Runners set blistering pace as 500km Team Endurance Relay kicks off

Big-hearted charity runners have set a blistering pace at the start of the 31st 500km Team Endurance Relay in Mount Gravatt, Brisbane this morning.

More than 350 athletes from 16 Brisbane and Gold Coast teams signed up for the gruelling endurance running event, which first began back in 1980 and has raised more than $700,000 for Endeavour Foundation over the years.

By the time runners sprinted away from the starting line at 5am today, they had raised a staggering $65,000.

Over the course of the three-day event, 16 teams will run from Brisbane to Fernvale via the Scenic Rim. After this morning’s sprint start at Mount Gravatt, they will run through Beaudesert, Boonah, Warwick, Killarney, Toowoomba and Gatton before crossing the finish line in Fernvale on Sunday 24 November.

Race Director Phil Hungerford has described the 500km Team Endurance Relay as one of the toughest events runners encounter, and this year looks set to be even more challenging with the addition of the new Hero Leg – a gruelling 10km uphill race in Killarney.

In another first for the event, the Warwick 5km Criterium, which will take place tomorrow, Saturday 23 November, will be opened up to members of the public who want to test themselves against the 500km champions.

Teams are sweating it out for a range of titles including Highest Fundraiser and, of course, the much-coveted Overall Winner trophy.

But it’s not just about speed – because the more money a team raises for Endeavour Foundation, the more time is taken off their finishing time.

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.