Deciding on a Fun Run: Sydney? Melbourne? Canberra? Overseas?

Brandenburg Gates before Berlin marathon start

Greta and running pals before the Berlin marathon.

If you’re taking on the challenge of a fun run, why not turn it into something even more? How about a marathon mini-break interstate, a running holiday in New Zealand, an action trip to the US or an adventure to Europe to race through historical cities? 12WBT’s running expert Greta Truscott gives her take on taking your runs further afield. 

Whether you’re aiming for a 5km or 10km run, a half or full marathon, there are loads of official events in Australia each year: the Australian Running Festival in Canberra, the Melbourne Marathon Festival, Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, Mother’s Day Classic, Color Runs … you get the idea!

But if you think big, you could take your next fun run even further afield! There are more than 600 marathon events in the US alone (with stacks of shorter fun runs too), and the largest marathon in the world is in New York – imagine crossing the finishing line with 50,000 other runners!

Jackie Cochrane, a friend of Greta’s, runs the Routeburn Classic in Fiordland, New Zealand.

How Greta Got Started

I started with 3km and 5km fun runs in Alice Springs, NT, where I’m from. When I moved to Sydney I tried 800m and 1500m track races, which made me feel like a bull out of a gate. I’ve dabbled in triathlons, from sprints to half-Ironmans, where swimming in the ocean is always an adrenalin rush. But nowadays I love trail races in nature and big road events – from 5km to marathons.

My hubby Chris and I have travelled within Australia and overseas for many events. In 2013, we even took our 18-month-old bub to Germany for the Berlin Marathon.

I’m really proud of Chris, who’s completed 28 Sydney City2Surf runs, more than 20 marathons in cities including Rotterdam, London, Tokyo, Chicago and Canberra, and seven ultramarathons, including Six Foot Track Marathons in Brisbane and Sydney and The North Face 100. In 2012, he also qualified for the 100km World Championships with a time of 7hr 51min in Sydney.

Chris after winning 100k ultra in Centennial Park with cheer squad (including 12WBT running specialist Ben)

Greta’s hubby Chris crosses the 100km finish line with a cheer squad including Olympian and 12WBT running specialist Ben St Lawrence.

Taking Your Fun Run a Step Further

From Chris’s and my experience, here are some tips to inspire you to take your next fun run further afield.

1. Choose your events sequentially: Your training and event selection should follow a progressive order from shorter to longer events to adjust your body gradually to the demands of running, avoid injury and ultimately build your enjoyment of the sport. Start with 5km, then progress to 10km, half marathon, then marathon, discovering along the way what your body can handle.

For your first event, start locally with fun runs in your area. Lots of 12WBT Members sign up for Parkrun, a series of events held around Australia, so these are something you can do whether you live in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Darwin or in a regional town.

Parkrun offers free weekly, timed 5km runs that take place in parkland locations and are open to all levels – from walkers to elite runners finishing in 15 minutes and juniors – so they’re fantastic for the family.

For something different, look for events like the Mud Run or Tough Mudder, which is held around the country in places like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and the Sunshine Coast. Or enter an event like the 4km or 10km Bondi Barefoot Soft Sand Race, or the equivalent in a different State.

Bondi barefoot - soft sand is great fun

 For the fourth time Greta wins the annual 4km Bondi Barefoot Soft Sand Race in Sydney.

2. Sydney? Melbourne? Canberra? Perth? Brisbane? It’s time to travel interstate: Spread your wings to try interstate events, making a trip of it with friends and family. There are many fun runs held across Australia, including the Mother’s Day Classic, The Color Run, official running festivals in capital cities, the Australian Outback Marathon … and lots more!

Many of them have different events, from 4km or 5km runs to marathons, so there’s something for everyone. Plan your events with Cool Running Australia and Australian Running Calendar.

Greta Gold Coast World Age Group Olympic Distance Tri Champs

Greta goes for gold in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon in Queensland.

3. London? Paris? Rome? It’s time to go overseas: If you’re planning a holiday, why not tie in a short-distance fun run such as New York’s Healthy Kidney 10km run in Central Park, or the Prague Half Marathon in the Czech Republic.

Skyrunning is the extreme sport of mountain running and the latest trend overseas where the mountains are sufficiently big, although an Australian SkyMarathon event was introduced this year (2014) at Mount Buffalo in Victoria.

For inspiration, check out the newly released documentary movie A Fine Line, about incredible world-record-breaking Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet. The spectacular snowy Alps he runs through are amazing! See a preview clip of the movie here.

12WBT is an ambassador for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival in September, where you can run 4km, 9km, a half or full marathon. Greta will be doing the half marathon and Michelle Bridges will also be running the half marathon event with 12WBT Members.

Do YOU dream of running?! Make it happen! Choose the best customised running program for you, sign up to 12WBT and get set to realise your dreams.

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