Grovedale local defies odds, taking on the Great Ocean Road Running Festival

May 15, 2024 BY

The Great Ocean Road Running festival will return next weekend with distances ranging from 1.5km up to 60km.

PEOPLE from around the country will head to the Surf Coast as the Great Ocean Road Running Festival returns to the region next weekend.

Runners will leave from Lorne, Apollo Bay and Kennet River, with participants having the choice of completing a range of distances, from 1.5km up to 60km as they take in the scenic views along the way.

Grovedale Local Terry Thomas is preparing for the 44km run at the upcoming event.

In 2010 Mr Thomas was diagnosed with jaw cancer, after having it cut out the basal cell carcinoma returned four times.

In 2019, he underwent a seven hour surgery, followed the next day by another 15 hour surgery where he had his chin rebuilt using a piece of his fibula bone from his leg.

Doctors told Mr Thomas that he would never run again, since then he has defied the odds participating in multiple marathons.

Following a cancer diagnosis in 2010, Terry Thomas had his chin and jaw rebuilt with a piece of his fibula bone in 2019.


Mr Thomas said he simply enjoys the process of running and going to train is what gets him up in the morning.

“The satisfaction of getting to the finishing line every time makes me feel great, so I just keep going back for more.

“I get excellent joy from running and I intend on doing it for as long as I possibly can.

Following his operations, Mr Thomas spent six weeks in hospital and underwent six weeks of radiation after being discharged.

About 12 months later he started completing run walks, running for three minutes then walking for two, gradually he and his leg got stronger, and he was able to run continuously.

“For a long time I was worried my leg was going to snap in half because effectively it’s only got that one bone there now instead of two.”

In 2021 Mr Thomas made his return to marathon running taking on the Great Ocean Road.

After being told that he would never run again, Mr Thomas has defied the odds, completing multiple marathons since his surgery.


Mr Thomas has completed eight Great Ocean Road marathons, saying it’s the hardest marathon that he’s ever done with lots of hills, however, has spectacular views.

“The other thing is a marathon is 42.2kms but the Great Ocean Road is 44km and those extra 2km are very mentally and physically difficult because your body’s screaming in pain.

“People come from all over the world to see the Great Ocean Road and not many people get to run on it, so that makes it really special.”

Mr Thomas likes to share his story to inspire and show others that life doesn’t have to end when things get tough.

May 18 will see participants take on the 1.5km Kids Gallop, 6km Sri Lankan Airlines run and the 14km Paradise Run, all starting and finishing in Apollo Bay.

The Ultra Marathon (60km), Great Ocean Road Marathon (44km), Brooks Half Marathon (23km), 6.5km and 12km trail runs and the 10km and 5km Great Ocean Road Walks will take place on May 19.

For the first time the full marathon and half marathon events will include Brooks Pacers.

For more information or to register for the event, head to greatoceanroadrunfest.com.au

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