Hilly 'Half'; a half marathon no more Posted by Steve Jackson - 3 November 2023 The Hilly Half has continued to evolve over the years, utilising the ever expanding and improved trail network! The event originally included a challenging Resort loop that incorporated ascents of One Tree Hill from either side and a start/finish within the Marina. In fact, our first event which started with 13 competitors and 27 volunteers, began at Trader Petes, our inaugural sponsor! Runners are briefed before the 2022 event. With increasing access to the stunning bush section and the growth in the event, we have been able to transition across to arguably the most stunning trail event in the country and base ourselves on Catseye Beach at the amazing Beach Pavillion. With the continued improvements to our trail network, the Hilly Half as we know it has outgrown its name. In 2023, subject to building conditions, we are hoping to unveil two new sections. The first will keep the field on the much wider fire trail all the way to Hideaway Bay at the start of the race to reduce the bottleneck as we merge onto single track. This route would be your 'outbound' track on Loops 1 & 3. The new section would connect to Saddle Junction and on Loop 1, runners continue down (and back) to Escape Beach, whilst on Loop 3, runners turn left and onwards to Passage Peak. The return on theses loops would be via the Scenic Trail ensuring we reduce the instance of two-way traffic. Shall this link be completed, it will add more distance to the event and you will end up looking at approximately 24.5km in total. One new section which will definitely be utilised on race day, is for the descent from Resort Lookout on Loop 2. This new section of single-track removes a tricky descent on loose gravel and now sees you sweep safely down with some fun twists and turns! In short, use this following 4 weeks to beef up your mileage; the Hilly Half is in fact going to be between 23 and 25km - a bonus 2-4km of stunning Hamilton Island bushland and views! Quads are key in this event! TOP TIPS Regardless of the final distance, the Hilly Half is tougher than your average run; train to run an extra 25% on top of your normal time for 25km. Quads are key! Running relies heavily on what we know as the 'posterior chain'; in particular the glutes, hamstrings and calves. But descending steep hills and stairs will test your quads - do some extra practice descending and some leg strengthening exercises to help prepare. It will make walking downstairs the next day bearable! Walk wisely, walk with purpose. Sure you COULD run this hill; but maybe it's worth bottling that energy up for the flat sections and downhills? So walk wisely but walk with purpose. Low, long and strong strides on the steep uphills. If nothing else; your mindset will stay positive. A trudge will speed your feeling of being defeated. So power hike and remember, what goes up, must come down! Shoe of choice? I'd definitely lean towards a trail shoe, but you can get by with regular road shoes with good grip. Smile. There's increasing science around the benefits of smiling while you run. So enjoy it, chat with your fellow runners, thank our amazing volunteers, take photos... you are running on Hamilton Island; race hard and recover harder! About the Author Runner, coach, race director, tour leader, husband and father of two. Steve has always been passionately involved in an active lifestyle and has always sought to share the benefits of sport with the community. So with the Whitsundays as a blank canvas; it seemed only fitting that it had events like the Endurance Series to showcase the natural beauty of the region in a fun, challenging, yet rewarding way!