9 questions to discover a marathon : Pichi Richi Marathon

28 Sep 2008 16:17
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

Since 2007, the Pichi Richi Marathon Committee, created by volunteers from Port Augusta and Quorn, has managed to keep the Pichi Richi alive. Christine Hill a member of the committee has kindly accepted to present us this Australian race.

Hello, on June 28th 2009, you’ll be organizing the Pichi Richi Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
The Pichi Richi Marathon is run between Port Augusta and Quorn in regional South Australia. It runs through the Flinders Ranges which is a beautiful and scenic part of the South Australian Outback

How old is the marathon and why was it created in the first place?
We have just run the 27th marathon. It was originally started by the Port Augusta Road Runners Club when they formed in 1982.

In 1986 they incorporated the half marathon event and then in 1989 the half marathon walk was also made an official event. In 2000 the quarter marathon was also included as an event.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The route is quite challenging as it begins in Port Augusta and follows the main highway for approximately 8km and then turns to continue through Stirling and up to Quorn.

Approximately 19km into the marathon, runners take on the first hill and enter the Flinders Ranges. They then pass through the picturesque Pichi Richi Pass with its many hills and finally run down their last hill as they see the township of Quorn ahead of them.

The last 5km into Quorn are relatively easy and downhill.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We generally attract 300-400 runners across all events and around 30 in the marathon. The majority of our marathon runners compete in other marathons around Australia and a few have been to marathons around the world.

Pichi Richi Marathon start

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?
We also organise the half marathon walk and run and the quarter marathon walk/run which all finish at Quorn so everyone is present for the presentations.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
It is generally cool in the morning when events start (<10°C) and around 14-18°C and sunny through the day. Occasionally we have a sprinkling of rain and this year there was a head wind for runners.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
We hold a pasta night the night before the event for competitors to pack with carbohydrates and it is a good social night to get to meet other competitors and is generally finished between 9 and 10 PM so people can get a good night sleep.

We also have local volunteer groups and charities that set up food and drink stalls as the event finishes around lunchtime and children entertainment such as bouncing castles. This year we also had a craft and produce market and massages for the competitors. We provide a bus service as well for competitors to get back to their starting point where they left their cars.

The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Port Augusta before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
Port Augusta has numerous options for accomodation and eating, which is well priced.

We have Wadlata Outback Centre which is an interactive and educational museum about the area and where you can travel to, and maps and souvenirs.

The Arid Lands Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to go to see native plants and animals and has a nice little café where you can sit back and enjoy the scenery. There are also some tourist walks and drives around the town.

As you head towards Quorn, there is a fantastic restaurant called the Old Willows Brewery Restaurant which is amazing at that time of year with its log fire and warm meals. They also host the start of the quarter marathon and provide a delicious afternoon tea for competitors if they want to drop in on their way back to Port Augusta.

Quorn has many fantastic spots to visit such as gorges with their huge redgums and tranquil creeks and hills that are relaxing to climb with magnificent views of the surrounding area. There are also 4WD tours and camel rides available to those who are adventurous.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Pichi Richi Marathon?
The Pichi Richi Marathon is the most scenic and challeging marathon in Australia which still has that personal touch.

Thank you Christine

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