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Great Ocean Road Running Festival

Every year, thousands of people cross the globe to experience Australia’s most stunning running event and see the iconic beauty of the Great Ocean Road.

Athletes of every age and ability come to challenge themselves in this glorious environment where the ocean, cliffs, and road unite. With nine distances across two days, this is the only running event each year that closes off the Road from cars so you can safely race along the famous trail.

Great Ocean Road Running Festival – 2024 Dates & Entry Prices

The Great Ocean Road Running Festival is held in a beautiful and unique area of Victoria, Australia, on the Southern Ocean. Each year, the event attracts many athletes from around the world, all eager to participate in this challenging and pristine environment.

With nine distances to choose from, 60km to 1.5km, roads to trails, walks to runs – there is an event for everyone! It’s not all about the run, though; immerse yourself in the whole Festival experience, including glamping, yoga, live music, kite flying, and so much more!

Anyone travelling along this road by car would not be able to experience the absolute serenity and, at times, the wilderness experience that you, as a runner, can. As you run along this course, with no traffic at all, you can almost hear the waves calling your name. The only sound you will hear is your fellow competitors’ soft thud of footsteps.

If you are driving down to Apollo Bay via the Great Ocean Road, you can see kangaroos usually lounging on the Golf Course at Anglesea – worth a brief stopover on the route. Koalas are usually ‘snoozing’ during the day high up in certain gum trees along the Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road Marathon (44km)

Finally, tick it off your bucket list or make it an annual event and run the most iconic stretch of road in Australia at the Great Ocean Road Marathon (44km). This truly is Australia’s most stunning running event. Experience surreal views and stunning landscapes as you wind your way along the wild and windswept Southern Ocean.

Starting in Lorne, try spot Koalas as you make your way down the Great Ocean Road through Wye River, Kennett River and Skenes Creek before finishing in Apollo Bay… You’ll be pinching yourself the whole time.

Brooks Half Marathon

Start your journey in the gorgeous, little seaside town of Kennett River and make your way along the iconic Great Ocean Road. Whether you’ve signed up for the 23km run or the 23km walk, experience the same beauty of Australia’s lush forests and picturesque coastlines on your own two feet before crossing that finish line in Apollo Bay.

Ultra Marathon

This is the ultimate challenge for the endurance athlete. Make your way from Lorne along the renowned Great Ocean Road, then head inland through the flourishing forest before returning to glorious ocean views. Completing such a unique and breathtaking 60km course all on your own strength is simply one of the most empowering feelings there is. You’ll be feeling unstoppable as you run through the finishing arch in Apollo Bay.

All runners considering the Ultra Marathon please understand that this is a challenge you must be up for physically and mentally. Please ensure that you adjust your training to suit this course and can run the 60km within the event cut-off time (6.5 hours) before registering for this event.

It’s strongly recommended that you look at the course elevation. An elevation map for the Ultra Marathon can be found below.

14km Paradise Run

Get in touch with nature and make your way to Paradise on foot or wheels. Start by the ocean on the main street of Apollo Bay and head inland across quiet farmland on your journey to Paradise Picnic Reserve. Dip into the Great Otway National Park before turning, looping your way back, and finishing at the Apollo Bay Hotel – where you can stay for the rest of the day!

SriLankan Airlines 6km Run

The Sri Lankan Airlines 6km Run is the ideal challenge for running rookies of all ages! Starting and finishing in Apollo Bay, you will experience complete serenity as you run inland through peaceful countryside. Get the whole family involved, take on the challenge together, and earn your well-deserved Great Ocean Road Running Festival Medal.

Great Ocean Road Walk

If running just isn’t your thing, the 5km/10km Walk is perfect for those who want to join in on the Festival’s fun. Starting in Lorne, follow your way along the Great Ocean Road and decide on the day whether you want to turn around at the 2.5km mark (walking a total of 5km) or continue on and turn around at the 5km mark (walking a total of 10km).

