We all know how this thing usually plays out. On January 1, filled with hope for the year ahead – as well as an extra layer of cushioning thanks to festive feasting – we make resolutions about our health. Maybe we vow to eat better, drink less, or move more. And, usually, we make great starts on these promises for the next five days, before good intentions get lost in temptations and busy schedules.
Let’s make this year different. Let’s commit to longer, lasting change and set ourselves up for successful smugness as the year unfolds. Are you feeling motivated by this rousing speech? Feeling excited by the idea? Excellent: book yourself into one of these great fitness events while the iron’s hot. Because nothing helps you nail a new year’s resolution like having a specific goal to work towards. Knowing you’ve already paid for something is also a big motivator.
Start the year off right and sign yourself up for the Wollongong Aquathon. Taking place on Australia Day, this is a swim and run combo with four fitness friendly distances to choose from. If even the 200 metre swim and 2km run package seems too much to conquer, make it a team event and focus your efforts on just one leg. First prize is a tandem skydive, so entering this event is a great way to keep your new year’s resolution alive and well and have the chance to tick something off the bucket list.
ROC Race is next on the agenda, kicking off in Sydney on February 4. Events in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and the Gold Coast follow shortly after so pick your location and run with it. ROC is a 5km obstacle course, filled with the kind of fun inflatable challenges you’ve probably seen many times on TV but never in real life. There are 12 obstacles all up, including the infamous wrecking balls (Miley not included), barrel jump (or roll and flop if you’re feeling lazy), and a gigantic 4-storey waterslide to finish. Who knew a 5km run could be so much fun?
Miss Muddy – Australia’s sole female-only obstacle course – is also 5km in length and best described as Tough Mudder, the Colour Run, and a foam party all rolled into one. This event’s also making its way around the country, with Canberra the first cab off the rank on February 25. Check out the website for other locations and dates.
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For those of you who say pfft to 5kms, the Oxfam Trailwalker might be more your style. The focus is firmly on endurance as you’ll cover either 50kms or 100kms, a feat which takes most teams around 30 hours. So yes, chances are you’ll be walking through the night. With great challenge comes great reward and as well as feeling pretty chuffed with yourself at the finish line, you’ll be happy to know any funds you raise will help combat poverty. Trailwalker kicks off in Melbourne on 7-9 April, with Sydney, Brisbane and Perth events following later in the year.
Tough Mudder rose to fitness-fame when it burst onto the scene a few years ago. In 2017 it will grace both the Sunshine Coast (May 20 – 21) and Melbourne (October 28 – 29), offering competitors a choice between a 10km course with 13 obstacles and a 20km course with 20 obstacles. While no two courses are the same, you’re bound to encounter obstacles that include fire, electric shocks and a whole lot of mud. There are also a few obstacles making their debut this year, such as the aptly named Augustus Gloop, which sees mudders clamber up a small tube while fighting a constant downpour of water. This is not one for the faint of heart.
From small, muddy spaces to vast, airy expanses: the next event on the cards is the Great Ocean Road Running Festival, which has everything from an Ultra Marathon through to an easy 6km run. The scenery is spectacular (an absolute pleasure) but the road is hilly (a source of pain) so if you sign up for this one, best make sure you don’t just train on flat terrain. The festival takes place May 20 – 21.
City2Surf is the harbour city’s most iconic run, stretching 14km from Hyde Park to the sands of Bondi Beach. Heartbreak Hill is the only obstacle in your path but the good news is once you’ve reached the top you know you’re half-way through the course. City2Surf, which is being run on August 14 this year, is the biggest fun run in the world, attracting up to 80,000 entrants. While this can make for a cramped starting line it also ensures epic after parties. You’d best take the following day off work.
If you’re really looking to up the ante in 2017, consider the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge which takes participants 5 days and 600km across the scorching Simpson Desert. The course traverses 700 sand dunes, salt lakes, and enormous cattle stations, finishing in the iconic outback town of Birdsville. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience and offers riders the chance to see some of the most remote parts of Australia. This year’s event starts on September 26 at Purni Bore, a two-day drive from Adelaide.
Noosa Triathlon on November 5 offers a physical challenge much closer to both civilisation and the great Australian coastline. You can enter as an individual or a team and, once the race is done, bask in the glory of being in one of the most beautiful regions on Earth.
Last on our list is the Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim. Iconic? Yes. Easy? No. At a distance of 2.4kms, this would be challenging even in a pool, but add in the currents of the open ocean and you have one of the best workouts of the year. On the plus side, you’re surrounded by iconic beaches, stunning scenery, and beautiful Bondi locals.