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Biggest starting field ever as the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run celebrates its 10th anniversary

The Bugle App

Malin Dunfors

09 June 2024, 1:50 AM

Biggest starting field ever as the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run celebrates its 10th anniversaryThe start of the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run half-marathon.

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”

About 60 runners join Judi O’Brien, president of the Kiama Red Cross and organiser of the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run, as she counts down towards the start of the half-marathon.

It’s 7am on Sunday, June 9, and just like that, the race is off.

A couple of minutes earlier, Lokesh (Loki) Thondauada had been standing by Surf Beach, taking in the sweetness of the morning.

“If I can do a time of less than 2,5 hrs, I think I’ll be a happy champ,” he says and laughs. 

Thondauada’s come down from Sydney to do the race as he prepares to do the full Sydney Marathon on 15 September, ahead of his 50th birthday next year. 

The marathon is literally just 100 days off, although he’s done a couple of half-marathons before. About 25-30 of them.

But it’s his first time running the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run.

Loki Thondauada enjoying the Kiama sunrise ahead of the half-marathon.

“I came for two reasons,” he says, “The coast - just to feel the magic of nature. The sunrise makes you feel alive.”

“And I wanted to make a contribution to the Red Cross. This is small, not as commercialised as up in Sydney where I’ve run a lot.”

The Kiama Red Cross Fun Run, now in its tenth year, offers three distances: the half-marathon (21 km), 8km and 5km.

A total of 341 runners/walkers participated in the race. That’s the biggest starting field they’ve ever had, says Judi O’Brien.

“It’s a nice community event that raises money for the Red Cross and gets our name out there.”

The event is a brainchild of hers.

Judi O'Brien and some of the top finishers in the half-marathon by Surf Beach.

“A fun run to celebrate the 100 years of the Australian Red Cross and this was our way of celebrating that milestone,” she says. “It has continued on each year, and it’s gotten bigger and better. Sadly, it had to stop in 2021 due to covid but every other year, it’s been run.”

Over the ten years, the Kiama Red Cross has raised over $50,000, and for this year’s edition, they made over $10,000.

“It’s been a very good fund-raiser for Kiama Red Cross,” notes O’Brien.

As the half-marathon runners sprint across the finishing line, she’s there to greet them, medals in hand. Everyone gets one with the top finishers receiving the anniversary edition.

“Check off your name, you could have won a spot price,” she urges them.

There are one to two spot prices for each distance. Then, there’re extra prizes for people who booked early, ice-cream for the kids and a dog prize.

The medal commemorating the tenth anniversary.

“It’s for the first dog that crosses the finishing line,” she says. “One year, we had a dog who ran the whole 21 km. Wow.”

But there’s still some time before the four-legged racers will show.

Around 9:16 am, Loki Thondauada crosses the finishing line. He’s done it, finishing the half-marathon in 2:16 hrs – well below his goal time.


21,1 km


First place: Dan Piercy

Second place: Blair Jones

Third place: Dan Redman


First place: Emma Lyons

Second place: Kelly-Anne Hinchcliffe

Third place: Jackie Lyons

8 km


Winner: James Burroughs

Second place: Jonathon Hellmund


Winner: Jett Warner

Second place: Amy Loxley


Winner: Finn McNeilage

Second place: Lincoln Budden


Winner: Makyla Haddad

5 km


Winner: Nick Wooley

Second place: Anthony Murell


Winner: Georgia Winkcup

Second place: Emily Crump


Winner: Dash Kins

Second place: Josh Reitze


Winner: Ava Sloan

Second place: Elsie Crump

Spot prize winners

Paul Convey, Evie Berriman, Kevin Foreman, Judith Bibo, Hannah Clarke, Rory O’Sullivan, Debbie Jones, Tim Roff, Amanda Jones, Heather White, Alicia Doolan, Isabella Boniel, Lara Morgan, Kelly Berriman, Navine Koehler and Brenton Wilson.

Early Bird prizes

Christian Mawhinney, Bronwyn Wiseman, Amanjit Dhonsey and Caitlin Elsley.