RUN for the REEF is committed to funding research into the world's largest fish whilst preserving our greatest natural wonder

A Specialised Research Project

In partnership with James Cook University, RUN for the REEF is currently funding research into the relationship the MEGA MOUTH species have with the Great Barrier Reef.

MEGA FAUNA as they are known represent the giants of the ocean; the Manta Ray (Manta) and the largest of all the fish species, the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

Whale Sharks were added to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Endangered Species List in July 2016 making the research undertaken by the RUN for the REEF funded project is uniquely important.


RUN for the REEF and its events have five (5) objectives:

1. Raise awareness of the value of the Great Barrier Reef

2. Raise awareness of the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef

3. Raise funds to support specialised research projects

4. Create a Great Barrier Reef Ambassadorship Program with all participants in the events

5. Promote the importance of our health and the Great Barrier Reef


Why have large groups of juvenile Whale Sharks begun gathering on the Great Barrier Reef?

Mantra Ray and Whale Sharks are filter nutrient feeders. Our researches want answers to the following questions. 

Is it protection related?

Is it tourism related?

Is it food related?

What is the relationship between Whale Sharks and Manta Ray and the Great Barrier Reefs nutrient upwellings?

What is the relationship to the Great Barrier Reef's heath and its nutrient upwellings?


The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

It is Australia’s most remarkable natural asset. World heritage listed, the reef is home to the worlds largest abundance of marine life, picturesque tropical islands and beautiful sun-soaked golden beaches. The Great Barrier Reef supports Australia and our local economies to the tune of over 6 billion in revenue each year through tourism and ­fishing.

“Put simply, the Great Barrier Reef is a living National

and World Treasure. We must save it now.”

Sir David Attenborough


What is Run for the Reef?

The Run for the Great Barrier Reef Fund has been established as a partnership between the Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival and James Cook University. The Fund is maintained under the auspice of JCU and is governed by a board. The Solar Care CITYRUN and Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival held annually each year are two the main fundraising events for the cause – encouraging participants to run for the reef.


What do we donate?

Participants at each of the events will not only compete against all other runners in every CITY RUN event at the same time, but they will also all raise funds through the Run for the Reef registration process and through the Everyday Hero fundraising platform. 20% of all registration fees and all Everyday Hero fundraising will benefit the JCU Run for the Great Barrier Reef Research Fund.

Over the next 3 years’ funds will be specifically directed towards a study into “Mega Mouths” on the Great Barrier Reef. Mega mouths are the amazing whale sharks and manta rays – the giants of the oceans. In partnership with Emmy Award winning cinematographer and scientist Richard Fitzpatrick and Adam Barnett from James Cook University the Run for the Reef Initiative will research the health of our reef through these iconic species and provide insights that will play a major role in preserving our National treasure.




Total Funds Raised by Run for the Reef since 2013