UNDERESTIMATE the course at your own peril.
There will be plenty of challenges facing keen runners at this weekend's Elephant Trail Race in Port Macquarie.
The catch is some of them won't know how tough the course is until it's too late.
That's the message from race organiser Kerry Williams who is looking forward to seeing what the second instalment has in store following the inaugural one 12 months ago.
The Elephant Trail Race is a running race with a twist which sees the course distance between 25 and 27 kilometres in length with approximately 1455 metres of elevation.
All racing will take place in the Cairncross State Forest.
There are different divisions for most runners with those at the top of the sport earmarking a shot at the Ultra Trail single-stage mountain ultramarathon later in the year.
"Why it's a race with a twist is because the ultra-distance races (of 200 kilometres and 160 kilometres) start at night," she said.
You can't see the elevation so people think it's a breeze but when they come back they say it's absolutely brutal but awesome.Kerry Williams
"They'll have no idea what they're running until the sun comes up."
Williams said the course is designed not to be boring and is very challenging.
"You can't see the elevation so people think it's a breeze but when they come back they say it's absolutely brutal but awesome," she said.
"We've timed it so they should be up on top of Mount Cairncross at daybreak so they should be able to see the sun rise."
The two longer-distance races will be one of two qualifying events for future UTMB races across the world.
"The way the course has been designed is if people are going for the big events overseas, ours is a really good hit out to see where their training is at," Williams said.
"The longer distances cover every direction on the compass."
It's designed to keep your brain working.Kerry Williams
Williams said there were also races for the less serious runner with a 2.5 kilometre event for the kids along with a five-kilometre and 13-kilometre race.
"Anyone that can do a parkrun can do the five kay one and we want to emphasise that," she said..
"You don't have to run it, you've got enough time to walk around the course."
Due to the course being in a loop, runners will always see other runners when they are out competing and that was what set the race apart from most other single-direction events.
"It's designed to keep your brain working," Williams said.
"As you start to fatigue, your brain keeps thinking because it's changing directions.
"Ours goes in loops, but the beauty is it's multi-directional so you've always got people on the course around you.
"You don't feel like you're left out in the bush by yourself."
The event will start on Friday night with the 200 kilometre event at 8pm ahead of the 160 kilometre event at 10pm.
Saturday will see the 50 kilometre course ahead of the 25km, 13km and the kids' 2.5km trail race on Sunday.
For more information, visit https://www.elephanttrailrace.com.au/.
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