Australia Day Running Festival - 2015 Wrap

27th January 2015

What a great way to start Australia Day -  have a run or walk, do something active and positive for your health and charity. Every Australia Day for the past 9 years we have conducted the Jane McGrath Classic (JMC), a fun run to help raise money for the McGrath Foundation. Four years ago we combined it with our other event, the Wanda X-Treme 6 and Corporate Relay to make up our running festival.

This year’s Australia Day Running Festival was awesome. We had great numbers in The Wanda Xtreme 6, and a crack field in the open men’s and women’s categories. And we introduced the the new Wanda X-Treme 6 Teams Relay category, which received 15  x 2 person teams. The Jane McGrath Classic numbers were slightly down due to the rainy and cold conditions, particularly with the usual families that come along on the day. The blue ribbon event, The Corporate Relay brought, in 5 teams and capped off a great day. What was and is most pleasing for us is the day always brings out great racing, participation and a fantastic atmosphere.

Australia’s National Anthem started the day, and then our resident Olympian and current national 10k track Champion Eloise Wellings gave a pre-race speech and fired the starters gun for the JMC - that’s how we roll.

Thanks all for coming.


The Jane McGrath Classic - 2.5km Soft Sand race

Now in it’s 9th edition, we missed many of the regular families on the day due to the rain, but as always there was a great atmosphere around it. Won this year in the men’s bytop Wanda SLSC Senior runners Rory Darkins (1st), John Woods (2nd) and National junior XCountry runner Kai Hammond in 3rd. With now 2-time Champion Chloe Gentle taking out the women’s ahead of  XCountry & Surf Lifesaving star on her injury comeback Georgia McGrath with Rebecca Monroe in 3rd place.


It’s a real community event, which celebrates our scenic coastal area and helps us do something good for charity . Its is also an important race for us, as it raises money for The McGrath Foundation in the fight against breast cancer , the disease that took both Jane and my mother Helen. Thanks all for coming and helping us remember them.


The Wanda X-Treme 6 - 6km Soft Sand Race (including 8 Wanda sand hills)

This 6km smash up pays homage to our magnificent natural location and takes in an all-soft-sand course with a number of picturesque and somewhat steep sand hills and is for those who want to challenge themselves.

We have some soft sand whippets that fly across the course like our winners Ali Najem and Melissa Campbell and then we have families and Average Joe’s like Scott Clancy just happy to finish the challenge and be known as a Wanda X-tremist! Due to the rain and firmer wet sand it was a fast pace this year, and this race always brings some fantastic finishes.

This year we had a cracking race again with World Title 2km Silver medalist and Australian U19 2km Champ Ali Najem from Wanda surf Club making it third time lucky with a win. Ali had a great battle with mate and top junior track and mountain runner Hamish Wallace coming in 2nd, and Red Bull Dune Dusters winner from a few weeks back, a couple of hundred meters back Stu Adams in 3rd.   In the women’s there was a strong field, with local 38 year old mother of 3 Melissa Campbell taking it out from start to finish in a top battle with highly credentialed marathoner, 10k runner and previous multiple Bondi Barefoot champion Gretta Truscott. A few hundred meters back current Australian Mountain Running Champion Audrey Amiya Hall in 3rd place.

First in the new 2-person Teams category were Lara Saunders & Laura James (5-time winner of the Wanda Xtreme 6).

A tough, but great fun race with an awesome atmosphere -well done and congratulations to all that took on the challenge and succeeded.


The Corporate Relay

This 4x4oom person relay is a sight to behold. The last 100m for each runner over the soft sand is a torture test and has brought great men and women to their knees over the years. This year it’s gone to a whole new level, with off-season trades of runners, bribes and even next year there’ll be a player draft. Controversy rained this year as the immensely talented team from Jock Athletic wore NASA designed one piece running Skins, bought from K-Mart, in their win. 

A great fun event with all team owners having to run the last leg. Thanks again to our great team owners and sponsors of that event, where the funds raised go The McGrath Foundation & Wanda Surf Club. Another great battle, results below.

Check out the Corporate Relay Video


  • Jock Athletic
  • Crust Cronulla
  • BDO
  • Warren Saunders Insurance Brockers
  • So Fresh Cronulla Juice Bar



  • Jock Athletic
  • Crust Cronulla
  • So Fresh Cronulla Juice Bar


Next installment profiles our sponsors and volunteers. Stay Tuned.