The Great Ocean Road Marathon is a race that promises not just a challenge, but an unforgettable journey along one of the world’s most scenic coastal routes. 

Known for its breathtaking views, diverse terrain, and vibrant community spirit, this marathon offers more than just a typical race—it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in one of Australia’s most iconic attractions. 

Our team at Travelling Fit have organised Great Ocean Road Marathon travel packages since 2017 and knows all there is to know about this historic race. 

Keep reading our guide to learn all of the important race information for this event.

Overview of the Great Ocean Road Marathon

Quick Facts

2024 Date

May 19th, 2024

Total Participants

1,500

Registration Cut Of Date

Tuesday 30 April 2024 5pm or unless sold out prior

Required Qualifying Time

N/A

 

Race types and distances

Race Type

Distance

Ultra Marathon

60 km

Marathon

44 km

Half Marathon

23 km

Paradise Run

14 km

 

Great Ocean Road Marathon elevation

The Great Ocean Road Marathon has an elevation gain of around 488 metres (this can change slightly depending on the year). 

The starting elevation is 17 metres above sea level and the race’s maximum elevation level is around 67 metres. 

Check out the graph below for more specific information about the race’s elevation changes.

Elevation
Great Ocean Road Marathon elevation chart - Source: Great Ocean Road Running Festival

Great Ocean Road Marathon route

The Great Ocean Road Marathon starts at the Lorne SLSC Car Park, greeting runners with gentle inclines and declines, setting a calm pace for the initial 6km. This relatively flat section allows participants to find their rhythm and soak in the coastal ambience before the landscape shifts.

As runners approach the 6-7km mark, a steep descent ushers them towards Cumberland River Beach, introducing the first significant challenge. At the 7km point, the serene beach marks the beginning of three demanding ascents that will test resilience and strength. Over the next 2.5km, participants face a rigorous 54-metre elevation gain, culminating at the Mount Defiance lookout. Here, runners can steal a moment to enjoy the panoramic views before a steep descent leads them to the 11km marker.

The journey from 11km to 22.5km unfolds over undulating hills, less intense but equally engaging, as the route curves along the coast. The picturesque town of Wye River greets runners at the 16.5km mark, offering a scenic change and community cheer.

Beyond Wye River, a 5.5km stretch leads to Kennett River, the starting point for the second challenging climb. Over 2.2km, athletes ascend 44 metres, navigating a steep path before an 800-metre descent provides brief respite. But the relief is short-lived, as the third and final major ascent looms, guiding runners up to the Cape Patton lookout. This nearly 2km climb peaks at 67 metres above sea level, rewarding runners with breathtaking views and the satisfaction of conquering the highest point of the race.

From Cape Patton, a steep descent brings the weary but determined to Carlsbrook Creek. Though energy may wane, the route eases as runners set their sights on Apollo Bay, visible in the distance. The final 10km stretch features milder, rolling hills, maintaining the marathon’s character while offering glimpses of the approaching finish line.

As participants enter the final leg, the town of Apollo Bay welcomes them with open arms, marking the end of a remarkable journey at the Apollo Bay Hotel. Runners cross the finish line with a sense of accomplishment, having navigated the scenic and challenging course of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, marking the end of a memorable marathon journey.

Great Ocean Road Marathon map

Check out the map below to see the route for the marathon.

Maps
Great Ocean Road Marathon map - Source: Great Ocean Road Running Festival

Great Ocean Road Marathon difficulty

The Great Ocean Road Marathon, known for its stunning coastal views, presents a unique set of challenges that may affect its difficulty level for different runners. The course’s difficulty can be attributed to several factors, including its undulating terrain, variable weather conditions, and the cumulative elevation gain.

For seasoned marathoners accustomed to varied terrains and elevation changes, the Great Ocean Road Marathon may present an enjoyable challenge. For newcomers or those less accustomed to hilly courses, it may prove more demanding. Proper training, particularly focusing on hill runs and long-distance endurance, can help prepare all runners for this unique event.

