TRAIL RUN: Competitors take on the Conway Range in last year's Run the Great Whitsunday Trail event.
TRAIL RUN: Competitors take on the Conway Range in last year's Run the Great Whitsunday Trail event. jah

Athletes amped for big run

THE 11th annual Run the Great Whitsunday Trail is all set to go this weekend and there is still time to register.

Athletes have until tonight to sign up with three distances on offer which cater to athletes of all abilities and ages.

Local runner Shane Bellert will be running this event for the first time, having only commenced his running career in December 2015 with the start of parkrun Airlie Beach.

"My original time was just under 40 minutes to complete the 5km run. I then joined Whitsunday Running Club in 2016 and with training and coaching saw a dramatic improvement in times and fitness,” he said.

"I am very excited to be running my first trail run in my home town”

Run the Great Whitsunday Trail is a tough, hilly 28 kilometre trail run.

Bellert remembers last year watching the competitors as a spectator and was inspired by the winner of the ultra event - Australian 2016 Ultra Runner of the year, and a world champion long distance runner, Brendan Davies.

There have been some changes to the course for this year's event following TC Debbie.

The Ultra Distance of 57.4 from last year has been cancelled, for this year only, and the standard distance will now start and finish at Brandy Creek, an out and back course.

The shorter distances of 2km and 4.5km will also be held at the same location and will be run on Sunday.

"We are delighted to be able to continue to run this iconic event despite all the odds, and with thanks to Queensland Parks and Wildlife service, Whitsunday Regional Council and the SES who have helped to make it all happen” said event organiser Wendy Downes.

Race bag pick-up is on Saturday afternoon between 3-6pm.

At 4.30pm, event ambassador Brendan Davies, will be on hand at the Brandy Creek car park marking the beginning of the trail to share his extensive knowledge.

Also the founder of event charity of choice LIVIN, Sam Webb will be there to give advice.

Call event manager, Wendy Downes to register today on 0418 768 493.