Life & Style

From beginners to the super fit there's a trail for every runner

There's plenty of reasons to get out and running in Newcastle these days. Mark Hebblewhite of Highlite Fitness let us in on a few of his favourite running trails that cover all levels of running fitness.

Blackbutt Reserve
If you’re fit, up for a challenge and want to avoid the hectic well-trodden city running trails then Blackbutt Reserve should be on your list. One of Newcastle’s most loved Reserves for its furry animals and beautifully kept picnic areas, it also doubles as a true fitness test for the serious runner. With around 20kms of hilly terrain you’ll get the heart pumping and the lactic acid burning.

Glenrock State Conservation Area
Perhaps Newcastle’s best kept running secret, Glenrock State Conservation Area is just minutes from the Newcastle CBD and is a perfect escape from the hectic city scene. With more than 30kms of running trails, the long windy tracks merge bush with beach and birds with an ocean breeze.

The Yuelarbal track is a highlight this 6.8km trail crosses waterfalls, wet gullies and coastal rainforest before finishing up at Glenrock Lagoon. With loads of hills and rough surface you’ll need to be cross country fit. For all the tracks and info CLICK HERE

Redhead Beach Run
If you prefer the running on sand, and want killer calves, then head to Redhead Beach and be like Forest - just Run! With sand as far as the eye can see Redhead Point marks the southern end of the rocky Newcastle shoreline, and the beginning of Nine Miles of sandy beach. Whether you run a km or nine, you’ll more or less have the beach to yourself with uninterrupted ocean views. Beach running is tough and there’s no bubblers or cafes along the way, so take plenty of water and your phone in case your legs get weary, or you need to take that all important selfie. 

The Bathers Way
Get your activeware ready people, cause this is the place to be seen if you’re serious about looking good whilst getting fit. It also happens to be one of Newcastle’s most spectacular running routes. Starting at Merewether Baths head north taking in Newcastle’s beautiful beach and café scene. Do your best to run up Memorial Drive without taking a breather before continuing down through the always green King Edward Park and onto Nobby’s Lighthouse. If you’re up for a challenge, turn around and do it all over again.

You’ll need to be reasonably fit, but with a view as good as this does it really matter how long it takes?

Wallsend to Glendale shared path
Take a run along the old tram line which is smooth sailing and concrete all the way. The track heads up the hill at just a gentle pace, as did the old steam trams who could only manage a 3% gradient climb. Just 3.3km each way this is great track to get running fit, perhaps start to step the pace up a little or do a time trial and test your fitness.

Fernleigh track
Cut through the hectic pace and city noise and get amongst nature with one of Newcastle’s most beautiful running trails. Kicking off in Adamstown and winding all the way to Belmont the 15kms of bush and wetland scenery makes for a peaceful training ground. Following what was once the coal haul train line there’s plenty of unique parts to the trail to make for interesting running, like the Fernleigh Tunnel (pictured), former stations and heritage railway relics. There’s plenty of access points along the route should you not be up for the whole 15kms and be sure to be on the lookout for bikes who are whizzing past at a fierce pace.

Warners Bay Foreshore
If the lake is more your scene then Warners Bay Foreshore is the place to head. The 9km trail, which starts at Eleebana and goes all the way to Booragul, is mostly flat and always guarantees a spectacular scene with the trail hugging the Lake Macquarie shoreline. There’s plenty of rest areas and cafes along the way if you want to take it easy, and the 380 metre long elevated boardwalk that scoots around the headland, that locals call ‘Redbluff’, is a nice little addition.

Newcastle Harbour and Honeysuckle
This running route is for any and all but most ideal for those wanting to get running fit. The completely flat trail not only makes for easy running but with all the happenings of the Harbour and Honeysuckle it helps to keep your mind occupied. The 3km one way trail has you running all the way along Newcastle’s busy harbour and right through the heart of the busy Honeysuckle Precinct. Between the boats, bikes, prams, cafes and bars there’s always something happening and a brilliant way to start any day. If you want to extend it just a bit, keep running out to Nobby's Breakwall and soak up that salty sea air.  

If you want to get running The Athlete's Foot partners with Highlite Fitness for a weekly running group called 'The Highlite Footers Run' along Bar Beach, it’s free and on every Sunday morning at 8am!