Marathon Musings

Should I, could I or can I walk a marathon? And what is the Canberra Walking Festival marathon like? These are questions we are frequently asked.

A marathon is 42.2km or 26.2 miles, which is an awfully long way, even when driving! Nevertheless, completing a marathon is on many people’s bucket list, and it is certainly achievable with prior preparation.

The Canberra Walking Festival offers the opportunity to complete a marathon in a non-competitive environment, with friendly walkers from around the world. These are some of the things you should know if you are considering the marathon distance at the 2018 Canberra Walking Festival:

  • You do need to prepare yourself for the distance. We have a suggested training program that you may wish to use. This takes up to 18 weeks, depending on your prior fitness level, so if you haven’t prepared yourself by now, you probably need to think about next year’s marathon!
  • No marathon is easy, but the 2018 marathon is the easiest marathon course we have offered in the 12 year history of the event, whereas the 2017 marathon was the hardest:
    2018: 42.2km with 249m of ascent over the route, but no significant climbs
    2017: 44km (so longer than a true marathon) and 687m of ascent, including 4 significant climbs across the route.
  • The marathon route has a variety of surfaces, but is mostly on shared use paths around Lake Burley Griffin. You will explore a few new areas that we have not covered in past years on any route.
  • All walkers are asked to finish by 4pm, primarily so that our checkpoint volunteers finish in a reasonable time. This gives you 8.5 hours.
  • The 2018 marathon is in two halves, and you return to the Albert Hall at the mid-way point. This offers a few new options this year:
    There is a cut-off for the first half. You need to complete this by 11:45am.
    You can collect something for lunch before starting the second half of the marathon course – there are limited opportunities for food along the second half of the course.
    Walkers entering the half-marathon have the option of walking the first half of the marathon (early start) or second half of the marathon (later start).
  • At 11:45am our sweep walker will start walking the second half of the course and removing the route signs and closing down the checkpoints, so you will not be able to continue if you get to the half way point after this time.
  • If you miss the cut-off time to continue (or if you choose to stop at the half way point), you will be given credit for walking a half marathon.
  • When you finish the marathon, you will get a special medal to commemorate your achievement. And if you come back on Sunday to walk any distance you will also earn the 2018 two day walker medal. (Note: IML walkers need to complete minimum qualifying distances on both days for the IML stamp – see IML page for further details).

More information about walking at the 2018 Canberra Walking Festival will be sent to all registered walkers prior to the festival weekend, and this information will also be posted on the Canberra Walking Festival page on the website. If you have any questions about the marathon, please feel free to post a comment below.

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