This exclusive opportunity allows you to walk safely along the vehicle-free Great Ocean Road. Soak in the breathtaking Southern Ocean views and fresh air. A calming and rejuvenating walk for all ages!

1.5km Kids’ Gallop

Get the kids involved and sign them up for the 1.5km Kids’ Gallop, parents are welcome to accompany at no extra cost. Start at the Apollo Bay Hotel and follow the Great Ocean Road up to the Apollo Bay Coastal Reserve before turning around and finishing where you started. It’s the perfect opportunity to excite the kids about setting a challenge and being active. Plus, they’ll be the coolest kid in school when they show off the official Great Ocean Road Running Festival medal they’ve earned.

High Sierra 12km Trail Run

Start in Lorne and run along the iconic Great Ocean Road before following the Tramway Track into the Great Otway National Park. Get in touch with nature as you take on forest-filled tracks of eucalyptus and fern towards Phantom Falls. Trail back along St Georges River before returning to the Lorne Foreshore to cross that finishing arch.

6.5km Trail Run

Start in Lorne and run along the iconic Great Ocean Road before delving into the Great Otway National Park. Run with scenic views of the Southern Ocean towards Teddy’s Lookout before looping around Tramway Track and returning to the Lorne Foreshore to cross that Finish Line.

In 2024, the Festival will return with a weekend-long celebration of running, music, and wellness hosted in the towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay. Whether you want to entertain the family at our kite festival or relax at a yoga session by the beach followed by an afternoon of live music, we have it all. Just make sure you have your Race Bib on you to gain access to all FREE activities.

Apollo Bay Festival hub

Apollo Bay is home to the Start and finish lines of all Saturday events and the Finish lines of the Sunday marathon events – but that’s not all!

Check out the Festival Hub located on the Apollo Bay foreshore for deals on running products, sponsor activations, activities for the whole family, plus more! You will also find the Merchandise Store where you can pick up some Official Event Merchandise.

Visit the Race Week Office in Apollo Bay to pick up your bib, change/register for an event, or for any questions you may have!

Lorne Festival Hub

Participants will be able to get involved in a range of activities at the Lorne Festival Hub, located on the Lorne foreshore. They can participate in a free yoga class, head to the Lorne Hotel for some live music, or get the kids active at the inflatable sports park.

Lorne will host the start lines of the 60km Ultra and 44km Marathon on Sunday, May 21, and now the start and finish lines of the Lorne Hotel Great Ocean Road Walk and NEW 6.5km and 12km Trail Runs.

Whether you’re walking 5km, running your first marathon, entertaining the family at the kite festival, or relaxing at a yoga session by the beach, take part in the ultimate weekend of running, wellness and leisure your way!

Getting There

Upon arrival at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne there are several ways to get to Apollo Bay and Lorne:

  • The airport has shuttle buses to the city and a taxi service.
  • Hire car rental from the airport via Europcar or Budget is available at Tullamarine (Melbourne) Airport. Please be aware that there will be road closures in affect.
  • Melbourne central has a variety of transport options to the next largest city, Geelong, situated on Corio Bay. Geelong is the ’gateway’ to the Otway region of Victoria and its coastline.
  • Southern Cross Railway Station in Melbourne runs regular services daily to Geelong.

Race Day Bus Information

The start line for the Great Ocean Road Marathon and the Ultra Marathon is in Lorne, and the start line for the Brooks Half Marathon is in Kennett River. As the Great Ocean Road will be closed to non-event traffic between Lorne and Skenes Creek from 7am to 2:30pm on Sunday, May 19th, please be aware of the Bus, Park, and Drive options to get you to and from the start and finish lines.

Shuttle buses will operate on Sunday, 19th May, for Ultra Marathon, Marathon and Brooks Half Marathon participants only, from 5:45am (this is not a service for spectators).

