WINNER: Ethiopia's Samuel Woldeamanuel.
WINNER: Ethiopia's Samuel Woldeamanuel. Patrick Woods

Plans for much bigger fields at Coast running festival

RUNNING: The 7 Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Running Festival organiser Jason Crowther says there is "still a lot of room for growth" at the event, following its fifth edition at Alexandra Headland on Sunday..

The six-race carnival proved a successful one and a popular one, with about 5500 runners taking to the scenic coastal course.

But officials have much higher hopes in years to come.

"We're still a young event but we want this to be one of the biggest (marathon and run festivals) in Australia and there's still lot of room for growth," he said.

"The plan is to get to 12000-15000 runners in 10-15 years. We've got to get that national and international market competing."

And it's in the main race he'd like to see some more immediate growth.

"We've got some fast times here (so) it's going to draw those fast age group runners who want to run a PB. Our goal is attract those guys and build the marathon numbers. We had about 500 runners this year but it would be nice to get four figures in the next couple of years."

He said the course would likely remain the same until festival numbers reached more than 7500, when congestion would become an issue.

While this year's festival numbers were similar to last year, there was more depth in the quality of runners in the 42.2km marathon, which was again won by Ethiopian Samuel Woldeamanuel (2hrs22min16sec).

"We had three guys run under 2hrs30min and another one at 2hrs32 and that's the best I've seen here," Crowther said.

There was also a women's course record in the half marathon, via Cassie Fien (1hr13min25sec)

"The feedback from participants was great and it was good to see some fast times," Crowther said.

"About 95 percent of runners out there aren't elite and our course suits them. They get to see their family three or four times and that really gives them drive, that's why we see a lot of PBs."

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