Thursday, September 7, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Trail Fest This Weekend

Endurance athletes from around the country are flocking into the region this week ahead of the Accom Whitsunday Trail Fest which is due to kick-off on Sunday morning.

With a variety of off-road racing events, the Trail Fest offers something for everyone, from beginners and children all the way through to experienced athletes looking to bring home a trophy.

Organised by the Whitsunday Running Club, the event is now in its 18th year and 2023 is expected to be another huge event with 120 participants registered.

Race Director Andrea Farley said she is thrilled to see competitors come from around the country and even some international guests attend this year.

“Trail Fest is a great way to explore our national parks and celebrate our region,” she said.

“It a community event, supported by local sponsors and run by volunteers from the Running Club.”

The most ambitious race on the event day calendar is the 58-kilometre Shokz Ultra which is now in its sixth year and has become a popular challenge for members of the Australian Trail Running Community.

A traditional favourite is the 28-kilometre Accom Whitsunday Trail which started back at Trail Fest’s inception in 2005.

The original and still most popular distance, this race is a point-to-point run from Brandy Creek to Airlie Beach.

Current records are held by women’s champ Montanna Mcavoy who completed the trail in 2.37.06 hours in 2022 and men’s reining champ Sam Stedman who completed the trail in 2.29.44 back in 2021.

This race maintains its position as the Whitsundays preeminent off-road race, attracting trail runners from Australia and overseas.

While many of the events are challenging for experienced runners, there is also something for beginners and children, with a range of other events perfect for those wanting to give trail running a go.

The Honeyeater Ray White Challenge 10.5-kilometre challenge is quickly becoming a popular favourite trail run for beginner runners and, while it is a challenging run, ascending into the clouds towards the lookout, the view atop is as rewarding as the race.

Children are invited to enjoy a fun and lively race at the Tarkine Kids Beach Bash which runs along the Airlie Beach Foreshore to the Dugong then back towards the start and then another lap along the beach.

At approximately 1400 meters, the race is challenging but also achievable for children from 4-12 years of age.

The day’s event concludes with the popular Survivors Beach Bash which is open for participants who ran the 28-kilometre, 58 kilometre, or volunteers.

This fun run is a great way to celebrate the event and the first male and female will win lucky dip prizes.

Winners of each category will receive a medal and there are cash prizes for anyone who beats an existing record.

The community are also invited to come down and watch or participate on the day.


4:30am      Competitors for 58 km meet.

5:00am      START – 58 km race.

5:00am      Competitors 28 km meet.

5:30am      28 km bus leaves from Race Precinct to Brandy Creek

6:30am       START – 28 km from Brandy Creek

8:30am      Race Briefing for Honeyeater Challenge

9:00am       Honeyeater 10.5

10:30am     Kids Beach Run

1:00pm       Presentations

2:30pm       Survivors Beach Bash

Trail Fest organisers, Andrea Farley, Chris Harvey, Robyn Corrigan, and Liv Compton, Photo credit: Bronte Hodge

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