Ultimately, while the Great Ocean Road Marathon poses certain challenges, its difficulty is subjective and varies based on individual experience, preparation, and resilience. With the right training and mindset, participants can tackle this scenic course and enjoy all the beauty and accomplishment it offers.

Great Ocean Road 8

Great Ocean Road Marathon drink stations

There will be 12 drink stations throughout the Great Ocean Road Marathon Course.

Water will be provided on the course as well as Science in Sport Drinks.

Distance

Items Provided

Start Line

Water

2.5km

Water

5km

Water

10.7km

Water / Science in Sport drinks

15.4km

Water / Science in Sport drinks

21.8km

Water

26.6km

Water

31.1km

Water / Science in Sport / Jelly beans

36.2km

Water / Science in Sport / Jelly beans

39.4km

Water / Science in Sport drink / Jelly beans

43.1km

Water / Science in Sport drink / Jelly beans

Finish Line

Water / Science in Sport drink / Bananas

 

Great Ocean Road Marathon accommodation - Best place to stay

For participants of the Great Ocean Road Marathon looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay, Cumberland Lorne Resort is an excellent option and is included in our Great Ocean Road Marathon travel packages

This beachfront resort is renowned for its spacious and modern apartments, each featuring a private balcony, outdoor furniture, and a corner spa bath, along with full kitchen and laundry facilities. 

It’s positioned directly across from Louttit Bay, nestled among Lorne’s vibrant restaurants and boutiques, offering stunning views and a friendly atmosphere.

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View from the Cumberland Lorne Resort - Source: Cumberland Lorne

Great Ocean Road Marathon training tips

Training for the Great Ocean Road Marathon requires a well-rounded approach, focusing on endurance, strength, and mental preparedness. Here are essential training tips to help you prepare for this unique and challenging event:

Build endurance gradually 

Start your training with a solid base of mileage and gradually increase your long runs. Incorporate weekly long runs into your regimen to build stamina, ensuring you’re comfortable running for extended periods.

Hill workouts 

Given the race’s undulating terrain, hill training is crucial. Include hill repeats in your weekly training to improve strength and endurance in your legs. This will prepare you for the marathon’s steep ascents and descents.

Cross-training

Engage in cross-training activities such as cycling, swimming, or strength training. This can enhance your overall fitness, reduce the risk of injury, and provide a mental break from running.

Pace strategy

Familiarise yourself with the marathon’s elevation profile and plan your race pace accordingly. Practice running at your planned marathon pace, especially on hillier routes, to understand how the course’s varying elevations will affect your speed.

Nutrition and hydration

Experiment with different hydration and nutrition strategies during your long runs to find what works best for you. Understanding your body’s needs will help you plan effectively for race day.

Mental preparation

Visualise the course and your race strategy. Mental resilience is key, especially for tackling the marathon’s challenging sections. Practice positive self-talk and stress-reduction techniques to keep your mind focused and calm.

Recovery and rest 

Incorporate rest days and taper your training in the weeks leading up to the marathon. Prioritise sleep and recovery to ensure your body is well-rested and at peak condition for race day.

Simulate race conditions

Try to simulate race day conditions during your training, including starting your long runs at the same time the race begins. This helps your body adjust to the timing and conditions you will face.

By following these training tips and preparing both physically and mentally, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the Great Ocean Road Marathon’s unique challenges and enjoy the stunning scenery along the way.

Want to secure a great deal on race entry and accommodation?

We offer 3-day / 2-night Great Ocean Road Marathon travel packages that take the stress out of organising logistics for this event. 

  • Guaranteed race entry (runners only)
  • 3 Days / 2 Night’s accommodation at Cumberland Lorne
  • Race day transfers (runners only)
  • Invite to Travelling Fit’s Great Ocean Road Marathon closed Facebook group exclusive to Travelling Fit clients

We can secure 1-3 bed rooms with either an ocean or garden view depending on budget and needs.

Check out our marathon, ultra-marathon and half marathon packages to learn more!

