14 years ago John Hubbard and his family decided to get up early to watch the runners of the McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival go by from their front lawn, now over a decade later that same front lawn is host to one of the best parties in town.
For the past 14 years, the Hubbard’s have played host to a pyjama party and champagne breakfast on the Sunday of the Townsville Running Festival at his family’s home on Esplanade Street.
“It started with just the family out on the front lawn, with about 6 of us all together,” says Mr. Hubbard. “Then the neighbours joined us, then our friends and then we decided to send out invites.”
“We get about 80 yes replies and then 50-60 who actually get out of bed that early to join us,” he laughs. “We make it easy for them, they don’t even have to get out of their pyjamas!”
“We put on a good Aussie breakfast with bacon, eggs, beans, sausages, tomatoes, toast, everything.”
Each year Mr. Hubbard and his guest deck themselves out in PJs and colourful costumes, holding signs and banners and cheer on each and every runner on the day.
“That fact that we see everyone training, they put so much effort into it so I think it’s only fair that we put in appreciation for them,” he says. “We cheer on all the athletes. The first one comes by before 6 am and runs by while we cheer them on.”
The Marathon Breakfast Party has become such an icon of the McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival that the location has been affectionately dubbed “The Party House” by festival-goers.
As runners begin their stretch along the Rowes Bay Esplanade they are greeted by the pyjama-clad party with whistles, bells, signs, and music, encouraging them to keep up the good work.
“We give a big boost to the competitors as they make their way through. A number come back to see us and have a beer,” says Mr. Hubbard. “Last year the winner ran back down to see us and posed with us with his medal.”
“It’s wonderful because we get to watch the sun go up, and then some people stay and get to see the sun go down too,” he says. “It’s a great time of year as well because lots of friends have visitors with them. We’ve had Germans, French, Italians, you name it – it’s a multinational marathon breakfast party.”
Even after 14 years, the party doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon, with the colourful revelers still having fun year after year.
“We have lots of laughs all round on the day,” says Mr. Hubbard.