LOCAL WINNER: Justin Knight-Gray came in first in the 10.5km Honeyeater trail run. S
LOCAL WINNER: Justin Knight-Gray came in first in the 10.5km Honeyeater trail run. S Claudia Alp

Local comes first in inaugural 10.5km Honeyeater trail run

TRAIL runners from all over Australia congregated at the Airlie Beach Lagoon on Sunday for the 12th Annual Run the Great Whitsunday Trail event featuring the inaugural 10.5km Honeyeater run.

Run the Great Whitsunday Trail had been cancelled in 2017 due to the aftermath of tropical Cyclone Debbie, but returned strong than ever with a new event and trail runners from all over.

The strong Whitsunday sun shone down on more than 100 athletes as they participated across three events on the weekend, the ultra 57.4km, the standard 28.7km and the Honeyeater trail, which ended up being 10.5km, rather than the initial 9km expected.

Representatives came from Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Central and South East Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand to run the iconic trail as well as visiting runners from overseas including France.

Local runner Justin Knight-Gray was first across the finish heading 28 runners in the 10.5km Honeyeater trail at 1:01:14, followed by Kylie Champion at 1:09:15.

Townsville athlete Ben Cooper made it over the line ahead of 74 runners in the standard 28.7km from Brandy Creek to Airlie Lagoon, completing the run at 2:22:42 with Peter Moore coming a close second at 2:23:25.

Luke Pryor from Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, was the overall winner out of 15 in the ultra 57.4km trail run from Airlie Lagoon to Brandy Creek and back with a total time of 6:06:20, followed by Dominique Ryan at 6:32:42.

The Honeyeater event was added for the first time this year to encourage new trail runners to the team and Run Whitsundays Event Manager Wendy Downes said the run did just that, despite being slightly longer than anticipated.

"It certainly increased the attendance as well as making the event more successful,” Ms Downes said.

"It will continue for future events '10.5km Honeyeater Challenge' and we apologise to those runners who ran a little further than they expected. It's all part of the challenge.

"The event is an attraction to trail runners all over Australia, and is also promoted overseas.

"The point of difference in the Whitsundays is the wide variety of tours on offer, including Whitehaven Beach, Great Barrier Reef, sailing, diving and and the whales.

Why wouldn't runners want to not only run, but have a few days holiday at the same time, bringing family and friends with them?”

Run Whitsundays would like to thank the volunteers and SES who were guiding and motivating the runners as they came through as well as to sponsors and supporters who make the event happen each year.

9km Honeyeater

-Overall KNIGHT-GRAY, Justin Time 1:01:14

-Female CHAMPION, Kylie

-20-29 years WEBB, Laura 1:18:38

-30-39 years CHAMPION, Kylie 1:09:15

-40-49 years OBORNE, Jodie 1:18:00

-50-59 years DRUMMOND, MADONNA 1:42:39

-60-69 years NOIRE, Dominique 1:40:11

-Male KNIGHT-GRAY, Justin Time 1:01:14

-20-29 years ACKERMAN, Todd 1:16:39

-30-39 years SPARGO, Chris 1:16:05

-40-49 years KNIGHT-GRAY, Justin Time 1:01:14

-50-59 years WICKHAM, Ian 1:37:00

-60-69 years VOCKE, Peter 1:36:59

28.7 Standard

-Overall COOPER, Ben 2:22:42

-Female BURGESS, Emma 2:45:46

-18-29 years HADLEY, Ayla 4:07:20

-30-39 years BURGESS, Emma 2:45:46

-40-49 years OLIVER, Donna 3:06:22

-50-59 years SHORT, Jose’ 3:08:56

-60-69 years MARTIN, Sylvie 3:45:27

-Male COOPER, Ben 2:22:42

-18-29 years THRUPP, Guy 2:56:54

-30-39 years COOPER, Ben 2:22:42

-40-49 years HENDERSON, Roland 2:44:51

-50-59 years MOORE, Peter 2:23:25

-60-69 years STANTON, Geoff 3:44:44

-70+ years CLOSE, David 4:01:38

57.4 Ultra

-Overall PRYOR, Luke 6:06:20

-Female RYAN, Dominique 6:32:42

-18-29 years RYAN, Dominique 6:32:42

-30-39 years MCCARTHY, Kristy 8:29:39

-40-49 years KIERNAN, Cheryl 7:39:04

-Male PRYOR, Luke 6:06:20

-18-29 years SALINOVICH, Matthew 6:57:00

-30-39 years PRYOR, Luke 6:06:20

-40-49 years YOUD, Shane 9:08:00

-50-59 years KILKELLY, John 7:53:19