Why entering the Great Whitehaven Beach Run should be on your bucket list Posted by Hamilton Island - 15 March 2017 When I first started going in ‘fun runs’ I didn’t think the idea of running more than 5km would be something I’d ever call ‘fun’. At the time I found it more akin to torture. But fast forward to the present and things have changed a lot. I've discovered that by entering events with friends and picking the rights ones, it's actually a lot of fun and a great way to challenge myself to new levels of fitness. Slowly, over time, I’ve managed to push myself to new fitness goals, running times and most importantly experiences. Whitehaven Beach from up above. Photo by Kara Rosenlund. I've also come to realise that not all fun runs are created equal. You want to put your efforts into the rewarding ones. The ones that offer you something special, the opportunity to have a memorable experience and not just pound the pavement. When I found out about this run and was told it was a chance to “push myself in paradise” I jumped at the chance to sign up. The idea of running on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches was just too appealing to pass up. I was excited to find a distance on offer that suited me, I loved that I could make entering the run an excuse for a mini-getaway to Hamilton Island and it was thrilling to know the experience on offer was like nothing I’d ever done before. It certainly wouldn’t be about pounding the pavement! What was the Great Whitehaven Beach run like? I absolutely loved it. It was a challenge to run on sand but I must say it’s surprisingly firm (being silica helps and also makes it much steadier than normal sand). The boutique nature of the event made it truly special and different to anything I’d entered before. Everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere felt exciting with everyone buzzing from taking part. Steve Moneghetti runs ahead of the group and takes out first place. On the day, I discovered that the Great Whitehaven Beach Run attracts a really broad range of entrants. Males, females, kids, pro-runners (Steve Moneghetti!), new runners, tourists from all around the globe and everyone in-between. I spoke to four people who shared why entering the Great Whitehaven Beach Run was one of the best running experiences they’ve ever had: The Internationals: Jules and Rachel travelled from America as part of their University exchange to Australia. Rachel How did you find out about the Great Whitehaven Beach Run? I had been looking to run a half marathon for a while and I thought it would be fun to run one while in Australia. I found the Great Whitehaven Beach Run on an Australian running website and figured it would be the perfect opportunity to achieve my goal. Why did you enter the run? My trip to Australia was all about checking things off my bucket list, growing as a person and achieving goals. I figured completing my first half marathon in Australia would fit in perfectly. What was your favorite part of the day? Everything about this day was absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to run for two hours on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, complete one of my goals, and hangout with people from all over the world who share the same interest. This whole day was the best part of my trip to Australia. Why would you recommend other people do the Great Whitehaven Beach Run? It was very well organized and an overall incredible experience. The beautiful ocean views make the time fly by! Tips: 1. Don't run with music! Enjoy the incredible views, encouragement from fellow runners, and sound of waves hitting the shore. You don't need music to distract you from this place. 2. Prepare yourself... every run after this will be a slight letdown. The Whitehaven Beach shoreline is probably the most beautiful place you will ever get to run. Jules Why did you enter the run? This race is in such a unique location and so beautiful, that I had to say yes to doing it when Rachel asked if I was interested. What was your favorite part of the day? Being in the Whitsundays as a whole. The location, the people and the whole experience. It was all so unforgettable. We met so many wonderful people and it was my favorite place we visited while in Australia. I really enjoyed the post-race rewards because there was a great sense of camaraderie, and the fruit was delicious too! Why would you recommend other people do the Great Whitehaven Beach Run? Of all the races I’ve done it’s by far my favourite one. The location is so breathtaking; you almost forget that you’re doing an intense workout! Besides the beautiful beach, the race itself was extremely well organised. Everything a runner needs was provided, plus more. The staff were very welcoming and courteous. It is absolutely a bucket list moment for me. Tips: 1. Apply sunscreen, and then apply even more! It pays to be sun smart when you’re out running in the sun. 2. You absolutely should pack a swimsuit for after the race, and definitely bring the whole family! The Interstater Claudia joined us from Sydney. Why did you enter the run? I love running and use it as an excuse to travel and have a holiday. I am always looking for my next run to be different in some way. I’ve done the NYC and London marathon and once I saw the Great Whitehaven Beach Run I knew it was the next run for me! I had originally signed up for the half-marathon event, and then injured my ankle fairly badly two months out from the event playing soccer. I ended up downgrading my entry to the 5km run. I nearly pulled out all together from the event because of my injury, but I am so glad I didn’t. What was your favorite part of the day? My favorite part of the day was definitely getting a photo with the endurance athlete extraordinaire, Steve Moneghetti! Followed by the wonderful scenery. Whitehaven Beach is phenomenal, the sand is amazingly soft and feels great under your feet. The participation numbers for the event were also a good size and not over crowded like some of the events I’ve been to, which was nice and made it feel like a boutique and family friendly event. The event was really well organised and had a very professional set-up; there was plenty of shade, water and fresh fruit and even massages available to everyone. What did you like about the Hamilton Island part of your experience? Hamilton Island has a great atmosphere and feel to it. Everyone is friendly and helpful, which made us feel really welcome. We loved that we got to enjoy doing the jet ski tour and the off road adventure tour as part of our weekend away. The restaurant choices are also great. We really enjoyed eating at coca chu as it had a great atmosphere and the food was delicious. It was a short trip this time and we did not get to see everything, I hope to come back again and do the half marathon next year! Tips: It might be in winter but it will be warm. Winter in Hamilton Island is not really winter! So do some training with a hat and sunglasses to get use to wearing them, as you’ll need them on the day. The Local Andrea joined the day from Mackay. Why did you enter the run? I’d finished the Mackay Marina 8km run three weeks before this run and I wanted another run about that length. When I thought about it – the location made up my mind – how many times do we get opportunity to run on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world? I was scared about running on the sand but thought it was so worth giving it a go, just because it is such an amazing opportunity – definite bucket list material. What was your favorite part of the day? My favorite part of the day was running my first 10km ever without stopping or walking – crossing that line– getting a hug and congratulating words from the MC and a medal. I felt like I had accomplished something and got the recognition for it with the medal but that human element of the MC was awesome. Oh, and it was lovely afterwards to relax in the water and have a beautiful lunch on the beach. Why would you recommend other people do the Great Whitehaven Beach Run? It is such a beautiful day out. It’s not an expensive day and you get to run on such a beautiful beach. It was the best event I’ve ever been to. The staff were amazingly friendly and the whole event had a great feeling around it. Tips: Don’t be scared of running on the sand because it isn’t that different to running on any other hard surface. Don’t overthink it – everything will just happen, so you just need to turn up and run! Photo by Kara Rosenlund. Feeling inspired? Read all the details on our Great Whitehaven Beach Run or learn more about the other events in our endurance series. Alice is the Social Media and Content Editor for Hamilton Island. She travelled to Hamilton Island to cover the run. About the Author Part of the Whitsundays, and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is one of Australia’s most spectacular and sought-after holiday destinations. On a holiday to Hamilton Island, you'll be surrounded by pristine white beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life.