Seven running events to add to your 2020 fitness bucket list

The new year is here and it's time to start researching and planning what running events you'll register for in 2020. With so many great events and distances to choose from, more Aussies are choosing destination running events for their yearly bucket list. 

The IRONMAN Group's Oceania 2020 calendar has a whopping 33 running and triathlon events. Brett Thompson, Event Marketing Director says bucket list events have a special sauce that attracts participants from across Australia and around the world. 

"It's what we strive to achieve for all of our events," says Thompson. "Most often it's a combination of an incredible destination, the passion and knowledge of the event team, engaged event partners, amazing volunteers and a single-minded focus on providing the best possible athlete experience from registration right through to the finish line." 

He says the reasons people enter running events are many and varied. "Health and wellbeing goals are popular motivations, but so too is adventure, a new challenge, peer pressure, and often the desire to do something with friends and or family, like a girls weekend away for the Runaway Noosa Marathon."

"We have entrants who want to take on an event in each state and territory, the Legends of City2Surf who've raced in every event since its inception, and many charity superstars who raised thousands of dollars for their selected charities," adds Thompson. 

So, if you're looking for some running getaways or just a great nearby race to challenge yourself, check out these must-do events in 2020. 

The Canberra Times Marathon Festival

Canberra 4-5 April 2020

Be a part of history and take on one of Australia's oldest city runs. The event is known for its flat and fast course, which follows the Parliamentary Triangle and runs along the banks of Lake Burley Griffin. With five distances to choose from and mild weather, this is a must-do if you want to get a PB. 

Interesting facts

  • The marathon, which was established in 1976, is said to be the oldest city marathon in Australia
  • There's an ultra 50km race 
  • In 2019, more than 7000 people took part 

Hamilton Island Hilly Half Marathon

Hamilton Island 3 May 2020 

Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Steve Moneghetti says this is probably the most scenic marathon run in Australia, but also one of the toughest. This iconic island race follows a rugged, 21km route with challenging uphill and downhill sections. 

Interesting facts

  • The route follows road, fire trails and walking tracks through Hamilton Island's undulating interior.
  • The half marathon can be done as a relay

Great Ocean Road Running Festival

16-17 May  

Winding along the rugged and windswept Southern Ocean, this event is lorded by many as Australia's most stunning place to run. The two-day festival is held between Apollo Bay and Lorne along the Great Ocean Road and features six events including a 60km ultra marathon and 14kms. 

Interesting facts

  • In 2019, the event smashed smashed the previous record of 7600 runners, set in 2018.
  • There's a Pub-to-Pub Waiter's Race where local wait-staff race the clock – and each other – to carry a tray of beer from the Apollo Bay Hotel to the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse and back, without spilling a drop

Runaway Noosa Marathon

Noosa 23 May 2020

Escape to world-famous Noosa for a weekend filled with sunshine and good times. With a flat, fast and friendly multi-lap course set in the heart of Noosa, this event has five distances to choose from - 42.2km, 31.6km, 21.1km, 10km and 5km.

Interesting facts

  • In 2019, 56 per cent of entrants were female
  • Largest out of state group was from NSW (15 per cent) and VIC (seven per cent)

The Sun-Herald City2Surf presented by Westpac

Sydney 9 August 2020

The reputation of this event has grown year on year and it's widely recognised as a 'bucket-list' item for serious runners and adventure lovers around the world. Originally a 15km course, the 14km course of today has now become one of the most loved and largest community events in the world.

Interesting facts

  • The City2Surf will celebrate 50 years running in 2020
  • Australian marathon runner Steve Moneghetti (VIC) holds the event record in a time of 40:02:46. The record has been in place since 1991.

Westpac City-Bay Fun Run Presented by Sunday Mail

Adelaide 20 September 2020

Part of the Athletics Australia Australian Road Running Championships, there are always serious athletes and elite runners, but overwhelmingly most people are there for the fun. There are 12km, 6km and 3km fun run and walk events, and the 21.1km half marathon, which was introduced in 2018.

Interesting facts

  • Coca-Cola were the first major sponsors of the event in 1973
  • The event raises funds to support Athletics in South Australia

Auckland Marathon

New Zealand 1 November 2020

Take your running overseas and join in New Zealand's biggest, most iconic, colourful, cultural running celebration. Five race distances from 3km to full Marathon, with no rules in how you run them - solo at pace, walking tall, team shuffle, or run as a Charity Hero. 

Interesting facts

  • In 2019, there were 15,500 runners
  • 51 per cent female and 49 per cent male

The high of crossing the finish line inspires running fanatic Laura Hill to clock up the kilometres each week. Whether you're a newbie to the running scene or a seasoned athlete, Laura brings the latest running trends and gear to readers across Australia. With a day job in the corporate world and a busy toddler, Laura loves nothing more than lacing up her runners and hitting the pavement to sharpen her mind and challenge her body.

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