Training for the Hilly Half Marathon

Hilly Half Marathon Hamilton Island

Competitors tackling One Tree Hill in 2011 (Photo: Hamilton Island Photography)

Bush Walk Hamilton Island

The bush trails of Hamilton Island get taken over by competitors on 6 May (Photo: Fiona Mann)


I should throw out a disclaimer here and now – I’m not training for the Hilly Half Marathon (water is more my thing!), but I see from the sign-up sheet at the Sports Club that there are plenty of Island residents who are. The ‘starter’ group are being broken-in for the May event as we speak – of course the hard core runners never stop training.

Last year, local helicopter pilot Rob Matthews secured a home town win in the fifth Westpac Hilly Half Marathon, setting a race record of 1hr:55min:39sec in the process. He beat Mackay runner Mark McFadzen and Norwegian backpacker Magnus Larsen, who saw the event advertised whilst travelling through Airlie Beach and added the race to his itinerary! The women’s division saw less than three minutes separating the top three runners, with Catherine Cartmill of Brisbane finishing over the top of Island local Michaella Trigg and Mackay’s Janelle Tilse. Others run the race in teams with three runners taking a 7km leg each.

The race certainly lives up to its name. My buggy would have trouble making it around the course which has three legs: from the race start/finish on Front Street, the first leg takes in a loop up to qualia taking on One Tree Hill; the second leg leads runners from the Resort Centre up into the walking trails, where they tackle Passage Peak and South East Head; the third leg starts with a brutal descent into Coral Cove and an even more brutal return leg before heading back towards the marina.

Westpac supported a revamped kids race with choices of 750m, 1.5km and 3km distances and it was embraced by the thirty plus youngsters who took part and their enthusiastic families cheering them on. All received a prize pack containing Westpac and Hamilton Island goodies but nothing could top the free ice cream voucher kindly donated by long-time supporters Don and Lyn Smith from their Front Street Parlour!

The stars of the future at Hamilton Island's Hilly Half Marathon

The stars of the future at Hamilton Island's Hilly Half Marathon 2011 (Photo: Hamilton Island Photography)