Canberra offers a unique opportunity to race multiple times a week without hours spent travelling or hefty entry costs. The options are explored below:
The YMCA of Canberra Runners Club has long been the heartbeat of running in Canberra. For a small fee, join the club and gain access to weekly races all year round. Tuesday night races during Spring (October-November) and Summer (February-March) are highly popular, while Saturday morning races in Autumn will be held at Stromlo Forest Park. One of the feature races for the year, is the picturesque Rex Foulkes Half Marathon (also the traditional ACT Half Marathon), which happens in May each year and almost always in superb conditions. The YMCA Canberra Runners Club also organises the Womens Jogalong (see Running for Women) as well as numerous training programs throughout the year.
Parkrun is a free weekly 5km happening every Saturday morning at 8am, it is an ideal hit out for novice runners to through to elites. There are three locations to choose from in Canberra; Ginninderra parkrun held around Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen, Gungahlin parkrun held at Yerrabi Pond, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong parkrun held around Lake Tuggeranong in Canberra’s south.
Canberra has a great history and tradition of Orienteering, which in recent times has produced elite athletes such as Julian Dent and Oliver Poland. For the competitive Orienteer, The Runners Shop Twilight Series takes place every Wednesday evening from October right through to March. For novices, the Monday night Street Orienteering offers the perfect introduction.
Numerous mountain running events occur regularly in Canberra. On the first Tuesday of each month there is a race up Mount Ainslie, while the third Tuesday of each month is a run up Black Mountain. One of the highlights on the mountain running calendar in Canberra is the Bush Capital Marathon festival held in late July each year. Events range from a 2km children’s run up to the full 63.3km ultra and relay. Keep an eye out also for The Runners Shop / Brooks Black Mountain Challenge, held on the second Sunday in December.
The biggest running event held in Canberra happens in April, taking in the picturesque sights around Lake Burley Griffin in central Canberra. Events range from 5km and 10km fun runs up to the half, full and ultra-marathons.
The Weston Creek Athletic Club runs a half marathon in March and a 6k fun run in October each year. Full details can be found on the Weston Creek Athletics Club website.
In addition to the wonderful variety mention above, there are of course several corporate fun runs held throughout the year. The calendar on CoolRunning Australia can be a great source of information regarding whats available in the ACT and interstate.