HALL OF FAMER: Burleigh's Geoff Last has been honoured with a permanent race number of 2, having lined up for 21 of the GC50 Run Festival's 22 years.
HALL OF FAMER: Burleigh's Geoff Last has been honoured with a permanent race number of 2, having lined up for 21 of the GC50 Run Festival's 22 years.

GC50 Festival runners are on their way

THE GC50 Run Festival has been operating since 1997 and Burleigh's Geoff Last will be lining up at Kurrawa again on Sunday, December 8, having run the spectacular 50km coastal road course to Coolangatta for 21 of its 22 years.

But event organiser Adam Goodger said the festival's beauty was that there was a distance for everyone - this year for the first time including children's 1km and 2.5km beach runs.

"It's the first year we've had a special kids' event, and the beach run is altogether new and will include our 5km event," Adam said.

"The idea is that will make it a better experience for everyone, and parents and grandparents can enjoy the run together safely with kids."

He said the low tide forecast meant "nice hard, flat sand for people to walk, jog or run along".

(Minimum age for the 2.5km route is 7 years, and adults run free with kids in the 1km and 2.5km events, with all kids registered receiving medals).

Kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult in the 5km event, and there are minimum ages for the longer road distances (15km to Burleigh, 30km to Currumbin and 50km to Coolangatta), with races starting and ending in Pratten Park, Broadbeach.

"The average age of participants for the 50km is 46, so that is high for an event of this kind," Adam said, with at least one runner last year in their 70s.

Seven runners, including Geoff Last (No.2) have been given permanent race numbers (awarded after completing 10 x 50km races).

The other top 4 Hall of Famers are No.1 Sunshine Coaster Geoff Williams (22 races), No.3 Kelvin Marshall (16 including winning 1999, 2001 and 2008) and No.4 Peter McKenzie (20).

"It's just one of those races that you keep coming back to do," Geoff Last said.

The former real estate agent is a familiar sight on the beachside roads on his daily morning 9km run, culminating each Sunday with a 4.30am run to Coolangatta and return - not bad for 69 years old.

"I've been doing that for at least 15 years," Geoff said.

Since completing his first half-marathon in 1995, he has notched up 30-plus marathons and about 80 ultramarathons (generally 50, 80 or 100kms).

That includes the old Gold Coast 100 (twice return from Broadbeach to Duranbah), the Glasshouse 100 and 85km Coffs to Grafton, as well as about six 24-hour races.

"I just like keeping fit and feeling good," he said.

He also found it a great stress release during his real estate years, allowing him to stay cool and calm when it was really needed.

This sort of regime, accompanied by three gym sessions a week (dropped to two this year) and a monthly sports massage religiously to "iron out any niggles", has meant he hasn't had to do any extra training before races, taking only a week off at most between events.

If you were fit, Geoff said, the longer distances were ideal as you got older as they weren't so much a question of speed as mental strength and stamina.

"Once you do the longer distances, you find it's more of a mind game - certainly staying awake for 24-hour events is," he laughed.

Since Sport 3 took over the GC50 Run Festival a few years ago, it has grown participant numbers to 1200 in 2017, 2000 in 2018, and 3000 this year.

"Our goal is to reach 4000," Adam said.

"It's a really nice journey people can come on with us, with a lot of people who started out doing the 5km race now doing the higher distances."

To find out more about the race routes and times, after-race celebrations, to volunteer or register as an individual or team, go to gc50runfestival.com.au or email info@goldcoast50.com.

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