Location: Strahan, west coast Tas
Distances: 2, 6 and 9km
The rain pelted the windows of my Cabin window as I reluctantly pinned my number to my singlet only minutes from the race start. Runners stood under makeshift shelters arms crossed and huddled. The starting line was alarmingly quiet. I started to wonder if maybe the event organisers had called off the event. However, true to the community spirit which drives this event (reflected in being awarded the Gold medal for Tasmanian community fitness initiative awards) the organisers suddenly appeared and so to the brave runners about to take part in the 2014 Strahan Beach to Bay Run. With renewed motivation from my fellow runners braving the conditions, I moved from the comfort of my Strahan Caravan Park Cabin (highly recommended for accommodation in Strahan) and into the horrid weather.
The Beach to Bay Fun run is a relatively new one to the Tasmanian fun run calendar. Its inaugural year was 2012 and the event is generally held the first Saturday each November. Emphasising community wellbeing, the run is the central event in a wellbeing festival advocating community participation and health. There are three races: a 2km run for children, a shorter 6km fun run and the 9km fun run. Other events on the day include cooking demonstrations, Taiko drumming performances, a “sling the salmon competition” (as the name suggests – a competition with the aim of projecting a salmon carcass the furthest), children activities and healthy food and beverages. As previously mentioned, the event was awarded the 2014 Gold Award at the Active Tasmania Awards Ceremony.
The course is scenic and relatively flat with the 9km event having two steep inclines to test the heart and lungs. The course is predominately bitumen with stretches of footpath and flat gravel trails. The course winds its way around the beautiful Strahan waterfront with the 9 km heading over the headland to Barnes Bay and return. A large crowd of spectators are generally present along the main restaurant strip, offering much appreciated encouragement for participants. The race finishes back at the site of festivities – a park near the water’s edge where participants can then enjoy a well-earned fun day out with a wide array of activities.
I slowly began to warm up with other participants as we eagerly awaited the starter’s gun. The rain slowly started to clear much to our collective relief. The gun fired and we were off – runners and walkers of all abilities. I enjoyed the prevailing tailwind as I settled into a rhythm along the water’s edge. I conquered the two steep hills and was soon on the return. Encouragement from volunteers and fellow participants was well appreciated. Being an out and back course, the camaraderie of “front-of-the-packers” and “back-of-the-packers” was evident with words of encouragement and thumbs up as the return runners headed for home. The last half was much more difficult than previous years with a strong headwind. Yet despite the less than ideal weather, I enjoyed every second of the race immensely. Prize money is awarded to the first open male and female runners in each event and also to the first under 16s. Generous sport prizes as well as team awards are awarded. If you are a competitive “salmon-slinger” there is also an extremely generous prize for that as well!
I highly recommend the race for people of all ages and abilities. It offers a great weekend “getaway”. The drive is an adventure in itself – beautiful ever-changing scenery.
Event profile by David Bailey