Kangaroo Island Marathon
By Charlotte Osman
Kangaroo Island isn’t new for me - I have family on the eastern end of the island, so I visit fairly often. However, competing in the Kangaroo Island Marathon is a whole different story!
I first ran the KI Half Marathon in 2017 through the incredible landscape of the Flinders Chase National Park. This involved running over rolling hills of the famous Cape du Couedic Road that cuts through dense scrub and the birdsong was truly serene, despite what my legs told me.
I may not be a fast runner, but it didn’t matter. At times it felt as though it was just me on the road in this beautiful and tranquil setting. It’s not a busy and packed running event like the New York Marathon where you have thousands of people competing and runners start in several waves. Instead, you all start together and instead of being in a crowd, you’re surrounded by the sounds of nature. As I was running, it was like an active mediation.
The marathon is set on a challenging route. I would say some runners will love it and some won’t… but it was a fantastic challenge for me and I often tell people in my running group about the experience. It differed from other big marathons, as there were no crowds of cheering spectators scattered along the course, providing vocal support that gives you extra energy, but there was still a wonderful sense of community.
Some of my best memories of competing in 2017 were of the incredible camaraderie between competitors. Runners from the full marathon course travelling in the opposite direction gave me “high 5’s” and cheered me on with kind words of encouragement. When I slowed right down, they checked in on me as they ran past, even though they were focused on their own race - I still get goosebumps when I think about it now.
The volunteers were incredible and really supportive throughout the race. They were positioned at regular aid stations along the course, handing out drinks and providing so much enthusiasm and motivation that was much needed. Everyone was great and it was really the difference between a big marathon and a smaller one, with a community feel.
In 2021, it will be much different. The island has gone through the worst bushfires, with homes and livelihoods wrecked, as well as half the island’s flora and fauna affected. But KI is resilient - the islanders are a determined bunch and will never be beaten.
The bush is just as stubborn - it may have been burned but it will come back, tougher and stronger than before.
I’ve seen the photos of the scorched earth and heard firsthand from my CFS volunteer sister about the devastation on the western side. But I’ve also seen the regrowth - the bursts of vivid green amongst the barren blackness. The island is fighting back – indefatigable.
If you have the time I’d recommend staying on to see the island. Explore the Flinders Chase National Park, where you’ll really appreciate the vastness and tranquillity after running through the area. I also love the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse and surrounding areas, as well as the little town of Penneshaw.
In May 2021, I’ll be running through the incredible landscapes of Kangaroo Island again - breathing in the clean air, the empty skies and the sounds of the bush. I can’t wait!
Register now for the 2021 Kangaroo Island Marathon
The next race date for the KI Marathon will be Saturday 1st May 2021. This world-class marathon will take you through the south-west corner of the Flinders Chase National Park. Runners will navigate the famous undulating Cape du Couedic road and loop past the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, Admirals Arch and the iconic Remarkable Rocks.
Register now to participate as the event is capped to 500 runners. Sign up to complete in the full marathon (42km), half-marathon (21km) or the 10km course.
We also recommend planning your trip in advance. See SeaLink Kangaroo Island for your ferry travel and a range of accommodation properties, from holiday homes by the beach, hotel accommodation or perhaps even a secluded cabin surrounded by wildlife.
Looking for places to visit while on the island? Take a few days to relax and recharge after the marathon and see the sights of KI. See SeaLink’s 30 reasons to visit KI. See you there!