Fun run smashes record

AUSTRALIA'S toughest fun run has smashed last year's turnout, raising at least $12,000 for the Kiama Rotary Club.

The gruelling Saddleback Smash returned for its second year on Sunday morning.

This year's event had 250 entrants, more than double the inaugural 120 participants last year.

The six-kilometre run started at Kiama High School and wound up Saddleback Mountain Rd, finishing at the Saddleback Mountain lookout.

With almost all of the course being uphill, organisers believe it is one of the toughest fun runs in the country.

Last year the Smash raised more than $2300 for Kiama Rotary Club.

Organiser Dave Lambert said figures were still being tallied but he estimated the event had raised more than $12,000.

"It was awesome," he said.

"We doubled the numbers from last year and got lucky with the weather.

"We raised a lot of money and everyone had a good time."

Mr Lambert said not only was the popularity of the event growing, but so was its reputation as "Australia's toughest fun run".

"They (entrants) definitely agree with the title," he said.

Participants reported that the hardest sections of the run were the first kilometre and the final 750-metre stretch, aptly known as "Hell Hill", he said.

"It's all uphill and really steep; a pretty tough way to finish a race," he said.

"A lot of people were saying it's the toughest fun run they've ever done. We've had some great athletes do it and they're all in agreeance."

Mr Lambert was pleased with the growth of the event, saying organisers had a five-year plan to slowly build its reputation.

"I guess a lot of it was because of more exposure," he said.

"We've had a few businesses and sponsors come on board.

"There were a lot of people who had heard about it last year and taken up the challenge.

"It's a steady growth, which makes it more manageable."

Sydney's Daniel Cummins won with a time of 31 minutes. The female winner was Marnie Ponton from Glenbrook, who completed the course in 34 minutes.

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