New course for Hamo marathon
TRIATHLON: An exciting new course awaits competitors at this year's Stamford Financial Hilly Marathon event on Hamilton Island; now just under eight weeks away.
In 2017, the alternate course on Dent Island was called upon after Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc on the traditional route.
However every cloud has a silver lining; the two new trail sections built in the aftermath provide a new challenge and stunning new vistas for this year's event.
The race caters to all ages and abilities with junior events, a 3 x 7km relay, the Hilly Half Marathon and the Hilly Marathon.
The race precinct has relocated from its traditional hub in the Hamilton Island Marina over to Bougainvillea Marquee on Catseye Beach and the event itself involves three looped sections, each returning to the new race precinct making it ideal for spectators.
The opening section encompasses the Resort proper on the road surface and sweeps through the Hamilton Island Marina to scale One Tree Hill before diving down into bushland surrounding Qualia Resort.
Runners will also make the 229m climb to the Island's highest point, in a little over two kilometres; including the 'Stairway to Heaven' over the closing 200m section of steps to Passage Peak.
Awaiting at the top are an array of views of the Whitsundays; including a glimpse of Hill Inlet itself.
Down the stairs and turning to the south; runners will be treated to the first new section of trail, hugging the hillside overlooking Pentecost Island, looping South East Head before diving across the southern coastline to Escape Beach.
Another ascent up and over the spine of the island and back to Catseye Beach; runners tag out for their team mate or carry on for the final stretch.
Arguably the toughest climb, the path to Resort Lookout leads to 360 degree views.
A quick breather on the descent down to another hidden gem, Coral Cove on the southern fringe of the island where runners will again tackle a new trail.
Competitors will continue to undulating upwards whilst overlooking the Cove itself, followed by a long descent to the beach side finish.
Full marathon competitors will complete a second lap of all three sections.
Race director Steve Jackson believes the new course will enhance the runners' experience.
"We've managed to encapsulate all the great aspects of this race,” he said.
"The challenging climbs, the great views, the support from spectators, volunteers and the camaraderie of their fellow competitors, but the new trails really show off the natural beauty and vast array of flora.”
Entries are open and with plenty of time still left to prepare get online and sign up today for the event which begins on May 6.