Rhys Williams (front left) won the half marathon at last year’s Yeppoon Triathlon Festival and will be back on Sunday to defend his title.
Rhys Williams (front left) won the half marathon at last year’s Yeppoon Triathlon Festival and will be back on Sunday to defend his title.

Yeppoon festival ‘tracking to be the biggest one yet’

RUNNING: The 2020 Yeppoon Running Festival is shaping up to be the biggest in the four-year history of the event.

Race director Rob Dendle expects as many as 650 people will have entered by the time nominations close at 9pm Friday.

They will greet the start line on Sunday in four events – the half marathon (21.1km), the 10km, the 5km and the 1.6km family run.

“Registrations have been going well, particularly in the last week,” Dendle said.

“You’re never really sure how numbers will go until the last day but it’s tracking to be the biggest one yet.

As many as 650 entrants are expected to take part in Sunday’s Yeppoon Running Festival.
As many as 650 entrants are expected to take part in Sunday’s Yeppoon Running Festival.

“I’m thinking we will have 600, probably closer to 650. The past two years we have around 540 to 550 so this year is going to be a big jump on that.

“The 21km is huge; we’ve got close to 170 entries, which is 30, 40 up on last year.”

Dendle said it was a fantastic response given that as late as July, he was wondering if the festival would even go ahead because of COVID-19.

“Things then started shifting towards a more positive outlook so we decided to pull the trigger and go ahead,” he said.

“We were behind in terms of planning and advertising and getting the word out but I think the number of entries is a good indication of how much people want to get out and get to an event.”

Dendle said COVID regulations meant the race starts had to change. Two competitors in each event would on Sunday be sent off every two and a half to three seconds to avoid congestion at the start line.

Tracey Prince, pictured in full stride at last year’s event, will be in action again on Sunday.
Tracey Prince, pictured in full stride at last year’s event, will be in action again on Sunday.

The half-marathon runners will be the first on the course, starting at 5.30am.

The 10km run will start at 5.45am, the 1.6km family run at 7.50am and the 5km at 8.10am.

Dendle said Rockhampton’s Rhys Williams would be back to defend his title in the men’s half marathon.

He said other locals who could feature in the long-distance event were Joshua Duff and Tracey Prince and Andrea McSherry.

“When you look at the list of names you can recognise the locals but we do have a large contingent of runners who are travelling for the event so it could be a really hotly contested Sunday,” he said.

“About 45 per cent of the field is coming from outside the region, with people from as far south as the Gold Coast and as far north as Townsville.

“They’ll be starting to roll up on Friday and most leave on the Monday so it’s really good for the local economy as well.

“The weather looks ideal, and I’m really looking forward to it.”