Whiteoak to defend Great Court Race title

Wednesday 16 May 2018
University of Queensland Bachelor of Economics student Max Whiteoak will be chasing a third victory when he competes at the 2018 Great Court Race.
  • Max Whiteoak's winning 2017 Men's Great Court Race

The multi-race event on Wednesday 23 May will be headlined by the Men’s and Women’s Great Court races, which sees competitors sprint around the cloisters of UQ’s state heritage-listed Great Court.

The main race is open to UQ undergraduate students, with previous winners including Olympians Mitchell Kealey (2005, 2006 and 2007) and Caitlin Sargent-Jones (2011, 2012 and 2013).

Max Whiteoak, victorious in the 2015 and 2017 Men’s Great Court Race, said the event was a highlight of the athletics’ calendar.

“Navigating your way around the sharp turns and narrow corridors of the Great Court adds an extra element of difficulty and excitement to a sport that I've always loved competing in,” Mr Whiteoak said.

“Coming away with another win in 2018 will be tough with a target on my back, but I'm confident I can add my name to the sandstone trophy for the third time."

The Women’s Great Court Race will crown a new champion in 2018, with no previous winners in the four-person field.  

A total of eight races will be contested at the event, including Men’s and Women’s 70-metre sprints and four relays involving UQ’s colleges, clubs and staff.

Due to the Great Court’s asymmetrical 636-metre layout, each relay race consists of four irregular legs of 145m, 156m, 155m and 180m.

UQ Sport Chief Executive Bryan Pryde said organisers received a record number of race entries.

“A total of 180 competitors registered to compete across the eight races, which is by far the highest number of entrants we’ve received in the event’s three decade history,” Mr Pryde said.

“The Great Court Race remains one of UQ’s proudest sporting traditions, and we’re looking forward to welcoming hundreds of spectators to the 34th running of the event.”

The first Great Court Race was held in 1985 to celebrate UQ’s 75th anniversary, with the event based on Cambridge University’s famed Great Court Run – immortalised in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’.

Bell chimes, similar to the Great Court Run tradition, are played during the Men’s and Women’s Great Court Races, with competitors aiming to complete the race before the twelfth chime.

A free sausage sizzle and lawn games will be held inside the Great Court from 12:30pm.

Former ABC Grandstand broadcaster Gerry Collins will provide on-course commentary throughout the event.

2018 Great Court Race – Event Schedule

12:30pm – Free Sausage Sizzle & Lawn Games
1:00pm – Welcome
1:05pm – Women's 70m Sprint
1:10pm – Men's 70m Sprint
1:15pm – Sprint Presentations
1:20pm – Mixed Staff Relay
1:25pm – Mixed Club Relay
1:30pm – Mixed Staff & Club Relay Presentation
1:35pm – Women's Great Court Race
1:40pm – Men's Great Court Race
1:45pm – Great Court Race Presentations
1:50pm – Women's College Relay
1:55pm – Men's College Relay
2:00pm – College Relay Presentation

Media: Jamie Mitchell, UQ Sport, JamieM@uqsport.com.au, 0423 785 752.

Jamie Mitchell

Jamie is UQ Sport's PR and Comms Specialist. He's a sportaholic with an unhealthy amount of jerseys in his wardrobe. You'll find Jamie playing social sport most afternoons, or gritting his teeth in the gym trying to lift weights.