Imagine running through open savannahs and valleys, all while being surrounded by some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife.

The Big Five Marathon, named after the iconic Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes) offers a perfect opportunity to do this. 

Set in the breathtaking landscapes of the Entabeni Game Reserve, this Marathon offers more than a physical challenge; it’s a journey through one of Africa’s most spectacular game reserves.

Established in 2005, the Big Five Marathon has grown into an iconic event for running enthusiasts and adventure seekers from all corners of the globe. Unlike any other marathon, participants run through territories that are usually reserved for the untamed residents of the African savannah. 

The course promises not just a test of endurance but also a rare opportunity to encounter some of the world’s most majestic animals in their natural habitat. 

Safety is paramount, with the race path closely monitored by helicopters and armed rangers to ensure a secure experience for all runners.

Overview Of The Big Five Marathon

Quick Facts

2024 Date

15th June 2024

Total Participants

130

Registration Cut Of Date

28 May 2024 or until sold out

Required Qualifying Time

Not Applicable

 

Big Five Marathon Cost & Packages

The entry fee for the Big Five Marathon is incorporated into the price of the travel package you choose and cannot be purchased independently.

Entry fees vary, with Travelling Fit providing comprehensive Big Five Marathon packages that include guaranteed race entry, accommodation, guided safari tours, and more, starting from a competitive price point of $5,011 per runner twin share. 

Our packages not only offer multiple game drives for close encounters with wildlife but also include the option for an extended stay with three additional travel packages:

  • Safari and panorama route over 5-days and 4-nights,
  • Cape Town and tour of the Winelands for 5-days and 4-nights,
  • Victoria Falls for a 4-day and 3-night adventure with the possibility to include Chobe National Park.

Race Types & Distances:

Race Type

Distance

Marathon

42.195 km

Half Marathon

21.1 km

Big Five Marathon Map

The Big Five Marathon
Big Five Marathon map - Source: Big Five Marathon

Big Five Marathon course

The initial stretch leads runners past the serene Ravineside Lodge and the imposing Entabeni Monolith, setting the stage on red sand dirt roads that wind through the lower plateau.

At about the 10km mark, you’ll reach Hanglip Viewpoint, the highest point of the race at 1,702m. 

From here, you’ll start to backtrack and run towards the peak of Yellowwood Valley with the terrain becoming uneven with loose rocks, pebbles and holes.

The true test starts around the 14km mark when the steep descent into the Yellowwood Valley commences. While it is paved, this 3.2km long decline has a 42% gradient and will be the biggest quad burner of your life!

Getting to the bottom of the valley will provide a brief sense of relief once you reach the flatness of the valley however this relief is short-lived. 

The next 9km loop is almost 100% deep sand which tests even the most seasoned marathon runners. 

On top of this, at the completion of the 9 km loop, you are then required to go back up the same 3.2km hill at around the 26km mark. 

This brutal ascent is virtually impossible to run, and it is recommended to take this section slowly.

Once you’ve reached the top, congratulations, you’ve just completed one of the hardest 16km we’ve ever tackled in a marathon!

From here, you’ll be grateful for the dirt trails for the next 6km as you run a loop through a narrow valley called Long Drive. 

Once completed, the final part of the race is fairly hard but offers a wonderful view out over the plateau’s lake. 

You’ll traverse up and down a couple more hills with the surface being quite poor again, consisting of hard uneven stony ground, large rocks and a loose surface. 

While you’ll definitely be very fatigued by this point, it’s important you concentrate on the ground ahead of you to ensure you don’t injure yourself.

Eventually, this terrain will pass and you’ll be greeted with the finish line. 

When you make it to this point, you’ll feel an extreme sense of achievement, knowing you’ve just completed one of the most challenging and picturesque marathons in the world!

Big Five Marathon elevation

Highest Point

1,702 metres / 5,584 feet

Lowest Point

1,167 metres  / 3,829 feet

Largest gradient

42% 

Images Traveling
Big Five Marathon map - Source: Big Five Marathon

Big Five Marathon location

Entabeni Game Reserve is a private reserve located in the Waterberg region of Limpopo Province, South Africa. 

