RUNNING MACHINE: Steve Moneghetti on his way to winning the half marathon at last year's Coffs Coast Running Festival.
RUNNING MACHINE: Steve Moneghetti on his way to winning the half marathon at last year's Coffs Coast Running Festival. Leigh Jensen

Legend keen to defend his title

AFTER winning the inaugural Coffs Coast Running Festival title last year, Australian long-distance legend Steve Moneghetti is returning to defend his title.

However, this time the 49-year-old Olympic and Commonwealth Games veteran hopes to take in more of what he describes as one of the best courses he has competed on.

"It was a terrific event last year and I am looking forward to coming back for this year's event," Moneghetti said.

"I was delighted with how inviting and friendly everyone was and to have such a scenic track so close to the centre of town is nothing I had seen before.

"I didn't realise how good the course would be. It is such a great recreation area and to be able to see it all again will be great.

"I am bringing the entire family this time. I think it is testament to how much I enjoyed the Coffs Running Festival last year."

Moneghetti believes the growing popularity of this type of running event will mean a big field for this year's festival.

"It is unbelievable the number of people around Australia who have taken up running," he said.

"It used to be seen as crazy to run a marathon but now it is a rite of passage.

"I have been running for over 30 years and the development of the sport in that time is incredible.

"Hopefully all locals get involved and support what is a great event."

With the London Olympics getting under way next week the motivation to get active will be at an all-time high.

"The Olympics will be great and seeing the best of the best compete is always a great encouragement to get out and give it a go yourself," Moneghetti said.

"Hopefully there are some great Aussie performances we can really get behind."

The Coffs Coast Running Festival is set for September 23 and will feature events over three, five, 10 and 21km.

Entries have been coming in thick and fast but there are still plenty of opportunities to sign on for the races.

"I can't wait to get back to Coffs and re-acquaint myself with the great people I met at last year's event," Moneghetti said.

"I'll be running the half marathon again and the rest of the family are excited to try one of the shorter distances.

"It is a great feeling to complete a marathon and I look forward to helping people achieve a goal."

For more information on the Coffs Coast Running Festival visit coffshalfmarathon.org.au.



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