Jackson Elliot claimed his third Byron Lighthouse running title.
Jackson Elliot claimed his third Byron Lighthouse running title.

Jackson takes Byron run

JACKSON ELLIOTT of Burleigh Heads yesterday claimed his third Byron Lighthouse running title in succession and even had time to admire the view.

Although exhausted by the energy-sapping course, which see runners tackle the sand and a combination of hard surfaces on a loop around the world-famous lighthouse, Elliott was still enthusiastic about his efforts.

“It is probably one of the most picturesque runs I have done all over Australia,” he said.
“But it is also one of the hardest with that sand thrown in there.

“It doesn’t matter how far in front you are, or how fit you are, there is no easy way to do it.
“With a hill like that and sand thrown in the middle it is just a punishing, tortuous race but it keeps me coming back for some reason.”

Elliott said the secret to winning such as an arduous run was simple – get to the lighthouse first because it’s all down hill from there.

“Your time sort of double your time on the way back down because if you are there first they are running up while you are running down,” he said.

A former 1500m track athlete, who has vied for Commonwealth and Olympic selection, Elliott said he now just runs for fun.

“These days I am just a recreational runner, I’m a school teacher and I just do it to stay fit and healthy,” he said.

“But as a young guy, at 20 or 21, I used to run at Commonwealth Games trials and Olympic trials and all of that sort of stuff but I never made the cut, I was always about fifth or sixth.”

It should be of some concern to next year’s Byron Lighthouse entrants that Elliott keeps getting faster at the event.

His winning time of 32 minutes-7seconds was his fastest ever.

“It is significantly faster, something like three minutes faster than my best time and that’s a good time because I’ve got the Noosa Triathlon next weekend and that includes the toughest 5km race in Australia,” he said.

 The first woman to cross the finish line yesterday was Brisbane’s Maree Stephenson, who won the title at her second attempt.

“I did well last year and I was keen to come back,” she said.

“It is a hard run, the only down time is when you are coming back down the hill and you can hear everyone breathe a sigh of relief.

“And then you are back on the sand, working hard again, and it is a really hard couple of kilometres home.”

Also in the top echelon at the finish line was 15-year-old Leigh Stewart of Goonellabah.

“I just run for fun and try and improve every year,” he said.


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