If you’re up for a challenge, the inaugural Beach to Brother event kicks off on September 25 this year. With a Marathon (including a Team-Relay), Half Marathon and 10 km distances on offer, the course terrain covers sand, tracks and trails, and rocks. The finish line? Well … you’ll need to run up North Brother Mountain to get there! Event organiser Mick Maher tells us more …
Hi Mick. Tell us a bit about your history … How did you first become interested in running?
It’s quite funny, I never really enjoyed sport much at school; however, I decided to start running in my final year, as I wanted to join the British Military. It’s amazing how when you actually choose to do something, you can achieve so much! I realised I had found something I could do either alone or with friends. My natural ability to run, and learning to tolerate discomfort during sport, helped me to pursue my dream of becoming a member of the British Special Air Service.
Now, I value running as a life-long skill that not only helps me to remain physically fit, but helps me to mentally disengage in today’s fast paced society.
What’s your business, and how does it help fellow athletes/runners?
I own and operate VO2 Performance Coaching. The focus of the business is to provide coaching, education, and events in a multitude of sports and to all age groups. However, the business is recognised more so, locally, for its triathlon specific programme. The programme has achieved tremendous results, having helped every athlete to date achieve a personal best whilst on-programme.
These results relate to athletes competing in cycling, running, swimming, and multisport events. Fortunately, not many other coaching businesses are able to say this; and this statistic does keep me on my toes, every day, when I’m helping people to improve and achieve in their chosen sport.
You’ve planned an event for September 25, called Beach to Brother. Please explain what distance/s this will cover, and give us some idea of the route …
The Beach to Brother Event offers Marathon (including a Team-Relay), Half Marathon, and 10 km distances. It’s called the Beach to Brother, as all three distances start on a beach and finish atop North Brother Mountain. The course for the Marathon and Team-Relay starts on Town Beach and hugs the coastline as best possible, utilising a majority of the Port Macquarie Coastal Walk before heading south along Lighthouse Beach, taking a couple of trail detours along the way, before connecting with the Half-Marathon course start at Lake Cathie Beach.
From here, the course continues south, leaving the beach to skirt the boardwalk of the North Coast Holiday Parks at Bonny hills, meander the expanse of Grants Head, and blaze through Grants Beach Bush-Track, before arriving at the 10 km start line – Camden Haven SLSC.
The course then proceeds along the breakwall, following the waterline around North Haven and Laurieton, before entering North Brother Mountain at Mill Street. It’s all uphill from here! 2.2 km up the trail to finish on a high!
What time will Beach to Brother kick off, and where is the meet point?
The Marathon and Team Relay start at 0630hrs and 0645hrs at Town Beach Port Macquarie, close to the Break Wall; the Half Marathon at 0800hrs at Lake Cathie Beach, on the south side of the opening; the 10 km at 0900hrs at the front of Camden Haven SLSC on the Beach.
This sounds like a tough course. How many times have you personally run this route – and what’s your advice re the terrain competitors will encounter?
All three of the distances will prove a challenge to runners of all abilities. There’s no questioning it’s a tough event. I didn’t design it to be easy! Having to finish going up 2.2 km of steep trail is certainly a shock to both legs and lungs. However, it’s a great sense of achievement when you’re up there mulling the view.
I’ve personally run the Marathon course eleven times whilst creating the event. My advice would be to pick your shoes well! The variety in terrain/surface means you need an all-round shoe. Some of the sections are tricky and can be slippery, so make sure you have some shoes with good grippy soles. There’s sand running (on low tide this year), trails, rock hopping, pathways, hills … you name it, and it’s in there! My feet were pretty sore the first few times, until I found the right shoe for this course!
Second to shoe selection, participants will need to run their own race and ensure they are taking in enough fluids and nutrition to get them through effectively.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for their support in helping to get Beach to Brother off the ground?
Firstly, my wife and children have been so supportive and patient with me during the development process. People underestimate what goes on to develop an event, especially alone, and my family have tolerated me working all hours throughout the process!
In addition to this, the sponsors who have come on board to ensure the event takes place – Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Percival Property, Enriched Health Care, Coastal Sports and Fitness, Higgins & Dix Lawyers, Bendigo Bank PMQ, Altra Runners, Hammer Nutrition, and National Parks. Without their assistance, this event could not take place this year! I know they support so many things in our community, and they have all demonstrated their support once again to promote healthy activities in our region.
How do people register for the event?
Individuals are able to register online. Simply go to the website: www.beachtobrother.com.au to find out more and click “ENTER NOW”. Entries to the inaugural event are limited, so I would suggest getting in quick if you want to receive the inaugural medal at the finish line! Pre-race compulsory registration will be held on Saturday 24th September; if there are spaces available, we will accept registrations on this day.
Final say …
The event is fundraising for Surf Lifesaving Clubs from Port Macquarie to Laurieton, so please show your support, as they provide so much support to each and every one of us when we visit the beach. Members from SLSCs will be assisting at some of the aid stations. Let’s show our support and make a donation during the entry process. Additionally, we are in need of more volunteers to assist on the day. If you are able to assist, please email: email@example.com to register your interest.
Interview by Jo Robinson.
Photos courtesy of: www.nashyspix.com