Discover Australia’s 10 Largest Running Events for 2024

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Running enthusiasts in Australia are in for a treat with a plethora of exciting events to choose from in 2024.

Biggest isn’t always best, but there is something special about events that take over a city.

From the iconic City2Surf in Sydney to the vibrant Melbourne Marathon Festival, there’s a fun run or marathon festival for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey.

This guide will introduce you to the top 10 largest running events across the country, each offering unique routes, stunning scenery, and a chance to be part of a supportive community. Lace up your shoes and get ready to explore the best running events Australia has to offer, as we delve into the details that will help you plan your year of running adventures.

Demand for entries are high in these events, with many selling out well ahead of time. Make sure to enter early to secure your spot and experience the excitement first hand!

1. City2Surf

68,869 finishers in 2023

Australia’s most iconic running event taking runners on a 14 kilometre journey from the Sydney CBD to Bondi Beach through scenic neighbourhoods in the eastern suburbs. The event is not just about the run; it’s a celebration filled with entertainment, charity fundraising, and a festive atmosphere that brings together people of all ages and abilities. With its challenging Heartbreak Hill and spectacular coastal views, the City2Surf offers a unique and rewarding experience for both competitive runners and casual participants.

Other Distance

City2Surf

2. Sydney Marathon Festival

34,234 finishers in 2023 across 4 events (including 13,297 in the Marathon)

The Sydney Marathon showcases the best of the city’s stunning landscapes and vibrant culture. As Australia’s largest marathon, and a candidate to join the prestigious World Marathon Majors, it draws thousands of runners from around the globe to compete on a course that takes runners over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, through the picturesque Royal Botanic Garden and with a finish in front of the Sydney Opera House. The marathon offers various distances to accommodate all fitness levels, with the marathon being the piece de resistance. Renowned for its well-organised race experience and enthusiastic spectator support, the Sydney Marathon is a must-do event for runners of all abilities.

Marathon

Sydney Marathon

3. Melbourne Marathon Festival

30,848 finishers in 2023 across 4 events (7,928 in the marathon)

The Melbourne Marathon is a standout event in Australia’s running calendar, renowned for its scenic course and vibrant atmosphere. This annual race attracts runners of all levels, from elite athletes to casual joggers, eager to traverse the iconic route that includes Melbourne landmarks such as Flinders Street Station and Albert Park Lake, with a stadium finish in the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The event offers a range of distances, including the marathon, half marathon, 10K, and family-friendly runs, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Participants are treated to enthusiastic crowd support and the thrill of finishing inside the legendary MCG. With its combination of urban and parkland scenery, the Melbourne Marathon provides a unique and exhilarating experience, making early registration essential to secure your place in this celebrated race.

Marathon

Melbourne Marathon Festival

4. Run for a Reason

28,289 finishers in 2023 across 3 events (including 13,303 in the 12km)

Run for a Reason is a unique and inspiring running event held annually in Perth, designed to promote health and well-being while supporting charitable causes. Participants can choose from various distances, including a half marathon, 12km, and 4km, making it accessible to runners of all ages and fitness levels. The event is celebrated for its inclusive and supportive atmosphere, encouraging individuals and families to get active together. The scenic course takes runners through the heart of Perth, offering views of the city’s beautiful parks and waterfront. Each year, participants run not only for their personal fitness goals but also to raise funds (over $1.2 million) and awareness for a range of charities. By joining Run for a Reason, you can make a difference in the community while enjoying a fun and motivating race experience.

Half Marathon

Run for a Reason

5. Bridge to Brisbane

25,205 finishers in 2023 (including 20,276 in the 10km)

The Bridge to Bridge is a popular running event held in Brisbane, offering participants a scenic and challenging race along the Brisbane River. This annual event features two distance options: 10km and 4.5km. The course takes participants across the city’s iconic bridges and through its picturesque riverside parks, providing stunning views of the skyline and waterfront. Known for its friendly and supportive atmosphere, the Bridge to Bridge event encourages community participation and fosters a sense of camaraderie among runners. With its blend of urban and natural landscapes, this race offers a unique and enjoyable experience.

