Endurance challenge events you can totally tackle as a beginner
‘Tis no longer the season to be jolly. ‘Tis now the season to challenge yo’self!
Take it up a notch, go next level, give it all you’ve got. Get the idea?
If you want to make this year count, we’ve got the perfect solution: take on one of Queensland’s many and varied endurance events. While the major events may scream “hardcore”, there are so many options for beginners! Now hear us out before you go clicking away into another year of ‘same old, same old’.
As well as challenging yourself to tackle one or some of the best endurance events in the world, you can combine your new healthy hobby with a getaway. Winning! And it actually IS a win, because your first event is the best place to achieve a PB. That’s a Personal Best – well done, you!
JUST DO IT
The hardest part is getting off the couch. Ok, maybe not THE hardest part, but it can be for some. So pick an endurance challenge event that you’d enjoy (think running, swimming, cycling or even all three) and a destination that appeals.
Noosa Summer Swim Festival (February 3-4) means hanging out in an idyllic paradise of national parks and a world surfing reserve. Or get down ‘n dusty at the Outback Queensland Julia Creek Dirt ‘n Dust Festival (April 13-15). Run in the footsteps of glory at Gold Coast Marathon (June 30 to July 1) or go troppo at the Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival (November 18). We told you there was something for everyone!
Next up? Enter the event. You’ll be surprised how much just making that commitment in advance will kick your butt, a’hem, motivation into gear. Plus there’s the early-bird entry fees to consider.
Once you’re signed up you’ll get all the endurance challenge event information you need – where to be, when and what to bring.
The best time to start training is today. A year-round training program is ideal, but not realistic for beginners so just start as early as you can. Four to six months training will give you a solid start.
Write down your goals and stick them up somewhere you’ll see them every day. Ongoing motivation helps too, so enlist your friends, family or workmates to train with you, or train with a professional who’ll also help with strengthening exercises to prevent injury.
Warm up, cool down, hydrate and make training just as much fun as the event is going to be!
Here are some beginner-friendly event picks to get you started.
RUN BABY RUN
Event: Gold Coast Marathon
D-Day: June 30 to July 1
This marathon is held on the flattest course in Australia (#yah), and if that wasn’t enough incentive, the celebrations will be huge – it’s the 40th anniversary this year. But you don’t have to go the whole hog in your first year. Races for beginners include the Gold Coast Airport Fun Run (5.7km) and Southern Cross University Run (10km).
A Gold Coast winter means clear blue skies and temperate conditions so it’s an excellent option for those keen to give their first half-marathon a try.
Reward Yourself: Stay in the fitness swing of things and have a hit of golf, learn to surf in paradise or explore a national park or two. Keep the adrenaline pumping at theme parks Dreamworld, Movie World and Wet ‘n Wild.
IN THE SWIM
Event: Noosa Summer Swim
D-Day: Feb 3-4
The calm, sheltered waters of Noosa are excellent for all swimming abilities, but especially so for beginners. The course is super short at just 1km, so it’s an ideal way of working up to longer distances, or just to say you’ve conquered your first ever open-water swim.
Reward Yourself: Let a local show you around this piece of paradise. Swap the swim for paddle time: the Noosa Everglades are world class, or try your hand at SUP Yoga. Just make sure you’re at Noosa Boathouse in time for sunset cocktails.
Event: Tropical North Queensland – Green Island Reef Swim
D-Day: June 7
Ok, we’ll just go ahead and say it. There’s no more beautiful endurance challenge event location in the world than the Great Barrier Reef. This unique event has a 500m, 1.5km and 3km swim.
Reward Yourself: The location is reward enough, but you’ve also got options-a-plenty. There’s snorkelling, scuba diving and turtles to meet or cruise the reef by boat. Green Island is also just 45 minutes from adventure-packed Cairns.
ON YA BIKE
Event: Velothon Sunshine Coast
D-Day: July 20 to 22
If you’ve been cycling socially for a while, it’s time to get serious. The ultimate winter getaway ride through picturesque countryside, this one-day velo follows 90km of glorious open surf beaches past Coolum and Peregian Beaches before turning inland to explore the incredible mountain-scape of Cooroy, Eumundi and Yandina. Perfection.
Reward Yourself: Stock up on fresh, healthy produce and juices at one of the coast’s many farmers markets. Try the Original Eumundi Markets (Wednesday/Saturdays), Peregian Beach Markets (first and third Sunday of the month) or Noosa Farmers Market every Sunday.
WHY NOT TRI ALL THREE?
Whether you feel comfortable with all three legs of a triathlon or only have interest in one area, this endurance challenge is still for you. Triathlons can be done as a team so while you hit the pavement, someone else can do the swim and cycle sections. Go team!
Triathlons are also great stepping-stones to Ironman events.
Event: Gold Coast Triathlon
D-Day: February 25
Best for beginners, the Gold Coast Triathlon offers a 750m swim, 20km ride and, 5km run. Piece of cake, yeah?
Reward Yourself: You’ve spent a whole lotta calories so hey, live it up a little. The Gold Coast is famous for fabulous restaurants and trendy rooftop bars. House of Brews, Surfers Paradise won the local’s 2017 bar (and bartender) of the year award if you’re after a little refreshment. Post race only, please.
Event: Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival (Sunshine Coast)
D-Day: March 9 to 11
This endurance challenge is a highlight of the Tri calendar for good reason: location, location, location. Swim 1.5km, bike 40km and run 10km.
Prep yourself for a Sunshine Coast tri with this handy training guide.
Reward Yourself: Book a luxury stay at one of three local Mantra resorts featuring pools, spas and saunas to help with the unwind. Landmark Resort also has an in-house spa for that much-needed massage. You’ve earned it.
Being a beginner is just the start. With a bit more confidence under your belt, Queensland has a whole world of endurance excitement and marathon mayhem possibilities ready for you.
So… ready, set go!
Seriously, anyone can participate.