For growing numbers of business travellers, heading out of town for work presents a chance to tackle an event on their fitness bucket list, or simply test themselves in a different setting. It might be anything from a quick, cobweb-clearing triathlon to a 42-kilometre marathon. Either way, they will get back on that plane celebrating more than just closing a deal.
Here are six events where you get to mix business with pleasure – and a little bit of virtuous pain.
What Cycle Epic (cycleepic.com)
When September 10-11, 2016
Fifty-five minutes’ drive west of Brisbane is the Hidden Vale Adventure Park, home to one of Australia’s seminal mountain bike races, the Cycle Epic. Headlined by an 87-kilometre course, the Cycle Epic offers five different distances over a rolling single-track through farms and forests. Old-school mountain bikers, in particular, will relish the rough-hewn trails and the challenges posed by a long-distance “bush bash”. The event has now expanded to cater for runners, with the inclusion of the Trail Run Epic.
What Studley Park Night Race (rapidascent.com.au/hokaoneonetrailseries)
Discipline Trail running
When September 23, 2016
Yarra Bend Park is an oasis of green close to Melbourne’s CBD. It’s now also the site of Australia’s first after-dark trail running event, the Studley Park Night Race. Raced over 15, 10.8 or 5 kilometres, the event leads runners through bushland, over the Yarra River and above waterfalls, with some steep climbs and steps thrown in for good measure. Headlamps compulsory.
What Auckland Marathon (aucklandmarathon.co.nz)
When October 30, 2016
Beginning on the North Shore, the Auckland Marathon takes runners over the Harbour Bridge and through buzzing Viaduct Harbour before looping back to finish at Victoria Park. Along the way, competitors get to take in views of one of the world’s most alluring big-city harbours. Afterwards, you can wind down at the race’s Party in the Park, featuring music, entertainment and corporate marquees. Half-marathon and 12-kilometre options are also available.
What Rottnest Island Sufferfest (rottnesttriathlonfestival.com.au)
When November 5-6, 2016
The name says it all. Staged as part of the Rottnest Island Triathlon Festival, seasoned competitors face a tough two-kilometre swim, followed by an 80-kilometre bike ride and 20-kiometre run. The bike course, tracing a rolling, 20-kilometre loop around the island, is described as scenic and fast, while competitors are cautioned to keep an eye out for quokkas, the island’s famed marsupials. You can reach the island by ferry: 90 minutes from Perth, or 25 minutes from Fremantle.
What The Big Swim (thebigswim.org.au)
Discipline Ocean swimming
When January 29, 2017
Arguably Australia’s most famous ocean swim, the Big Swim was first held in 1974 and today attracts more than 2000 competitors for the demanding 2.5-kilometre journey from Palm Beach to Whale Beach. Described as a “true” ocean swim – as in, not around buoys in a bay - entrants must track straight out from the beach and around a rocky headland before turning for shore. The Big Swim is the last of five races staged at neighbouring beaches between December and January as part of the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series.
What Crazyman (crazyman.co.nz)
When May 7, 2017
Now in its 25th year, Crazyman is both a gruelling multisport event and a spectacular tour of Wellington’s highlights. Staged over 56 kilometres – with shorter options on offer – the race starts with a 13-kilometre paddle across the city’s eastern bays, before tackling a 30-kilometre mountain bike ride up the Hutt River Trail and over Belmont Regional Park to 442-metre high Boulder Hill. The final run leg takes you from the regional park’s historic Woolshed, around Belmont Trig and along Korokoro Stream before finishing at Lower Hutt’s Petone Wharf