ENTRIES for the 49th Traralgon Marathon are now open amid a shake-up of next year’s event.
The Traralgon Harriers have partnered with the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail committee and Traralgon Football Netball Club to showcase a new-look course for 2016.
In a bid to overcome safety issues, attract more people to the event and promote the region, the route will run along the trail, starting and finishing at Traralgon Recreation Reserve, home of the TFNC.
Traralgon Harriers president Will Hanrahan said with “a big change coming”, he felt confident Australia’s oldest country marathon would run smoother and safer than ever before.
“We’ve been surveying participants over recent years and we’ve had a strong indication people want to move off the open road,” Hanrahan said.
“We’ve already got a really positive response from local members about the changes; they’re really excited to have a new course.
“I believe with the safety and what the new course will generate, numbers will increase.”
The course will take marathon runners to Toongabbie and back, while half-marathon runners will turn around just before Glengarry.
Participants will start from the football ground, run through Victory Park and under the highway, around to Franklin Street and up to Marshalls Road, to the rail trail.
Gippsland Plains Rail Trail committee of management chair Helen Hoppner said it would be a huge opportunity to promote the trail outside of the region.
“We like the big events being done on the trail because of the safety component and people utilising the facilities in towns and the businesses, they all get a kick out of it,” Hoppner said.
“The whole thing is very much a positive for the rail trail.”
The committee will ensure the rail trail is ready to go, with Hanrahan looking to TFNC for help with marshals and use of the club’s facilities.
He said on top of the additional car parking, showers and toilets, the undercover area would cater for inclement weather.
“What we’re able to do here is… plan for the worst and hope for the best,” he said.
“We are really planning now for the big 50th and we think it’ll really propel us into that.”
TFNC president Andrew Livingstone said partnering with the Harriers would help lift the club’s community profile.
“We feel it’s a good fit – both organisations promote healthy living, hopefully our venue will be suitable and we’ll make sure we’ll do everything possible to help out,” he said.
Super early-bird prices are available for those who enter before 11 March, with prices gradually increasing as the date looms near.
For details or to enter the 5 June 2016 event, visit www.traralgonmarathon.org.au/entries