Canberra marathon is a standard 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) marathon around the Australian capital city. The marathon, which was established in 1976, is said to be the oldest city marathon in Australia. It takes place early in April each year and comprises a festival of races: 10 km and 5 km races on a Saturday, and the main marathon as well as an extended or ultra marathon on the following day.
The marathon starts at Telopea Park School in the suburb of Manuka, which is within sight of Parliament House. The route starts with a 10 km lap around the old and new Parliament buildings and other major government buildings. This is followed by a double lap crossing Lake Burley Griffin (over the Kings Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue bridges) and along Parkes Way out towards the Glenloch interchange, which is within close proximity to the Telstra Tower landmark.
The Ultra Marathon allows those who have entered into the race to "go beyond the marathon" and compete in a 50 km event. Once participants have completed the marathon consisting of a 42.195 km route they are then recorded as a marathon finisher and are eligible to complete the 50 km Ultra Marathon.
Runners who complete 10 Canberra marathons are given the honorary title of Griffin, in reference to Lake Burley Griffin, which is at the centre of the marathon and the city of Canberra. The marathon is small in comparison to other big city races with just 866 people completing the 2006 event.
Prizes are awarded for both male and females who place during the marathon: In 2013 the prizes include $2,000 for 1st place; $1,000 for 2nd place; $500 for 3rd place. Prizes are also awarded for the 5 km fun run and 10 km dash including a $500 adidas voucher for 1st placegetters. Winners of the Ultra Marathon who meet the qualifying time of sub 3 hours and 20 minutes for men and 3 hours and 50 minutes for women will be invited to participate in the 2014 IAU 50 km trophy, with the invitation including free accommodations for 5 nights and assistance in travel expenses.
The event was in doubt due to an ongoing dispute between the ACT Cross Country Club who owned the event and Cundy Sport Management who had been running the event on the club's behalf for a number of years. It is now sponsored by Fairfax / The Canberra Times and is part of the Australian Running Festival.