SMILES, sweat and only a few tears; the third annual Airlie Beach Running Festival has once again outstripped expectations.
Feet first pounded the pavement on Saturday afternoon when more than 160 primary school kids got things rolling in the Sea Star Kids Fun Run.
From there things just got bigger with a record breaking 460 participants braving the cold on Sunday morning for the competitive events.
Organiser Wendy Downes said the festival had more than doubled in size since last year.
“At 620 total entries, attendance was up by a whopping 62 per cent,” she said.
The festival has become quite a draw card for fitness fans all over the nation and even the world, with runners from every state in Australia and 11 countries turning out – the economic benefits of which cannot be denied.
“This is now a truly international event from which the community benefits through visitors and their families spending in accommodation, tours, restaurants, cafes and retail,” Mrs Downes said.
With the Tourism and Events Queensland grants already secured for the 2016 event, the festival looks set to reach even greater heights next year.
Mrs Downes thanked all those who helped make the 2015 race a success.
“We would like to thank every one; our volunteers on the day, the Whitsunday Running Club committee and organisers, and our sponsors,” she said.