Canberra runners hope the revived The Canberra Times Marathon Festival will help them rediscover their long-distance mojo when the event makes a post-coronavirus comeback next month.
Festival organisers expect their rescheduled and COVID-safe event to be one of the most anticipated races in Australia since the pandemic shut down events around the world last year.
More than 90 per cent of the 7000-available entries have already been filled, with Canberra veteran group the Griffins to join elite and amateur athletes on April 11.
Event director Julie Tedde was confident the race would go ahead without disruption, despite having to reschedule twice last year and then hosting a COVID-19 virtual event.
"The race will be one of the largest and [most] anticipated in Australia since COVID-19 hit," Ms Tedde said.
"Last year a 5000-plus event was too high of a risk, there were so many unknowns ... We are very comfortable of where we are in our planning."
An application to host the event has been lodged with ACT Health, but a final permit isn't expected to be finalised until closer to the race.
We trained three times and then on the third time, a few weeks out, they cancelled it. They did a virtual one but is wasn't as much fun and you can't count it. I lost my mojo, it just didn't feel right.Griffins runner Ruth Baussmann
Members of Canberra's longstanding running club, the Griffins, are particularly enthusiastic to run in this year's race. Griffins coordinator Ruth Baussmann has participated in 18 Canberra marathons.
"We were disappointed [last year]. Really disappointed," she said. "I can't wait. I'm really happy that we are actually having an event.
"We trained three times and then on the third time, a few weeks out, they cancelled it. They did a virtual one but is wasn't as much fun and you can't count it. I lost my mojo, it just didn't feel right."
The Griffins are a group of runners who have participated in 10 or more Canberra marathons and was founded in 1994 by runner Rob Ey. There are now around 180 members of the club.
The Canberra Marathon was one of many races across the globe that were either rescheduled or canceled last year due to the global pandemic.
The Boston and New York Marathons were cancelled and held virtually instead, while Berlin cancelled its event completely.
Runners have rushed to get a spot in the Canberra race, with 6200 participants already locked in.
This includes 220 people who have signed up for the Ultra 50km race, 1600 for the marathon and 2500 for the half marathon. The maximum capacity for the race is between 7000-7200 participants.
Tickets purchased by participants were automatically transferred to the rescheduled date, and a complimentary virtual event was also held late last year.
"We want to really thank Sole Motive and The Canberra Times for putting this event on. We've all been starved of big events and we're all really excited," President of YMCA Runners Clubs Canberra, Peter Thomson said.
Registrations for this year's event close on April 8.