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Brisbane deserves a world class marathon

August 10, 2011

Participation in running is growing.  You would imagine that a modern sophisticated city like Brisbane would have a world class marathon the likes of countless other cities across the world?  Think again.  Last weekends Brisbane Marathon was a fraught affair with significant difficulties with the course thanks not only to problems arising from the floods but a lack of support from the Council, State government and other authorities.  The race organisers have struggled to get permission for road closures and also for funding support.  The result is that the Brisbane Marathon has to be run over a course which at places was sub standard and other places downright dangerous.  There is no surprise that there were injuries this year when the public and competitors came together.

The Queensland government backs the Gold Coast Marathon through Events QLD (Gold Coast) and the result is a world class marathon that attracts international and interstate competitors as well as many thousands from SE QLD.  The run takes in the best of the Gold Coast and is a fantastic showcase for the city.  You would imagine that a similar situation exists in Brisbane.  Whilst there is collaboration by authorities in the Bridge 2 Brisbane, the more prestigious option of a marathon is sadly neglected.  This year’s race saw at least one cyclist and competitor come together resulting in a visit to hospital for the cyclist (and a ruined race for the competitor), plus a few unpleasant clashes between the general public and race marshal’s and competitors using shared space.  In order to make up the distance runners and to do two loops inside the Botanic Gardens on a pathway that was too small to cope with the runners.  The result was mayhem in the early sections of the race with some elite runners jumping through garden beds to get around the phalanx of runners.

If the State Government and Council got behind the staging of a world class marathon there would be plenty of benefits for both.  The result would be a race that could showcase Brisbane to the world and further enhance our reputation as a sporting city.  The fact that the current situation stands when our Premier is a runner leads one to think how much worse it would be if we had someone who wasn’t as sympathetic to running?

So to those who make decisions at State and local government level, please get on board and help add another feature event to our wonderful city that can showcase it.  If its good enough for the Gold Coast its good enough for us.  If the Gold Coast Council can see fit to close roads so can we.  If the Gold Coast can attract visitors, so can we. It’s not that hard folks, it just take a bit of visionary thinking and leadership.

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