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A great event. I ran the 44km "marathon", the course has fantastic scenery which means you don't get bored over the long distance but it is hilly so prepare for that! The atmosphere if very relaxed and there is a great buzz in Lorne and Apollo Bay throughout the weekend! I wrote a detailed review hopefully helpful to anyone thinking about doing it: https://marathonreviews.medium.com/great-ocean-road-marathon-3077c71ae66c
Shortly put - It is definitely a FIVE STAR race and worth participating. For a rather small race, it is extremely well organized and the whole event has insanely positive atmosphere. However, there are notoriously little information available for english speaking runners/visitors and even this very page hasn't got all the details right. Here are 3 things you have to take into consideration before registering: 1. COURSE SURFACE IS NOT ASPHALT! Course is flat as a pancake, but not necessarily a fast one, as you run on every possible surface but asphalt. It is mostly paving stones and concrete slabs (quite uneven here and there). Then theres cobblestone, dirt, grass, some weird mix of cobblestone and grass, and Finnish track (wood bark chips). On top of that, every lap you will run roughly 200m on soft sandy beach as well. Thats around 800m when you run a marathon. So, at most 20% of the race is ran on asphalt. 2. LOT OF SHARP TURNS AND PEDESTRIANS ON COURSE HERE AND THERE! Course runs mostly on pathways and walkways along the river. Beautiful views, but many sharp bends and turns that require breaking and speeding up again. Also, be-aware there might be pedestrians behind some of those turns. 3. SELF SERVICE! Volunteers at aid stations are amazing, hard working and helpful. But you should be running with your own cup that you fill up at aid stations (there are water taps for that). Luckily, they provide you the special fabric cup that you can attach to your finger and can crumple up in your palm as you run. There is also Red-Bull and what not available at aid stations. Volunteers do hand out water in paper cups as well, if you happen to stop by without your own cup, but all in all, they are not your fast "grab and go" type of aid stations like on most big city marathons. Luckily they allow crewing, so you can have someone (at aid stations only!) handing out drinks for you. Since it's a narrow lap, he/she can cover 2-3 aid stations easily by foot. Note: None of those 3 things are necessarily a bad thing! No! Especially if you know them ahead and are prepared, they are all manageable. I, in other hand, discovered some of those things (like the self-service and a necessity to run with a cup) as I toed the starting line. Also, the sandy beach strip was a complete surprise in the middle of the race. Despite all that, I ran my PR there! All in all - this race still deserves every single one of those FIVE STARS and I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes unique and one of a kind running experiences.