Hundreds set to stride into Yeppoon Running Festival
RUNNING: Rhys Williams will be looking to reclaim his mantle in the half marathon at this weekend’s Yeppoon Running Festival.
The Rockhampton runner won it at the inaugural festival in 2017 but was pipped by Brisbane’s Luke Fainges last year, beaten into second by just under two minutes.
He is keen to return to the winners’ circle, and believes his preparations have him well placed.
Williams will be among more than 550 athletes who are expected to greet the starting line on Sunday.
As well as the 21.1km, the festival has 10km and 5km races and a 1.6km family fun run.
Williams said the course, the scenery and the atmosphere made the Yeppoon Running Festival a fantastic event.
“It’s a beautifully flat course,” he said.
“It’s one of the best runs you can do in Central Queensland.
“It’s really well organised and the town really comes out and supports it.
“It’s a good, friendly environment and I just love it.”
Williams’ PB for the half marathon is 1:16.11 and he clocked 1:17:10 at last year’s festival.
“I’d be looking to go around that 1:16, 1:17 mark again.
“I’m hoping to be up there but you never know what’s going to happen on the day.
“I had a slight injury from the Gold Coast Marathon but I’m over that now and I’ve been able to hit the training pretty hard in the last few weeks and my prep’s right on track.
“I just enjoy running, no matter what the distance. They are very different preparations going from the half to the full but they are both very enjoyable events.”
Williams said his race plan would be to push for the first three or four kilometres of the race to try to break away from the field before settling into his rhythm.
“You’ve just got to run your own race,” he said.
“You’ve got to go out with your own plan and stick to it. If you try to run someone else’s race it doesn’t work for you.”
Race director Rob Dendle said things were shaping up for another fantastic festival, with numbers up on last year.
“We’re expecting anywhere between 550 and 600 this year,” he said.
“Entries are open until Thursday and we generally have a fair few registrations for the 5km and the fun run in the last week.
“In terms of the half marathon, numbers are pretty well finalised and we are probably up about 15 on last year which is quite a significant number.”
Dendle said the location was one of the festival’s major drawcards, and organisers put a major emphasis on participation.
He said offering the four different distances was designed to get as many people involved as possible.
“Importantly, too, the CQ area does not have a lot of events like this so it’s great to give locals the chance to race on home soil rather than having to travel away,” he said.
More than $2000 in vouchers is up for grabs on the day.
Sunday’s program starts with the half marathon at 5.30am.
The 10km gets under way at 5.45am, the fun run at 7.50am and the 5km at 8.10am.
For more information or to register, go to the Yeppoon Running Festival website.