Over 1400 people took to Newcastle’s seaside streets on Sunday for the four events of the 12th annual NewRun running festival.
Organisers were expecting “gale force winds” and while runners didn’t quite have to battle with those extremes, it was still a hard slog in the coastline races.
The Half Marathon began first, with 451 competitors taking to the Queens Wharf to Bar Beach and back course, a 21.1km run with a double dose of headwind.
Rob Bennett claimed the honours in a time of 1:18:30 and was over a minute clear of 2nd placed Jordan Cowley (1:19:47). There was another minute to Hamish Graham (1:21:23) who finished third.
Regina Wright was the first female across the line and 12th overall with a time of 1:27:51. She was followed by Jessica Purbrick (1:32:42) and Danielle Hart (1:33:14).
In the Hill to Harbour 10km, Guy Walters ran a red-hot time of 33:01 to win the race of 686 competitors. He was followed by Steven Chung (35:19) and James Alexander (35:35) who fought out a close battle for the runner up title. For the women, Ingrid Cleland was first in 39:56 and ran 15th overall, followed by Felicity Gamble in second (40:16) and Katie Porra in third (42:12).
Event director Paul Humphreys said runners handled the windy conditions well.
“Overall it went great, we were expecting gale force winds but that didn’t end up happening,” he said.
“It was still blowy but it was handleable. The times were pretty good, the winning 10km time of 33 minutes was pretty snappy.”
Mr Humphreys said over 40 per cent of runners were from outside greater Newcastle, which included Maitland, with 25 per cent from Sydney or the Central Coast. He said numbers were slightly down on previous years, but put it down to the amount of construction work in the city. He does, however, expect the festival to grow in future years.
“A lot of people were worried about getting parks and getting into Newcastle,” he said. “But that’s just a function of the construction that’s going on everywhere. They dug up Wharf Road right next to our finish line two days before our event. It was inconvenient, but that’s just the nature of working here at the moment.
“In terms of wanting to stay in this area, a few people have said: ‘wouldn’t it be easier in a park?’… well, it probably would be easier but next year the Market Street lawns and the old railway line are going to be beautiful.
“My view is that the Newcastle running festival should be held right in the centre of Newcastle. I’m confident we’ll get growth in future years.”
NewRun is organised by H Events, who next host the Maitland River Run on June 3, featuring a half marathon and 12, 8 and 4km races.