A RECORD number of runners from all corners of the world will arrive in Queensland next week for the 40th Gold Coast Marathon.
More than 4,000 runners from 46 countries have already registered for the event, and there’s still over a week remaining until entries close.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said global interest in the big race “is at fever pitch”.
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“To have a record number of runners visiting from overseas is a testament to the standard of events we have on the Gold Coast,” Ms Jones said.
“Events like the IAAF Gold Label Gold Coast Marathon showcase the region to international visitors and provide an opportunity to participate in a world-class event in one of the most sought-after tourism destinations on the planet.
“Interest in this event is at fever pitch, with the 42km race sold out and other races selling quickly.
“We expect to attract more than 7500 international competitors including family and supporters – this will give the Gold Coast tourism industry a great boost.”
The event is expected to generate more than 90,000 visitor nights in Queensland and inject up to $27 million into the state’s economy.
The Minister highlighted the record number of entries from Greater China and South East Asia as major contributing factors to the overall unparalleled international numbers.
“The appeal of this event to runners from China is at an all-time high, luring more than double the number of entries last year,” Ms Jones said.
“We had one participant from China in 2010 and we have well over 500 this year. Record participation in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia also shows the appeal of this event in Asia.
“Best-ever numbers are also coming from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, while Japan continues to provide the most number of visiting international runners.
“It’s highly likely New Zealand will reach a record number this year too.”
Ms Jones said the global media exposure of the Gold Coast Marathon had contributed to the increased profile of the event and the host city.
Last year’s televised highlights program was broadcast to a global audience of around two billion people.
“Television coverage of the Gold Coast Marathon last year generated 1700 hours of air time with a potential reach into 900 million households across 93 countries,” Ms Jones said.
“In addition, the live stream of the Gold Coast Marathon is available around the world, complementing the significant global audience engaged on social media.
“Not only are media partnerships raising the profile of the marathon but also of the Gold Coast as a destination for major events.
“We will also host more than 50 media representatives from Japan, greater China and southeast Asia this year.”
The Gold Coast Marathon is organised by Events Management Queensland, a major event management company wholly owned by the Queensland Government as part of Tourism and Events Queensland.
Events Management Queensland Chairman Kerry Watson said he is delighted with the growing international interest in the Gold Coast Marathon.
“Targeted long-term marketing strategies in collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland, Gold Coast Airport, City of Gold Coast, Gold Coast Tourism and major sponsors have resulted in unprecedented participation numbers from overseas markets,” Mr Watson said.
“The growth we are seeing today is based on the platform we’ve laid for even more visitors to come and experience the Gold Coast Marathon both this year and in future years.
“Our strategies, combined with the celebratory occasion of the 40th edition, as well as the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games have attracted significant attention to this destination, and we plan to ensure the Gold Coast Marathon adds value to that focus on the Gold Coast for many years to come.”
This 40th annual Gold Coast Marathon will be held on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July.
Entries for all races on the program close on Friday 29 June.
The event will feature eight races including the Gold Coast Marathon, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Gold Coast Airport Fun Run, Garmin 4km Junior Dash and Garmin 2km Junior Dash.
Visit goldcoastmarathon.com.au for more information.