This morning service will run between Apollo Bay, Kennett River, and Lorne (departing Apollo Bay and Lorne at 5:45am).
There are two departure points in Apollo Bay (Main St) with one bus heading for Lorne and the other bus for Kennett River, so be sure to make sure you are at the right one. The afternoon service will depart from Apollo Bay (Thomson St) and return along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne. Please note the final bus will depart Apollo Bay at 2:30pm.

You will need to select your departure point and pay for the bus during your online registration. Bus tickets are $12.50 each way. If you do not purchase a bus ticket at the time of registration, you can log into your Active ‘My Events Portal‘ and purchase a ticket at a later date.

Half Marathon Drive and Drop

If you wish to drive and drop a participant at the Half Marathon start line in Kennett River, you MUST be off the Great Ocean Road by 7am sharp. To be off the roads by 7am, you must have started your drop-off journey by 6am.

There will be drive-and-drop stops (2 minutes max) at Kennett River for cars to drop off Half Marathon participants and continue to their destination. Whether you are returning to Lorne or Apollo Bay after the drop-off, you MUST be off the Great Ocean Road by 7am sharp.

From midday, the road will start to reopen for Northbound traffic toward Lorne as the race progresses. The Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Apollo Bay will be completely reopened by 2:30pm.

Sunday Road Closures

The Great Ocean Road will be completely closed between Lorne and Skenes Creek (traffic will be under escort between Skenes Creek and Apollo Bay) from 7am on Sunday May 19. A detour route is marked in yellow on the map below.

Although it’s strongly encouraged that all spectators to be in Apollo Bay before the road closes at 7am, it is possible to have someone drive you to the start of the marathon in Lorne, watch you start and then drive to the finish at Apollo Bay. Your driver having watched you start the marathon must immediately then travel via the inland route of Deans Marsh, Barwon Downs, Forrest and Skenes Creek to the finish at Apollo Bay.

Leaving the Event Sunday from Apollo Bay by Car

The Great Ocean Road will be closed between 7am and 2:30pm. It’s recommended that competitors who wish to depart Apollo Bay by car after their event head South along the Great Ocean Road through Marengo, Lavers Hill, Ferguson, and Colac or wait until 2:30pm for the Great Ocean Road to reopen.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Melbourne Point website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having lived in Melbourne most of his life), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.

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What date is the Great Ocean Road Running Festival?
What time is the Great Ocean Road Running Festival?
Saturday, 18 May 2024
Great Ocean Road Real Estate Holiday 1.5km Kids Gallop: 10:30am at Apollo Bay
SriLankan Airlines 6km Run: 11:30am at Apollo Bay
Cocobella 14km Paradise Run: 1:00pm at Apollo Bay

Sunday, 19 May 2024
Ultra Marathon (60km): 8:00am from Lorne to Apollo Bay
Marathon (44km): 8:00am from Lorne to Apollo Bay
Brooks Half Marathon (23km): 8:00am from Kennett River to Apollo Bay
Great Ocean Road Walk (5km/10km): 8:30am at Lorne

Please visit our website for more information on the Great Ocean Road Running Festival.
Where is the Great Ocean Road Running Festival located?
What is the Great Ocean Road Running Festival address?
Including: - Apollo Bay Hotel - Lorne SLSC Car Park - Kennett River, Apollo Bay , VIC

Please visit our website for more information on the Great Ocean Road Running Festival.
What are the Great Ocean Road Running Festival entry prices?
Ultra Marathon (60km): $170
Marathon (44km): $165
Brooks Half Marathon (23km): $150
Great Ocean Road Walk (5km/10km)
Adult: $40
Youth: $30
Great Ocean Road Real Estate Holiday 1.5km Kids Gallop: $20
SriLankan Airlines 6km Run
Adult: $60
Youth: $45
Cocobella 14km Paradise Run: $75

Please visit our website for more information on the Great Ocean Road Running Festival.

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