Spanning 220 km², it’s known as the “place of the mountain” and offers a diverse range of habitats and is home to a variety of wildlife, including the iconic Big Five (lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, and buffalos), as well as warthogs, cheetah’s, and hippopotamus. 

The reserve is celebrated for its scenic beauty, big game viewing opportunities, bird watching, and being in a malaria-free zone. 

The closest major cities to Entabeni Game Reserve are Johannesburg and Pretoria, located less than a 3-hour drive away, making it an accessible destination for both local and international visitors seeking an authentic safari experience.

Big Five Marathon accommodation​

Legend Safari Resort – Outside Entabeni

Nestled within the Entabeni Safari Conservancy in Limpopo, the Legend Safari Resort offers a unique blend of luxury and wilderness. 

This resort is known for its peacefulness and the rich cultural legacy of Africa, providing guests with an immersive experience surrounded by vivid African bush. 

The resort features an 18-hole signature golf course, a luxury estate, and various other facilities on a Big 5 Game Reserve.

Inclusions:

  • Free WiFi and parking
  • Access to BBQ facilities, a garden, and a terrace
  • Fully equipped kitchen in lodges
  • Private bathroom with shower and hairdryer
  • Activities like cycling and golf (with a unique 18-hole signature golf course)
  • The extreme 19th hole is accessible by helicopter for an unforgettable golfing experience
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Lakeside Lodge – Upper Escarpment

Lakeside Lodge, positioned on the upper escarpment, provides guests with an ideal setting overlooking the lake. 

This serene location offers a perfect blend of comfort and natural beauty, making it a perfect retreat for those looking to escape into nature.

Inclusions:

  • Comfortable lodging with stunning lake views
  • Access to outdoor activities and game viewing
  • Dining options showcasing local cuisine
  • Proximity to hiking trails and wildlife encounters
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Wildside Tented Camp – Lower Escarpment

Located on the lower escarpment of the Entabeni Game Reserve, Wildside Tented Camp offers an authentic safari experience. 

This camp allows guests to stay in close contact with the wilderness, with luxury tents that provide both comfort and a sense of adventure.

Inclusions:

  • Luxurious tented accommodations with essential amenities
  • Guided game drives to explore the Big 5 and other wildlife
  • On-site dining with a focus on African cuisine
  • Various outdoor activities designed to immerse guests in the natural surroundings
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Big Five Marathon temperature

The climate is dry and generally sunny in June with daytime temperatures typically hovering between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Due to the elevation changes and potential wind changes throughout the race, the temperature may fluctuate throughout the race.

It’s also important to be aware that mornings and evenings can feel quite chilly. Night-time temperatures average around 6 degrees Celsius. 

Training And Preparation For the Big Five Marathon

Preparing for the Big Five Marathon presents unique challenges and requires a specialised approach to training. 

Given the distinct terrain, potential wildlife encounters, and the marathon’s location within a game reserve, here are some training tips tailored for this unparalleled race.

Get Comfortable With Varied Terrain

The Big Five Marathon’s course encompasses dirt tracks, rocky paths, and even sandy stretches. 

Incorporating trail running into your training regime can help acclimate your body and mind to the unpredictable nature of the terrain. 

Focus on building stability and strength in your ankles and legs to navigate uneven surfaces confidently.

Prepare For Elevation Changes

The course is known for its challenging elevation gains and losses. 

Include hill repeats and long runs on hilly routes in your training plan to build the necessary leg strength and cardiovascular endurance. 

Practising on inclines will also help you develop a strategy for tackling the hills efficiently on race day.

Big Five Marathon 6 332x250

What To Expect on Race Day Of the Big Five Marathon

Morning Start

The Marathon typically kicks off early in the morning. 

This timing is chosen carefully to balance the need for cooler temperatures against the likelihood of wildlife activity. 

