I love the marathon as much as the next person, but I think it’s probably misplaced as the pinnacle of all running achievements. I firmly believe that a fast or hard 5km is just as impressive as a marathon. Or whatever distance you put your mind to. It’s easy to get sucked into the lure of the marathon when a lot of the prestige appears to be around marathons. They get bigger medals. More likely to be gold than silver. And the holy grail of many a runner seems to be qualifying for Boston, for which there is no half marathon or 10km or 5km equivalent. It’s easy for those little cues to seep into your consciousness and you believe that they make the marathon more important. But it’s only as important as you make it, and if it’s not your jam, it’s not worth pursuing.

So here are some fun things to do in 2018 instead.

The Pan Pacific Masters are on the Gold Coast. If you are over 35, embrace the masters! They have a range of running events from track events to road running events to trail running events to suit most peoples interests.

The NSW Distance Running Championships. This looks SO COOL. And if the travel didn’t seem a bit difficult for me (given I am closer to Queensland than to NSW) I’d be all over this. And I think I might make it a goal in 2019 anyway. You compete for points across five events: Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee, Dubbo and Carcoar. Cannot imagine anything more fun than travelling around the place running half marathons!

Isn’t it time you got your 50 parkrun milestone t-shirt? If you haven’t checked out your local parkrun, I guarantee there is an awesome community waiting for you, and you could be on your way to your milestone in no time.

See how far you can go in Run Down Under! You can virtually run around Australia and join clubs (like the Operation Move one!) and check out the leaderboards and have fun with friends.

Want a really ambitious goal? What about a preferred start at the Gold Coast or Melbourne next year? At the Gold Coast, women earn a priority start if they have a 1:30 half marathon or a 3:15 marathon or a 43:00 10km.

What about a multi day event? You could do a two day event like Warwick Pentath (the total kilometres you run over two days adds up to a marathon)

What ideas would you add to the list?

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Written by: Zoey Dowling

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