10km

Bridge to Brisbane

6. Gold Coast Marathon

21,743 finishers in 2023 across 6 events (including 9,264 in the half marathon)

The Gold Coast Marathon, held over two exciting days, is one of Australia’s premier running events, drawing thousands of participants from around the globe. Set against the stunning backdrop of Queensland’s Gold Coast, this event offers a range of distances to suit all runners, including the marathon, half marathon, 10km, and shorter family-friendly races. The flat and scenic course, renowned for its potential to set personal bests, takes runners along the picturesque coastline, providing breathtaking ocean views. With its well-organised race logistics, enthusiastic crowd support, and vibrant atmosphere, the Gold Coast Marathon promises a memorable experience for all participants.

Marathon

Gold Coast Marathon

7. Run for the Kids

16,620 finishers in 2023 across 2 events (8,402 in the long course)

Run for the Kids is a beloved charity event in Melbourne that combines fitness with philanthropy, attracting thousands of participants each year. Organised to support the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, this event offers various course options, including a long course of 14.4km and a shorter course of 4.7km. The scenic routes take runners through some of Melbourne’s most iconic locations, including the city streets, Docklands, and picturesque parks. Known for its festive and family-friendly atmosphere, Run for the Kids encourages participants of all ages to join in the fun and make a difference. The sense of community and purpose, coupled with the excitement of running for a great cause, makes this event a highlight on Melbourne’s running calendar.

Other Distance

Run for the Kids

8. Perth City to Surf

15,818 finishers in 2023 across 2 events (including 11,059 in the 12km)

The Perth City to Surf is one of Western Australia’s most iconic running events, drawing thousands of participants each year. Whether you’re an elite athlete, a casual runner, or someone looking to enjoy a day of fitness with friends and family, this event offers something for everyone. The event starts in the heart of Perth, winding through scenic city streets and picturesque parks, before culminating at the beautiful City Beach. Participants get to experience the vibrant atmosphere of the city along with stunning ocean views as they complete their run.

New Other Distance

Perth City to Surf

9. Run Melbourne

14,694 finishers in 2023 across 3 events (6,236 in the half marathon)

Run Melbourne is a vibrant and inclusive running event that takes over the streets of Melbourne each winter, drawing thousands of participants keen to embrace the city’s dynamic atmosphere. This event offers a range of distances, including a half marathon, 10km, and 5km, making it suitable for runners of all abilities. The scenic course winds through Melbourne’s iconic landmarks, such as Federation Square, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Yarra River, offering runners picturesque views and a unique urban experience. Known for its energetic and supportive atmosphere, Run Melbourne encourages participants to set personal goals and support local charities, fostering a strong sense of community spirit. Early registration is recommended to secure your place in this highly anticipated event and to join in the celebration of fitness and philanthropy.

5km

Run Melbourne

10. Sydney Half Marathon

11,489 finishers across 2 events in 2023 (including 8,866 in the half marathon)

The Sydney Half Marathon is a highly anticipated event that combines the scenic beauty of Sydney. This half marathon offers runners a well-organised race, complete with hydration stations, professional timing, and enthusiastic spectators cheering them on. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or new to the sport, the Sydney Half Marathon promises an unforgettable and rewarding race day experience.

Half Marathon

Sydney Half Marathon

Top 10 Largest Running Events in 2023

#EventRunners
1Sydney City2Surf68,869
2Sydney Marathon Festival34,234
3Melbourne Marathon Festival30,848
4Run for a Reason28,289
5Bridge to Bridge25,205
6Gold Coast Marathon21,743
7Run for the Kids16,620
8Perth City to Surf15,818
9Run Melbourne14,694
10Sydney Half Marathon11,489

There’s hundreds of running events across Australia – check them out on our running calendar.



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