A BOUTIQUE marathon through some of the world’s most pristine and unspoilt wilderness has enlisted a rising Olympic star to help put it on the map.
The Kangaroo Island Marathon is one of Australia’s newest long-distance events and is gearing up for its second running in late August.
Australian Olympian Jess Trengove, who will run for gold in the Women’s Marathon in Rio just days before the August 26 event, is the official ambassador of the Kangaroo Island race.
The 42km South Australian race is limited to a field of 500 and will take competitors along the island’s rugged southwest coast and through the pristine Flinders Chase National Park, which includes the iconic Remarkable Rocks, Admiral’s Arch and Cape du Couedic lighthouse.
Trengove is a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and is currently training for the Rio Olympics in the United States.
“The rolling hills means this race isn't about fast times, but it's about running amongst the natural beauty of one of Australia's best kept secrets,” she said.
“It's one of the only marathons in the world where you will literally be overtaken by a kangaroo."
Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest offshore island, is about 150km southwest of the South Australian capital Adelaide.
It has about 500km of coastline, native bushland, incredible rock formations and abundant native Australian wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and echidnas. The island is also known for its pure fresh produce including seafood, honey, grain and dairy products.
Race Director Nathan Godfrey said the event was the perfect opportunity for international runners to disconnect from everyday life and experience some of the best landscapes Australia had to offer.
“It’s not just a destination built around the location and the race route but it’s an immersive experience. Last year we even had some kangaroos bouncing along with some of our runners on the course,” he said.
“It’s truly an international event and so far there are seven countries that will be represented at the marathon, Belgium, Finland, America, England, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand.
“It's a great honour to have Jessica Trengove as our new ambassador. We couldn't be prouder to have a local South Australian heading up this event and we wish her all the best in Rio.”
Last year’s inaugural race featured 98 competitors. This year’s event is expected to attract about 120. The island location and national park track limit the maximum number of runners to 500.
Trengove will attend the event, just five days after the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, to speak with competitors at the start of the race.
Godfrey said he hoped Trengove would compete in the Kangaroo Island Marathon in the future.
“The message for us is to encourage people to meet personal goals, build friendships and enjoy a very Australian experience,” he said.
“It will definitely tick off all the boxes of an adventure tourism event.”
The proposed ultra marathon event would utilise the new wilderness trail currently under construction at Flinders Chase National Park.
The 2016 Kangaroo Island Marathon begins on August 27. Registrations are open at the event website.