Runners should prepare for an early start, which allows for the enjoyment of the savannah’s beauty as the sun rises, casting golden hues across the landscape.

Wildlife Precautions

The Big Five Marathon takes place in a game reserve, meaning there’s always a chance of encountering wildlife. 

Safety measures are paramount, with rangers, helicopters, and vehicles ensuring the route is secure and participants are safe at all times. 

The presence of wildlife adds an exhilarating element to the race, but it also means there could be unexpected delays. 

Runners are briefed on how to behave if they encounter animals and are always kept at a safe distance.

Aid Stations

Throughout the course, aid stations are strategically placed to offer hydration and nutritional support to the runners. 

These stations supply water, electrolyte drinks, and sometimes light snacks to help maintain energy levels. 

Book Your Spot In the Big Five Marathon With Travelling Fit

Discover the adventure of a lifetime with our Big Five Marathon travel packages

Our packages not only guarantee entry but also offer a hassle-free travel experience, with accommodation, transportation, and exclusive tours all arranged for you.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us to speak with one of our friendly team members

Imagine a marathon where the challenge of 42.2 kilometres is sweetened with the flavours of Bordeaux’s finest wines. 

This race is not just about endurance but also a gastronomic and culinary experience mixed with a route that highlights the area’s scenic beauty.

The Marathon du Medoc redefines the very concept of a marathon. 

Set against the picturesque backdrop of France’s renowned winemaking region, this unique race invites participants to dress up, drink up, and celebrate in the camaraderie of fellow runners and wine enthusiasts. 

Scheduled for 7th September 2024, the Marathon du Medoc stands out with its inclusive spirit.

8,500 participants will embark on a course that takes them through historic chateaux and lush vineyards, complemented by a range of gourmet drinks and snacks along the way.

This is so much more than a race.

It’s a festival on the move, celebrating the joy of running, the art of wine, and the beauty of Bordeaux.

Overview of the Marathon du Medoc

Quick Facts

2024 Date

7th September 2024

Total Participants

8,500

Registration Cut Of Date

21 June 2024 or until sold out

Required Qualifying Time

N/A

Race Type

Marathon (42.2km)

 

Marathon du Medoc Cost

Entries for the Marathon du Medoc are included and guaranteed when you book your trip through Travelling Fit. We offer comprehensive travel packages that cater to every need, ensuring you enjoy a hassle-free experience focused on the Marathon du Medoc and the pleasures of Bordeaux.

Our 4-day / 3-night and 5-day / 4-night packages Include a range of tour options and perks exclusive to Travelling Fit clients.

Packages start from $2,107 with a guaranteed entry to the race. Check out our Marathon du Medoc Marathon travel packages to learn more.

Marathon du Medoc Course Route

Your journey begins in the charming town of Pauillac, nestled along the scenic banks of the Gironde estuary. 

As you set off from the starting line, the festive atmosphere is unmistakable, with runners dressed in creative costumes, embodying the marathon’s spirit of fun and cheerfulness. 

Pauillac, renowned for its prestigious wineries, sets the stage for an unforgettable race.

As you leave Pauillac behind, the route takes you through a variety of vineyards, showcasing some of the region’s most renowned wine estates, including Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Latour. 

This part of the marathon provides peaceful scenery and a chance to sample some of the best wines in the area, blending the physical challenge of the race with a touch of gastronomic pleasure.

Halfway through, the route leads you to several historic chateaux, which are emblematic of the area’s deep-rooted history. 

As you run past landmarks like Château Pichon Longueville and Château Beychevelle, you’ll get a brief glimpse into their elegance and the rich tales they embody. 

This segment of the marathon bridges history with the present, gradually drawing you into the essence of Médoc’s celebrated wine legacy.

This section is a runner’s paradise, offering serene views and the unique opportunity to taste world-class wines and food, turning the marathon into a unique blend of athletic challenge and culinary enjoyment, making it a distinctive experience for runners.

