” Mr Williams said.

“This is pretty much the first event of the year.

“I was aiming for one-fifteen, so 11 seconds over.”

Mr Williams said he became interested in running in primary school, representing Rockhampton and Central Queensland at the time, and that it was the local parkrun that recently brought him back to the sport.

He said he intended to compete in the Hervey Bay 100 triathlon next month.

Lisa Hurring, first woman across the line.
Lisa Hurring, first woman across the line.

Not far behind Mr Williams came Lisa Hurring, the first woman across the line, with a time of about one hour and 33 minutes.

She entered the race on Wednesday “on a whim”, saying afterwards that she felt “magnif”, despite being more familiar with challenges of a greater distance.

“I run ultra-marathons,” Ms Hurring said, “so for me it’s short, which is not good: it means it’s very, very hard the whole way through, whereas an ultra is conversational pace.

“It was uncomfortable, but I paced myself well, and I had a lot of good chats along the way with people, which is always the best part of the race.”

Ms Hurring, from Taranganba, said she had been on a season break from ultra-marathons, so had spent the past month or so getting back into the swing of things.

“For about the last three or four weeks I’ve just actually been getting my kilometres back up.

“Because I always run ultras and they’re always a long way away, I can never actually give back; I can never volunteer.

“So when we have a local race here I always want to volunteer, and so that’s what I’ve always done, and this year I just thought, ‘Give it a poke, you know?’”

There were also 10km, 5km, and 1.6km races at the festival.