Find out about the history of marathon events in Australia


One of the greatest boosts to rallying in Australia came from the running of the 1968 London – Sydney Marathon. The idea of a “race” across the word captured the public’s interest and created enormous interest among motoring enthusiasts.

The original Marathon was followed by a similar event in 1977. Both events were won by Andrew Cowan and both events traversed stages in Victoria, the latter with a brief stopover in Melbourne.

Subsequent Marathons ran in later years but improved road conditions and concerns for public safety inevitably resulted in different kinds of events. Only the 1993 event attempted to follow  some of the route of the original Marathon, although open road competitive sections were replaced by closed road special stages.

Subsequent editions were also special stage style events with long road sections in between. None traversed Victoria although the 2014 event used a stage along the Vic/SA border near Renmark.

Marathons and winners

YearDatesEventWinning crewCar
196824 November – 17 DecemberDaily Express London Sydney MarathonAndrew Cowan / Colin Malkin / Brian CoyleHillman Hunter
197714 August – 27 SeptemberSingapore Airlines London Sydney MarathonAndrew Cowan / Colin Malkin / Mike BroadMercedes 280E
199317 April – 16 MayLombard London Sydney MarathonFrancis Tuthill / Antony ShowellPorsche 911
20002 June – 4 JulyMillennium London Sydney MarathonStig Blomqvist / Ben RainsfordFord Capri Perana
20045 June – 4 JulyLondon Sydney MarathonJoe McAndrew / Murray ColeHonda Integra Type R
201412 April – 11 MaySydney London Classic MarathonGeoff Olholm / John DobleDatsun 260Z