TBS’ers – it’s time to get off the couch and get moving, so Sarah Carman has the definitive list of running events happening around the country to get your feet pounding the streets…
You might not realise it, but right now you are living in the age of the community fun run. Gone are the days of slogging it out on the pavement, alone, in quiet suburbia. Right across Australia, running events are becoming increasingly popular. As someone who has always been relatively content with going out for a solo jog three or four times a week, I have only just begun to understand the appeal of larger-scale fun runs.
Why are running events great?
For new runners:
If you are new to running, starting out can be tough. It’s tempting to throw in the towel and try something different during the early stages of increasing your running fitness. Running doesn’t feel very natural when you first begin, or when you’re getting back into it after having a long break. I’ve often heard beginners say that they tried running but ended up swapping it with an activity that feels less like death.
However, imagine throwing a challenge into the mix in the form of a “Fun Run”. By doing this, suddenly you will have another reason to stick with running. You can even download training guides from event websites, which provide a more realistic schedule and advice about what to expect from your body as you run more.
On race day, new runners are often surprised by the positive experiences they have. There are so many people, and the atmosphere is electric. Everyone is pumped. You can smell the Gatorade and gel packs a mile off. The humbling scale of a run easily dissolves uncertainties about your performance and the nutritional preparation. At the start line, you realise you’ve graduated to “runner enthusiast” status. You’re about to move with a mad mob of runners, all of whom are itching to run as soon as the gun goes off. You’re part of something big.
For seasoned runners:
Despite its numerous benefits, running can be a tedious affair. Long-time runners are often looking for new and exciting ways to mix up training regimes or inject extra pep into monotonous runs. Running events are a great way to achieve this.
If you are a regular participant in a particular fun run every year, you can use familiarity with the course and additional running experience to improve your times. Beating your best time is extremely satisfying. It gives you a sense of achievement, and validates all the hard work invested in training. Provided that your desire to keep improving stays in check (and it doesn’t always – I have written extensively about problems that can arise due to overtraining here), the sport will continue to reward the runner for years to come.
Which running event should I sign up for?
Running events are everywhere. If you live in a major city, there are multiple fun runs held throughout the year. One of the most well known is the City2Surf in Sydney. The race is currently the largest fun run in the world.
Other runs have a novelty element; for example, participation in the Colour Run involves being doused with coloured paint as you run the course.
If you’re keen to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day a bit early this year, why not enter “Cupid’s Undie Run”? Race 1.5 kilometres in your favourite underwear in Sydney, Melbourne or Gold Coast on 14th February to support the Children’s Tumour Foundation.
For a splash of colour, try “Colour Me Rad” on 18th April. This 5km event held at Landsdown Park is bound to make a splash. If you aren’t race-ready in time for April, “The Colour Run” series is a great idea too. Colour Runs are happening across Australia in 2015; in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Wollongong, Newcastle, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast and Perth.
The very popular “Canberra Running Festival” is being held on the 11th and 12th of April this year. This event attracts runners from all over Australia, and there are races to cater for all running abilities. Whether you’re an ultra marathoner (50km) or a short course (5 km) runner, the Canberra Running Festival is an excellent idea.
20th September marks the beginning of the “Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.” Popular events include the “Bridge Run” across Sydney’s spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the “amily Fun Run”, which is for all ages.
Do you live in Coffs Harbour? The “Bendigo Bank Coffs Harbour Running Festival” is coming your way on 6th September. Routes vary from 3km to 21.1km in length and all pass through bushland, shaded walkways, swamp forests and the township.
One final thing. It doesn’t matter where you run, how far you run, how long it takes, or what you look like when you do it.
Run because it feels good.
Run for the fun of it!