2017 Beach to Brother event a challenge for competitors

Hard work: Just under 400 competitors took on the challenging Beach to Brother marathon on Sunday. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Hard work: Just under 400 competitors took on the challenging Beach to Brother marathon on Sunday. Photo: Ivan Sajko

BEACH to Brother event director Mick Maher believes if competitors can overcome Sunday’s conditions to complete a marathon course they can do anything.

On a day more suited to the beach than running 42.2 kilometres, just under 400 runners took in the picturesque coastline from Town Beach to North Brother Mountain.

Some ran the whole distance while others joined with mates in the team’s relay, or took part in the 10-kilometre or five-kilometre events.

Runners wilted along the course as the mercury soared, with four competitors forced to withdraw from their races due to heat exhaustion.

Maher said while conditions were extreme, he felt it was the correct decision not to cancel the event.

“It’s something that is always in the back of your mind when you get those extreme conditions when you may need to pull the pin,” he said.

“I was constantly in contact with emergency services and at the bottom of the hill it was 39 degrees at 11.30am.

“It was 36 degrees at the top.”

Thoughts of cancelling the event were considered, before a modified starting time for the 10-kilometre and five-kilometre events were scheduled.

“We didn’t want people out on the course during the hottest part of the day,” Maher said.

“But we did send an email out a few days before the event reminding people about their nutritional plans and to make sure they hydrated themselves.

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget what to put in your body when you’re under fatigue so you need a reminder.”

Maher said they had volunteers with first-aid backgrounds out on the course who kept a close eye on competitors at the rest points.

“I know as a competitor that when you get to that point of exhaustion you don’t think about what could happen,” he said.

“But I have been thankful a few days later in the past that I’ve been told I can’t continue.”

Remarkably, 37 of the full-marathon competitors didn’t complete the course in the allocated time.

Male winner Andrew Hill said the event could be similar to Sydney’s Coastal Classic event, but Maher was focused on short-term goals.

“We had just under 400 competitors across the different categories this year, including just under 100 for the full-marathon,” he said.

Our focus is to provide quality, not quantity and we want people to keep returning and say in 20 years ‘I’ve been in all 20 Beach to Brother events’. - Beach to Brother event director Mick Maher

“We have plans to progressively grow the event over the next 10 years.

“Our focus is to provide quality, not quantity and we want people to keep returning and say in 20 years ‘I’ve been in all 20 Beach to Brother events’.”

Maher was also thankful for the efforts of the volunteers out on the course.

“They all did a fantastic job and without them we wouldn’t have been able to run the event so successfully,” he said.

Adding to an action-packed day, competitors saw snakes at Town Beach, dolphins at Lighthouse Beach, whales heading south at Bonny Hills and a great white shark off Grants Head.

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