Over the weekend, as I continued to progress training for my first marathon, I started wondering what would be worse - the hilly 21.1 kilometres NewRun offers or the "flat and fast" 42.2km I have committed to.
Both present different challenges and it also made me realise how unique Newcastle's annual running festival was.
You can run one of the hilliest road half marathons around or opt for a level run instead, albeit twice the distance.
NewRun is being held for the 13th time and is on April 7 and shorter options are available. There is the popular Herald Hill2Harbour 10km, also challenging in that you have to tackle a 1km ascent straight up, literally, a flat 5km around the harbour foreshore and a kids' 2km.
Another unique aspect about the event is that all of the courses hug the coastline. The marathon will be three loops between Newcastle Ocean Baths and Carrington.
"The footprint goes from Bar Beach to Carrington, which is a big footprint all along the coast," race director Paul Humphreys, of HEvents said.
"The courses are all scenic and varied and it's probably one the bigger running festivals in New South Wales."
He reported NewRun numbers were up 20 per cent on last year and the marathon, which also has a relay option, had attracted around 250 participants in its first year. He also observed a rise in the number of 50-years-plus people taking part in the 5km and 10km events as predominantly walkers.
"It's great to see. There are a lot of people who have moved into the city and are focusing a bit more on their fitness and they like these events," Mr Humphreys said.
NewRun was four weeks away yesterday and entries are still open.
If you are thinking you need a bit more time to prepare (like I am starting to do), then a more appropriate goal for you could be found in the Winery Running Festival, being staged this year over two days on July 20 and 21.
It is a good goal to keep you training through autumn and also offers a range of events. This year for the first time there will be a Moon Marathon on the Saturday evening.
It will be four 10.5km loops of golf cart tracks around The Vintage golf course and can be done as a four-person relay, which sounds like not only a good challenge for a group but also a good excuse for a weekend away.
On the Sunday morning will be a 21.1km, 10km, 6km and kids' 2km, so it could also be a family weekend away.
HEvents also run the Hunter Valley running festival and Mr Humphreys said the night marathon was the first of its kind in Australia.
Getting a relay together is a good way to enter a longer event to see what it is all about without the commitment of doing the whole thing. It is a good way to get friends and family moving with you in training as well as on the event day.
In between NewRun and the Winery Running Festival is the Maitland River Run, on June 2. It features a 4km, 8km, 12km and 21.1km as well as the River Maitland Mile and is the 10th milestone of the running festival.
Upcoming Fitness Events
NewRun 2019, Newcastle Foreshore, April 7: The 5km, Herald Hill2Harbour 10km, 21.1km and kids 2km courses are back plus a new 42.2km option, which can also be done as a relay.
Coastal Ascent Trail Run, Dixon Park, April 28: Starting and finishing at Dixon Park and running through Glenrock State Conservation Area, this new event offers 11km and 25km options.
Winery Running Festival, Hunter Valley, July 20-21: There is a 6km, 10km, 21.1km and kids 2km run as well as a new Moon Marathon (42.2km), which will be run on the Saturday evening and can also be done as a four-person relay.
Autumn Sessions Week #2
Simple workouts can achieve plenty. This session can be done with two cones and a set of weights.
Warm up: 5 squats, 5 modified push-ups, 10 lunges and walk-jog slow efforts between cones. Repeat twice then range of motion stretches.
Set 1: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 bent-over rows, run forwards then backwards between the cones for 5 efforts. Repeat twice.
Set 2: 10 biceps-shoulder press, 10 bent-over row, 5 x (walking lunges to cone then jog back). Repeat twice.
Set 3: 20 ab crunches, 10 glute bridge, 20 ab rotation, walk/run between cones 5 times. Repeat twice.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother.