Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival is THIS WEEKEND!

Get your runners ready as this weekend (Dec 11th & 12th) sees the return of the highly anticipated Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival! (Much to the delight of runners across the country.) In an incredible step forward for Australia, this exciting event will see fully vaccinated participants, spectators (that’s me) and volunteers nationwide come together to celebrate the sport that kept so many of us sane during lockdown. This free and action-packed family day out gives locals the opportunity to cheer on participants of all ages and abilities alongside the track or in the grandstands at the MCG where the final lap of all five distances will take place. Budding athletes can witness Olympians, state champions and the iconic Spartans cross the finish line and take part in inspirational post-race interviews. It’s super exciting stuff folks!

The new summertime dates, split across two days, mark an exciting first in the Marathon’s illustrious 42- year history, and represent an important step forward in the journey to get Melbourne moving again.  

Distances occurring on Saturday include the SriLankan Airlines 10km Run, the 5km Run and 3km Walk.  On Sunday, the Nike Melbourne Marathon, Nike Wheelchair Marathon, and Nike Half Marathon will all take place, with start times commencing an hour earlier to accommodate for the warmer weather.  

Over the last eighteen months, Australians have been reminded of the power of running to provide a  sense of freedom, community, and achievement when it’s mattered the most. The Marathon represents a milestone moment for the community to come together and celebrate their beloved sport, whether they’re running their first 5km or looking to smash their marathon personal best.  

The 2019 Melbourne Marathon helped raise over $1,200,000 for various charities, and this year  participants are again encouraged to raise money for the official charity partner, Cerebral Palsy  Education Centre, and associate charities: JMB Foundation, Australian Red Cross, the Heart Foundation, and Very Special Kids, as well as other causes close to entrant’s hearts.  

“The past eighteen months proved two things: that Aussies are made of tough stuff, and that running is  an intrinsic part of our national identity. We are thrilled to welcome back the Nike Melbourne Marathon this December and look forward to uniting veteran runners like our Spartans, with a whole new  generation of budding athletes,” said Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival Event Director, Marcus Gale. 

The new dates for the nation’s premier marathon were made possible by the support of multiple stakeholders including the City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip, the MCC, Victorian Police, Public  Transport Victoria, Vic Roads, and the event’s major partner Nike. Last year, hundreds of thousands of  Australians turned to the Nike Run Club (NRC) app for fitness, accountability, and connection. Now it is  time to see the sport’s new converts lace up and get themselves ready for the start line come December. 

“We know that so many amazing runners have been committed to their training to date, and we want  to let you know we have you covered”, says Nike Run Coach Lydia O’Donnell. “Updated training plans are available across all distances on the Nike Run Club app, to factor in the new race dates. For those that  haven’t committed to training yet, you can still sign up for a training plan of your choice and start the  journey to race day.” 

If you, like my husband, are running this weekend, I wish you the best of luck. I’ll be on the sidelines cheering you on!

Splitting the Marathon Festival over two days is just one of many measures taken by event producer IMG  to ensure the iconic race is COVIDSafe. The company’s comprehensive plans, approved by the DHHS, include rolling start lines, hygiene stations, social distancing, and robust contact tracing measures. 

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If 2020 taught us anything it’s that, sometimes you just have to stop… to appreciate the restart.  @melbmara #melbmara  

*if you have a body, you are an athlete