A call has gone out to runners in the region to get serious ahead of the Solar Eclipse Marathon and half marathon in November.
Bruno Bennett from Port Douglas Event Management (organisers of the 2011 Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival) and triathlete Nick Carling are keen to see runners commit to the endurance event by coming together and forming a running club exclusively for people who have registered for either the full or half marathon.
"The rise in popularity in running in the region has been fantastic to see," Bruno said. "We've managed to secure 300 positions for locals in the Solar Eclipse Marathon which will be highly sought after if the success of the Great Barrier Reef Marathon is anything to go by.
"We see this running group as an exclusive club of committed runners who have said 'right, I'm in,' have registered for the race and want to be surrounded by equally committed people."
Nick Carling said interest in the Solar Eclipse Marathon and half marathon has been growing amongst his group of clients, and he said the running group would help anyone considering participating in November in their preparation.
"It's very tough training on your own and keeping the motivation up. (A running group) just keeps everyone inspired.
"The squad will no doubt be split up into a couple of groups depending on fitness levels. It'll take the first few weeks for everyone to gauge where they're at in comparison to the rest of the group," he said.
"If everyone can meet together we can make it a really good social group."
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Although he won't be present at all training sessions, Nick said he will be available for advice and support for those who need it.
"We'll try and organise a running workshop so we can work on technique for endurance running. I'd be more than happy to help people out with that."
He added that the opportunity to train on the actual Solar Eclipse Marathon and half marathon course will be a huge advantage come race day in November.
Squad members will be asked to take ownership of the organisation of the group, with each member playing a role in determining training times, running routes, and ensuring motivation amongst fellow runners remains high.
If you're keen to take up the squad challenge then contact Bruno on 0407 568 969 or Nick on 0410 094 283.
Entry into either distance race is $310 and for more information on how to secure one of the 300 local 'race only' entries contact event organisers, Albatross Travel, at email@example.com.
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