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Monday, May 10, 2021

Annual festival up and running

More than 2000 participants are expected to hit the pathways in the 14th annual City of Newcastle NewRun – Festival of Running this weekend.

After residents have attended the SailFest Newcastle signature event, the TP52 Gold Cup; the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona; or the national AON UNI7s Series on Saturday 10 April, they can then partake in either the new City of Newcastle Marathon (42.195km), Marathon Tyres Half Marathon (21.1km), Herald Hill to Harbour 10km, H Events 5km or Hunter Orthodontics 2k4Kids races less than 24 hours later.

The past 14 years have seen the course move from a single 10km dash to a full-blown Festival of Running Festival, with disciplines for all standard of recreational and elite runners.

“In the tick list of events that a great City needs to have, the marathon is right up there with the annual Newcastle Show, the footy grand final or maybe even a car race,” event director Paul Humphreys said.

“For Newcastle, it has been a while between drinks.

“The are many reasons for that, but none more obvious than the need to find somewhere to run 42.2km.”

Locating a venue to stage a large number of people is never as simple as it seems, according to Humphreys.

“Add to that, the need to keep traffic flowing in a dynamic cityscape, a massive influx of residents, providing directional and water stations, medical treatment, race timing, commentary, finish arches, barriers, while simultaneously staging five races from 42km to 2km for 2000 runners,” he said.

“At the very least, there are a few balls in the air.”

This year’s City of Newcastle Marathon will witness more than 300 individuals and 100 relay team members take on the challenge over four laps of a 10.55km course around Newcastle Harbour.

Another 1600 runners are taking on the shorter distances.

“H Events is grateful to the City of Newcastle for their sponsorship of the event in this difficult COVID-19 environment,” Humphreys said.

“It’s a great start to what has been a long time coming.

“The international marathon scene has been slowly changing, with communities and councils throughout the world asking event directors to reduce the footprint of their events.

“It’s ironic, that the very thing so many organisers feared would ruin marathon events, is improving the experience for runners, spectators and the non-event community alike.

“Traditionally, many marathons were destination runs, from one end of a city to another.

“Spectators got one look at the runners… if they were lucky.

“Lap courses reduce the course footprint and allow more atmosphere on each lap, provide runners more crowd interaction and make the road and pedestrian network more manageable.

“With Newcastle’s Foreshore path network, it was an obvious place to stage a small but burgeoning marathon event.”

The 2021 course is particularly complicated with various construction zones to navigate, but Humphreys is confident the wonderful vista along the harbour will quell any angst from runners.

“The marathon course runs east from Queens Wharf to the Newcastle Beach and then turns to return to Nobbys before running out along the new Macquarie Pier (break wall) and back,” he said.

“Then, it returns to pass Queens Wharf and into the Honeysuckle Foreshore at Argyle Street.

“The run also heads west through Honeysuckle until Worth Place, where it enters the new cycleway that runs along the harbour side of Honeysuckle Drive.

“Runners will then move from the protected chute onto the footpath to a turn point at the eastern end of the Wickham Marina before they return to the start.

“They’ll complete this loop four times, before finishing on the Market Street Lawns.

“There are some 80 marshals along the course, too.”

Online entries for all events will remain open until sold out, with organisers saying there are less than 100 remaining in the COVIDSafe maximin allowed numbers.

Check the website at www.newrun.com.au for details and entry links.

Participants reach King Edward Park.

Race start times

  • 6am – City of Newcastle Marathon starts on Wharf Road at Queens Wharf. Last finisher expected about 11.30am-noon;
  • 7am – Marathon Tyres Half Marathon starts on Wharf Road at Queens Wharf. This event runs to Bar Beach and back including Honeysuckle Foreshore;
  • 7.50am – H Events 5km event starts on Wharf Road at Queens Wharf;
  • 8.30am – Herald Hill to Harbour starts at Bar Beach and runs to Foreshore/Breakwall/Honeysuckle etc
  • 10am – Hunter Valley Orthodontics 2k4FUN – a non-timed participation event
  • Every runner gets a finisher medal

Event notice and changed traffic conditions

Newcastle Running Festival (Sunday 11 April – 5.30am-1pm)

The City of Newcastle Running Festival including the Herald Hill to Harbour Challenge (fun run) will be staged on the above date and time. A COVIDSafe plan is in place. The event includes full marathon (42.2km being 4 x 10.5km loops), half marathon, 10km, 5km and 2km courses. The event promotes the City of Newcastle and encourages health and fitness and will attract more than 2000 runners. Due to the size of the event, it is staged along roadways and paths, with two start and one finish venue at Bar Beach and Queens Wharf. To protect the safety of runners the following traffic management and pedestrian initiatives will be in place.

During these times you can expect road closures on or limited access to:

  • Memorial Drive – closed from Bar Beach Ave to Kilgour Ave 5.30am-9.15am;
  • Memorial Drive – closed from High St to Bar Beach Ave from 6.30am-9.15am (resident access on request – north bound only). No access during the start of Hill to Harbour 8.20am-9am;
  • Cliff Street and the top of The Terrace – Open always with runners on paths only;
  • York Road King Edward Park – closed 5.45am-9.30am;
  • Watt Street – runners on paths from King Edward Park entrance to Fletcher Park – 7am-9.30am;
  • Fletcher Park – runner on paths – 7am-9.30am;
  • Shortland Esplanade – Ocean Street to Watt Street – One-way contra flow (open at all times);
  • Shortland Esplanade – Watt Street to Ocean Street – One-way contra flow (open all times);
  • Shortland Esplanade – Zaara Street to Nobbys roundabout closed – 5am-11.30am;
  • Wharf Road from Watt Street to Nobbys Road from 5.30am-11.30am;
  • Wharf Road from Watt Street to Argyle Street closed from 4am-11.30am (access to apartments from Argyle end via slip lane, city side) No access east of apartments;
  • Honeysuckle promenade – runners on the harbour side of the walk-ways both directions – 6am-11.30am;
  • Honeysuckle Drive harbour side paths and cycleways from Worth Place to the eastern end of the Wickham Marina – runners – 6.15am-11.30am
  • Please do not park on any part of the course, as any vehicles parked on the course will not be able to leave until the course is reopened.

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