I appear to have been immunised against the health and fitness bug that has infected my friends. You might know the one. It’s a serious condition that renders once sedentary friendship groups into an army of clean eating, fitness purists.
While lunch breaks used to revolve around $10 steak-and-chips meal deals, now I’m the only one who doesn’t shake, rattle and (more accurately) roll my way to Body Pump between 12-1pm.
They say the fastest way to catch a disease is to expose yourself to it, so ditch the Hazmat suit and inject your calendar with some of the funniest fitness fiestas to kick-start your newfound wellbeing.
1. The Great Wheelbarrow Race
Donning a costume, pushing a wheelbarrow, raising money for charity and taking your best friends with you – where do I sign up? Pacing 140 kilometres of outback terrain doesn’t seem so bad when it’s in the name of the Great Wheelbarrow Race. Fitness haters rest assured, the festival organisers promise you can run as little or as far as you want. This tongue-in-cheek race gives a nod to the town’s pioneering history, with teams evoking the spirit of early miners as they power behind wheelbarrows, dressed in period costumes.
2. Porcupine Gorge Challenge
Have you ever noticed how much incidental exercise can be done while sightseeing? I like to trick myself into working out by stepping out in spectacular scenery and a new environment. This June, discover the Grand Canyon of Queensland and raise your heartbeat at the Porcupine Gorge Challenge. Good news for fitness and hiking newbies – it’s a fraction of the size (phew!). The four-kilometre fun run takes you through coloured sandstone cliffs, clear creeks and dense forest vegetation in Hughenden. I intend to power walk this track because I’d hate to miss the scenery by running too fast.
3. Paddle Out for Whales
Whales are the only winner at this fitness event so there’ll be no fist pumping at the finish line or sweaty brows here. Joining Paddle Out for Whales is simple – just bring something to float on (e.g. a surf board, kayak or body board) and paddle out into the warm waters of Hervey Bay for a minute’s silence. Set just before the annual whale migration from Antarctica to Hervey Bay, this festival is all about highlighting support for whales, not whaling. If you’re feeling particularly sporty, join the pre-paddle warm up with free Zumba on the beach.
4. Great Pyramid Race
Before I even get to Gordonvale, the Great Pyramid Race has my abs engaged, giggling over its colourful history. This event began, as many great ones do, as a bet in a pub – who could race up and down Walsh’s Pyramid (the world’s tallest isolated peak), the fastest. Unfortunately the scramble up and down the peak is too advanced for this former sloth, but the fun run has its advantages. After you complete the five-kilometre dash for cash, burn a track around the market stalls buying up home-made (hopefully edible) creations.
5. Outback Festival
The Outback Festival is definitely more about fun than fitness. Where else could you put a team together to drag an outhouse across the finish line in the hotly contested dunny derby? You won’t find me anywhere near the Outback Ironwoman, Masters of the Outback or Strong Man Challenges, but some of the wacky true blue Aussie sports seem like reputable enough fitness goals to me. Egg throwing anyone?
6. Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic
Put your arms to work and cast off for the chance to snag a free dinner and $50,000 worth of prize money at the Xstrata Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic. A fitness event with a fry up at the end? Yes please! This is all about the sudden burst of energy casting off, and a waiting game to reel in the golden ticket – a specially tagged barramundi. Even if you don’t hook the big bucks, making a meal of your catch will be prize enough.
Would any of these events have you chasing the fitness bug?
*Feature photo courtesy of Batpig and Me