A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Pound the pavement and raise money for a good cause
Australia's most spectacular running festival is approaching faster than Usain Bolt. The 2012 edition of the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival will take place on Sunday September 16, with tens of thousands of Sydneysiders taking to the streets in four athletic events, challenging themselves and raising money for charity at the same time.
There's something to suit runners of all fitness levels, starting with the 3.5km Family Fun Run. Whether you choose to walk or run this easy course, you can enjoy a day out with family and friends and enjoy travelling over the main deck of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
For something a little more challenging but still quite achievable, the 9km Bridge Run is next on the list. This course takes in some of Sydney's most beautiful sights, including the Harbour Bridge and Mrs Macquarie's Chair before finishing at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
If this is still a little too pedestrian for you, the next step up is the Half Marathon, which once again includes some of Sydney's most famous landmarks in its 21km course.
But the showpiece event of the festival is the Sydney Marathon. The 42km course takes in Sydney's most iconic landmarks, such as the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. In 2011, Kenyan Joel Kemboi crossed the line in just over two hours and 17 minutes to take the victory.
Last year, some 35,000 people ran across the Harbour Bridge, resulting in some stunning media images that were beamed around the world. The aim of the festival is to promote fitness and health for the NSW community and to position Sydney as an international tourist destination, and it certainly does that.
But rather than just running to challenge yourself, participants are also encouraged to run for a cause and raise money for charity. And if you raise enough money in 2012, you get your entry fee refunded.
Over the years, the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival has raised more than $9.6 million for charitable causes, including a record $2.4 million in 2011. The target for 2012 is $2.5 million and, if the event is as well supported as it was last year, that goal is well within reach.