After much groundwork by Alan Hooley, the Old Brighton Grammarians club was admitted to the APSOC competition in 1987. Just one year later, the club was granted permission to host a handicap event at Green Point on the Brighton foreshore. In the race’s early days, runners would gather at the old wooden shelter in the Brighton Beach Gardens. It is fair to say that, particularly in inclement weather, the shelter did not cope well with the horde of runners and their post-race aromas. It therefore came as something of a relief when Old Brighton secured the use of the nearby Scout Hall for the event.
The course has not changed much over the years and has always featured the now notorious last kilometre on the soft and gluggy sand of Brighton Beach. The scenic splendour of the coloured bathing boxes is lost on the runners as they slog their way along the beach and up to the finish in the car park.
Early in the race, runners must negotiate the sandy paths through the tea trees on the cliff top to and from Sandringham, before joining the concrete footpath at beach level to Green Point. After passing the Scout Hall, the course then continues north on the bitumen bike path next to Beach Road to the Brighton Baths, where the runners turn back south for the run along the beach to the finish.
A unique feature of the race is the teams handicap format. Instead of the club’s fastest runners, it is the first four runners across the line, whether male or female, who make up its team. This gives the smaller clubs a chance for victory and both Old Brighton (five wins) and Old Geelong (three wins) have taken advantage of this over the years. Course record holders are Darren Wilson (OS) 27.23 and Kate Smyth (OW) 33.02. Darren’s mark from 2001, in particular, is phenomenal, given the difficulty of the course.
There is ample parking in the Green Point car park.