Yesterday in Port Douglas more than 1,900 people took part in the Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival. This wonderful event is getting more popular every year, with registrations in 2016 up 40 per cent.
Congratulations to all of the winners, from the 74-kilometre ultramarathon down to the 2.3-kilometre junior challenge. They included Christopher Vadas, Susan Crowe, Anthony Ralph, Mary Ryan, Jonathan Tindall, Liz Maguire, Dylan Stenson, Jess Trengove, Denis Coughlan, Clio Ozanne-Jaques, Addison Cobley and Pamella Waters.
Congratulations also to everyone who got out there and had a go. It was all about having fun and enjoying the surroundings, even with the heat and the notorious Bump Track to contend with!
The event raised more than $55,000 for whale shark and manta ray research, a remarkable achievement.
I would like to acknowledge Sam Cullen, Bruno Bennett and the team from Port Douglas Event Management, key sponsor Tropical Journeys, volunteer and event ambassadors, and research partners the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre and James Cook University for their significant efforts.
The coalition government is supporting the expansion of the festival with $150,000 over three years for the Run for the Reef. This simultaneous event in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay, and also Singapore in the future, will raise awareness and raise funds for valuable reef research.