The Big Beach Challenge will enjoy top billing on Surfest Sunday with this year’s event to be held on the finals day of Newcastle’s festival of surfing on February 28 2016.

Big Beach Challenge organiser Paul Humphreys is excited by the new partnership and believes it is a step towards the event becoming one of the country’s classic sand runs.

‘Surfest has such a rich and wonderful history – it is an iconic event for not only Newcastle but for Australia and to be able to hold the Big Beach Challenge in association with that is really exciting,’ Humphreys said.

‘There will be a lot of spectators lining the beach already to watch the world’s best surfers in action and we expect the Big Beach Challenge to gain a lot of support from those spectators.’

The Big Beach Challenge was previously held in Spring but Humphreys said moving it to Surfest finals morning at Merewether beach was a great opportunity to partner two sporting events on the community calendar.

‘When I first spoke to Surfest organiser Warren Smith about changing the date of the Big Beach Challenge to coincide with Surfest I thought it might be too hot,’ Humphreys said.

‘But we have since agreed that with an early start, it would be an ideal opportunity to cross-promote both events.’

The gruelling run was originally staged from Birubi beach to Stockton but had to be cancelled in 2012 due to erosion along Stockton Bight.

It was previously run over a 32km course but this year due to the hotter time of year there will be three distances on offer – 3km, 6km or 15km - using a 3km looped course between Merewether beach and Bar Beach.

The course will comprise a combination of soft and hard sand and should accommodate hard-core sand runners as well as recreational participants.

The 15km event is expected to take runners between 1.5 and 3.5 hours and with the added challenge of the hard and soft sand is likely to make this much more difficult than a half marathon event.

Taking the tide into account the event will start on the low tide, with some participants finishing on the high tide and therefore more soft sand.


Runners can get more information via the event website at   

21 January 2015

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