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Best Running Routes on the Sunshine Coast

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by Heath Hewitt (subscribe)
Writer and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Redcliffe, Queensland.
Published September 20th 2012
Get outside, get running, and see what the region can offer
The Sunshine Coast seems to have an affiliation with fitness and health. They help us to host some fantastic events every year, from the Noosa Triathlon to the Sunshine Coast Marathon. All are making the most of our beautiful region.

But training for these events can be tough - mentally and physically. So I've compiled a list of the toughest, most challenging and most scenic running tracks on the Sunshine Coast to test yourself ahead of your big race day.

For your convenience, you'll also find a customised Google Map displaying all races below here.

Cotton Tree-Mooloolaba

One way: 6km
Return: 12km
Alexandra Headland - you may want to stop and enjoy the view
Alexandra Headland - you may want to stop and enjoy the view

This is a good one for anyone looking to get serious about running. This is one of the most picturesque runs you could ask for taking you from beautiful Cotton Tree to tourist hot spot Mooloolaba, past Maroochydore Beach and Alexandra Headland running along the coastline the entire way.
Cotton Tree - a great place to start any run
Cotton Tree - a great place to start any run

It's a great distance for anyone who has just gotten into running regularly. At the right time of day you'll get a nice, cool breeze rolling in off the beach to help you along the way- it's perfect on a summer's day.

And while I'd hardly call it a challenge, running up the headland may be one of the hardest parts of the run. It's not that steep but after all the running you do to get there you will be wishing it was a bit flatter.

This run is also great as it passes a number of water stops and toilets should you need them.
Running up the Mooloolaba spit, looking towards Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore
Running up the Mooloolaba spit, looking towards Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore


Cotton Tree-Bli Bli
One way: 8.20km
Return: 16.4km

This one is for those seeking a long distance challenge. You'll have a beautiful, peaceful run from Cotton Tree to Bli Bli.

There are a couple of ways you can go once you come to the Sunshine Motorway, over the bridge and east along David Low Way or just follow Bradman Ave until it becomes David Low Way. Going over the Motorway is going to put you near a lot of cars - so if you want something a bit more peaceful I'd advice against this.

You've got quite the landmark to run for - Sunshine Castle at Bli Bli. Believe me, you won't miss it.

Maroochydore to Nambour
One way: 15.7km
Return: 31.4km

If you're training for a marathon I'd say this is a good route to make sure you're in shape.

The road out to Nambour isn't all smooth sailing - there are plenty of hills along the way. According to Map My Run, if you're running along Petrie Creek Rd you can expect a couple of climbs worth 55.12m as you approach Nambour.

This isn't for the faint of heart - make sure you're prepared with plenty of water on this one. Consider arranging a ride back to Maroochydore once you reach Nambour is the 31.4km is too much.

Mount Coolum

One way: 800m
Return: 1.6km
Your reward for a hard run up Mount Coolum
Your reward for a hard run up Mount Coolum

This is one of my favourites. Mount Coolum is a fantastic way to test just how much your running has improved. I do this at least once a month and am always surprised how far I've come along.
Enjoy the walk down
Enjoy the walk down

Mount Coolum is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. Don't go all out guns blazing at the start. It may feel like a breeze at first but that elevation is going to get to you. Soon enough you'll be faced with steep steps, probably about the same place you get a magnificent view of the beach and coastline, all the way from Noosa to Caloundra.
Beautifully formed
Beautifully formed

Don't be afraid to use your hands - on those steep steps you will really need to. To set an impressive time you've got to keep moving, don't allow yourself a moment's rest. Once you've cleared the steps you've got a bit more to go before you can claim you've finished. Be sure to watch your stepping at all times and watch out for others on the track - I've noticed a lot of people wearing headphones recently and won't hear you gasping for breath as you approach them from the rear.
You'll feel like a king after conquering Mount Coolum
You'll feel like a king after conquering Mount Coolum

Touch the fence at the top and stop the watch. Anything under 15 minutes is good, according to the team at International Fitness Studio in Maroochydore. They use the Mount Coolum run as a test once a month for their clients.
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