Gold Coast Beach Marathon with Legendary Ironwoman Hayley Bateup
The marathon is always one of the most exciting events at sporting showcases like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
This year the Gold Coast will host two international marathons, the first at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games; the second being the long-running — so to speak — annual Gold Coast Marathon weekend on 30 June – 1 July.
Still, there’s another, much more relaxing long-distance event that locals and visitors may enjoy. You don’t even need running shoes. Thongs will do, as well as a swimming costume, towel, sunscreen and beach umbrella.
Travel the coastline from the Queensland-New South Wales border to the Gold Coast Seaway and you’ll cover about 34 kilometres — just 8.2km shy of the length of an actual marathon — of beautiful Gold Coast beaches.
And who better to help us go the distance than Gold Coast surf ironwoman legend Hayley Bateup.
Over her illustrious sporting career, Hayley’s achievements include:
- three-time Coolangatta Gold champion (2005, 2006, 2008)
- Australian Ironwoman champion (2001)
- four-time Australian board champion (2001, 2003, 2005, 2009)
- winner of the gruelling 52km Molokai to Oahu Board Paddle in 2003
- five Australian board titles and more than 20 Australian gold medals
- And she retired from competition in 2013, Hayley’s Body Blitz personal fitness service has kept her both busy and close to her beloved ocean.
Meanwhile, Hayley and partner April Zekulich are further maintaining the beach connection as they raise sons Banks and Baxter to love, respect and enjoy the Gold Coast’s surf and sand.
So let’s join Hayley as she shares some of her career highlights, personal memories and insights, starting with perhaps her favourite beach in the world.
“I won the iconic Coolangatta Gold surf endurance event three times. Just saying the word “Coolangatta” reminds me of how special that place is in my heart. Also, the beaches in the area — Snapper Rocks, Kirra, Greenmount, Coolangatta itself — all offer something, from good banks and point breaks for the surfers to calmer water and good protection for families.”
“It’s where I live. It’s where we spent so much time as a family when I was little. My parents bought a beach house just 50 metres from the water. Currumbin is where I learned to surf, right out in front of my home. Later I bought my own property at Currumbin and it’s where April and I take our kids swimming. There’s the ocean, the more placid Currumbin Creek and any number of parks. Plus there’s great food and coffee. Currumbin has everything.”
“As a professional athlete, I spent such a big part of my life training at Burleigh. You can surf those beautiful barrels or you can paddle around in the rock pools. You can stroll through the National Park or you can lie on the beach and chill out. There is fine dining and you can grab a pizza. And is there anything better than Sunday at Burleigh with the family?”
“I was a member of the surf club here for five years and I feel such a part of it. Kurrawa Beach was also my favourite place to race because of the challenge of the big seas. Every ironman or ironwoman would tell you the same thing.”
“Northcliffe is where it all started for me. My mum Sally brought me down to join the Nippers. I was 12, a little older than normal for starting Nippers, but once I did there was no turning back. With the other Nippers, we used to sleep on the bunk beds at the surf club, just so we could be up bright and early to catch the first waves of the day. I spent 15 years with the Northcliffe club. Great memories.”
“My mum grew up at Main Beach, although she had to do her Bronze Medallion at Budd’s Beach because in those days the girls didn’t go into the surf. Back then, everyone wanted a tan so she would lather on suntan lotion. When I came along, attitudes and knowledge had changed and it was all about lathering on sunscreen. My other great memory of Main Beach is coming down every Wednesday for surfing lessons with my school, Keebra Park High.
“Many’s the time I’d be at The Spit, hooning around in a tinnie, riding the trawler waves, or paddling across the Seaway to go surfing on South Stradbroke Island. It’s such a great area with the ocean on one side, the Broadwater on the other and the parkland in between.”
In fact, there are many amazing beaches and parkland areas to choose from between the border and the Seaway. Think of Palm Beach, Tallebudgera, Nobby Beach, Mermaid Beach, Southport. And don’t forget famous Surfers Paradise itself.
But whichever beach you choose, Hayley’s advice is to be safe, swim between the flags, be respectful of the environment and, most of all, be happy to take part in the easiest of marathons – minus 8.2km – you’ll ever do.
To learn more about Hayley Bateup, visit hayleybateup.com.au