From gourmet food stands to wine-tasting booths, these stops are more than just rest points, they’re where the spirit of the marathon truly comes to life. 

Here, amidst the laughter and music, you’ll feel the warmth of the Médoc community, cheering you on and sharing in the joy of the event.

The route eventually circles back to Pauillac where crowds of locals and spectators will be waiting to cheer you home. 

Crossing the finishing line gives runners a bit of a different feeling of satisfaction compared to standard marathons. While you may not have broken your PB, you’ll be smiling ear to ear at the uniqueness of the event and the experiences you just gained.

Marathon du Medoc Map 

Check out the map below to see the route for the marathon (subject to change )

Image
Marathon du Medoc Map - Source: Marathon du Medoc

Marathon du Medoc 2024 Theme

The theme for the 2024 Marathon du Medoc is “Faites vos Jeux”, meaning “Make Your Games!”. 

Pull out your imaginative costumes and embrace the playful spirit of the games.  

Participants are encouraged to express themselves creatively, adding an extra layer of excitement and camaraderie to the race. 

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Marathon du Medoc Medals, Records, and More

Beyond the finish line lies the pride of completing one of the world’s most unique marathons. 

Medals will be awarded celebrating both the personal achievement and the collective joy of the event. 

Records set here are as much about endurance as they are about participating in the marathon’s convivial spirit.

In true local fashion, every runner who crosses the finish line will also receive a French bottle of wine.

Marathon du Medoc Registration Process

If you’d like to register for the marathon, Travelling Fit can help you secure guaranteed race entry. 

You can book race entry and a range of Marathon du Medoc travel packages and tour options including:

  • 5 days / 4 nights at Hotel De Normandie (4-Star)
  • 4 Days / 3 Nights at Hotel De Normandie (4-Star)

Optional day tours & excursions:

  • St Emilion Half Day Tour – This tour will take us to the beautiful UNESCO-listed medieval French village of Saint Emilion and visit the unique Underground Monolithic Church, the Tour du Roi.
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Do I need a medical certificate to participate in the Medoc Marathon?

A medical certificate is a mandatory requirement for participation in the Marathon du Medoc, as is common with many French races. 

This certificate must verify your fitness to compete in a marathon and needs to be signed by your General Practitioner (GP).

Travelling Fit provides guidance on the specific requirements for the medical certificate and can assist in navigating the process to ensure your documentation meets the necessary requirements for race entry.

How to train for the Marathon du Medoc

The Marathon du Medoc is an event that celebrates more than just running; it’s a festival of wine, food, and the picturesque beauty of the Bordeaux region. 

Preparing for this marathon means gearing up for a unique blend of physical endurance and sensory delights. 

Training should focus not only on the stamina needed to comfortably complete the course but also on an openness to the festive atmosphere that defines the race.

Incorporate variety in your training to adapt to the marathon’s diverse demands, from long runs that simulate the distance to shorter, faster workouts that build speed and efficiency. 

Given the wine-tasting opportunities along the route, consider practising runs that include stops, mimicking the race day experience. 

Balancing your physical preparation with a mindset that embraces the celebration will enhance your overall experience.

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Getting to Marathon du Medoc

Planning your trip to the Marathon du Medoc is an integral part of the experience. 

The race takes place in the Bordeaux region of France, renowned for its vineyards and historic towns. 

Travelling Fit offers comprehensive travel solutions that simplify the logistics of getting to the Marathon. 

Whether you’re flying in from another continent or travelling locally, we provide detailed travel advice, including the best flight options, airport transfers, and local transportation to ensure a smooth journey to the starting line.

Planning Your Marathon Journey with Travelling Fit

This is your invitation to join a festival that combines the endurance of marathon running with the pleasure of French wine and cuisine. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or a wine enthusiast looking for a unique challenge, the Marathon du Medoc offers something for everyone. 

Don’t miss the chance to be part of this extraordinary event. Secure your spot through one of our Marathon du Medoc travel packages, choose your costume, and prepare for an adventure that will delight your senses and challenge your spirit.

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