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Hundreds of runners are nursing sore legs after sprinting to the finish line of the 31st 500km Team Endurance Relay in Fernvale.
More than 350 runners from 16 Brisbane and Gold Coast teams braved searing heat, stormy weather and torrential rain over the course of the three-day race, which kicked off in Brisbane on Friday 22 November and finished on Sunday 24 November.
After a sprint start in Mount Gravatt, teams ran through Beaudesert, Rathdowney, Boonah, Warwick, Killarney, Greenmount, Toowoomba, Gatton and Lowood before racing across the finish line in Fernvale just ahead of a late afternoon storm on Sunday.
While the hilly course and wildly varying weather challenged runners, everyone still managed to finish with a smile after raising more than $67,000 for Endeavour Foundation – smashing last year’s fundraising total of just over $46,000.
The 500km Team Endurance Relay first began back in 1980 when a group of athletes ran from Tamworth to Brisbane for charity. It has raised almost $800,000 for Endeavour Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation supporting people with a disability in more than 3,700 placements from 230 locations throughout Queensland and in Sydney.
Participants start running at the break of dawn each day and keep going non-stop in a relay format until sunset. It’s the last event on the running calendar – which means runners are in prime condition and prepared to be tested physically and mentally by the challenging course and unforgiving Queensland summer heat.
Race Director Phil Hungerford has described the 500km Team Endurance Relay as one of the toughest events runners encounter, and this year it certainly lived up to its formidable reputation with the addition of the new Hero Leg – a 10km uphill sprint in Killarney.
Teams sweated it out for a range of titles including Highest Fundraiser and the much-coveted Overall Winner trophy. But it wasn’t just about speed – because the more money a team raises for Endeavour Foundation, the more time is taken off their finishing time.
The Overall Winner, once again, was Victory Sports from the Gold Coast, while the Highest Fundraiser was The Run Inn, raising more than $9,000.
Funds raised by the 500km Team Endurance Relay will go to Endeavour Foundation’s Sport and Recreation Project, which provides opportunities for people with a disability to lead active, healthy lives by taking part in physical recreational activities and joining mainstream community-based sporting organisations.
View photos from the 500km Team Endurance Relay on our Facebook page