THE third annual Saddleback Smash event is set to put Kiama on the map.
The gruelling six-kilometre hill climb, which is gaining notoriety as Australia's toughest fun run, is set to receive widespread exposure next month with confirmation the event will be featured in national publications Men's Fitness, Women's Fitness and Runner's World.
Kiama itself is due to feature prominently within the magazines as a great destination for Sydney-siders to spend an active weekend away.
Event founder Dave Lambert, from Oxygen Health & Fitness, said there were many people to thank for the potential tourism boost it would provide.
"I must thank Tricia Ashelford and the team at Kiama Tourism, who hosted staff from both magazines on their visit to check out the course," Lambert said.
"Well-known Men's Fitness editor Simon Butler-White, who has completed numerous half-marathons, claimed the course was one of the most challenging he had seen."
The course's notorious final 500-metre stretch, known as "Hell Hill" left an unforgettable impression on the magazine staff, who couldn't believe the gradient of the climb.
The Smash was born in 2011 when Lambert conceived the idea of doing a different type of fitness event in "his own backyard".
"I actually live on Saddleback Mountain Road and when I went for a run up there one day, I knew this was our event," he said.
The climb starts at Kiama High School, winding its way uphill past farms and some of the beautiful old stone walls the area has become famous for. The viewing platform at the top is the icing on the cake.
"When I found out that Kiama Rotary Club was responsible for constructing the beautiful old stone walls and also the magnificent viewing platform, I contacted them with my idea."
Kiama Rotary came on board straight away and has put its organisational skills to full effect during the successful running of the event.
Kiama Rotary Club's John Kenny said they were delighted with the continued community and business support for the run.
"We started with around 130 runners in the first year and that increased to more than 240 last year, so with the amount of publicity being generated this year the event will continue to grow," Kenny said.
The 2013 Saddleback Smash will take place on Sunday, October 13, starting at 8am.
Register at saddlebacksmash.com.au.
All funds will go to Rotary charities and other causes.