Australia’s greatest female distance athlete and four-time Olympian Benita Willis today launched Girl Active, a new City of Gold Coast program which includes Girl Active Running, a running group for women training for next year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon to be held 2 – 3 July.

Local women kick-started their Gold Coast Airport Marathon campaign when they joined Australian female marathon record holder Willis and local run club, RK Pod, for 5km and 10km jogs at Evandale Parklands, site of the start of the first Gold Coast Airport Marathon in 1979.

The City of Gold Coast’s Girl Active is a creation by 2000 Gold Coast Airport Marathon winner Samantha Hughes and RK Pod founder Ross Kinglsey who felt there was a need to support women striving for a personal challenge, such as the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, with a structured training program.

Girl Active aims to provide Gold Coast women of all ages and abilities a platform to begin their training for Australia’s leading marathon while being surrounded by like-minded individuals in a supportive social environment,” Ms Hughes said.

“From first-timers to marathoners, the program is open to all women because no matter the reason a woman begins running, the underlying goals are often the same; to better themselves, improve their health and work towards meaningful accomplishments.

“The group of women was thrilled to have Benita Willis launch the program by leading this morning’s run while providing invaluable running tips and words of encouragement. It was a money-can’t-buy experience.”

Gold Coast Airport Marathon ambassador and holder of five national distance records Willis said the Girl Activeprogram was a fantastic opportunity for women to strive towards a goal outside of their comfort zone and race in a world class event.

“The program is about providing women a fun and welcoming environment where fitness levels or past experiences don’t necessarily matter so they’re able to focus on their specific goal and enjoy the journey to the finish line next July,” Ms Willis said.

“Gold Coast locals are extremely fortunate to have an internationally recognised marathon and Queensland’s largest community participation event in their own backyard.”

The Girl Active program includes a structured running program held three times a week at Justins Park in Burleigh Heads. For more information or to join visit

The Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be held on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July. Early bird fees finish Thursday 28 April.

To enter or for more information visit