Some of the best runners in Australia will take in spectacular views of Newcastle as they weave in and out of the coastline and bushland.
An inaugural trail run, The Coastal Ascent, will start and finish at Dixon Park on Sunday 28 April.
It includes two distance options – 25 kilometres and 11kms– with runners to face two sets of 100 stairs, as well as 2.5kms of sand, single track running, and hill climbs and descents.
Organiser Vlad Shatrov, a Novocastrian and ultra-trail running legend, says it has grown in popularity.
“It’s really started to take off in the last few years – there are more events now and people are looking for a different kind of running challenge,” he tells Newcastle Weekly.
“People will do the same type of distance on the road in two hours, but it’s much more difficult [on the trails] due to things like uneven surfaces and hills and can take twice as long.
“It is always in scenic locations as well – on the road it’s relatively safe and there is plenty of support.
“But, with trail running, quite often you don’t see someone for an hour.
“So, the fear of doing that and then conquering it stays with people for longer.”
Shatrov adds he is determined to produce a race in Newcastle that everyone can enjoy.
Apart from the two main distances, there will also be a Kids Beach Bolt Mile, while DJ tunes, medals and a festive atmosphere are set to greet runners as they fly down Bathers Way on the final push home.
The event has attracted about 600 entries so far, including the likes of 10,000 metres champion Ben St Lawrence and renowned trail runners Matt Abel and Dave Byrne.
“I want this to be so much more than just another trail run – the aim is to for it to be iconic, close to the city, and make people go: ‘Wow, I want to do that again,’” Shatrov says.
The 25km distance will start at 7.30am, before the 11km takes off at 9am.
The Kids Beach Bolt Mile wraps up the races at 11am.
Visit coastalascent.com.au for more information.