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Australian and Queensland athletes will contest the 35th edition of The University of Queensland’s Great Court Race on Wednesday 22 May.

2018 Great Court Race - Samantha Phillips (Geoff Lawrence)
Samantha Phillips wins the 2018 Women's Great Court Race (Image - Geoff Lawrence)

The annual event will be headlined by the prestigious Men’s and Women’s Great Court Races, which sees competitors run 636-metres around UQ’s heritage-listed Great Court.

First-placegetters in the main races will receive $500 in prizemoney donated by Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland.

Queensland long-distance runner Samantha Phillips will be chasing a second-consecutive victory in the Women’s Great Court Race.

The Clem Jones Sporting Scholarship recipient said the event throws up a number of challenges for competitors.

“What makes the Great Court Race unique is the challenge the course delivers,” Phillips said.

“It’s unlike any other event, running on tiles, around the sharp bends, with only four competitors, and to the sounds of chimes.

“It’s anyone’s to win, as the unfamiliar distance leaves the race wide open.”

Three UQ Sporting Scholarship holders will compete in the Women’s event, while Australian representatives Jamie Hiscock and Cara Feain-Ryan are among the four-person fields in their respective events.

2018 Great Court Race - Podium
2018 Women's Great Court Race, Left-Right: Clara Smith - 2nd; Samantha Phillips - 1st; Natalie Otway - 3rd (Image - Geoff Lawrence)

2015 and 2017 winner Max Whiteoak will again contest the Men’s Great Court Race, which also features Australian middle-distance runner Callum Davies.

The UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship recipient heads into the event fresh from winning the Men’s 1500m event at last month’s UniSport Nationals Athletics event in Sydney.

2018 Great Court Race - Ben Gibson
Benjamin Gibson (blue) beats Max Whiteoak to win the 2018 Men's Great Court Race (Image - Geoff Lawrence)

Eight races will be contested in total; the Men’s and Women’s 70-metre sprints, and four relays involving UQ’s colleges, clubs and staff.

The Great Court’s asymmetrical layout means each relay race consists of four irregular legs of 145m, 156m, 155m and 180m.

UQ Sport Chief Executive Bryan Pryde said an honour board had been installed near the start-finish line to celebrate past Great Court Race winners.

“The event is steeped in tradition with a host of state and national-level athletes having won the main races, including Olympians Mitchell Kealey and Caitlin Sargent-Jones,” Mr Pryde said.

“A permanent start-finish line plaque has also been embedded in the stone tiles, adding a fantastic touch to the event.

“I’d like to thank the University for honouring the Great Court Race with these commemorative castings, which will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

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.

A free sausage sizzle and lawn games will be held inside the Great Court from 12:30pm, with races to be held between 1pm-2pm.

2019 UQ Great Court Race – Event Schedule

12:30pm – Free Sausage Sizzle & Lawn Games
1:00pm – Official Welcome
1:05pm – Women’s 70m Sprint
1:10pm – Men’s 70m Sprint
1:15pm – 70m Sprint Presentations
1:20pm – Mixed Staff Relay
1:25pm – Mixed Club Relay
1:30pm – Mixed Staff & Club Relay Presentations
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 Presentations

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