Claire Bradshaw to return in 2017 Beach to Brother event from Port Macquarie to North Brother Mountain

Back again: Claire Bradshaw will return to defend her Beach to Brother women's marathon crown on Sunday. Photo: Darrell Nash

Back again: Claire Bradshaw will return to defend her Beach to Brother women's marathon crown on Sunday. Photo: Darrell Nash

IF you say 42 kilometres quickly enough it doesn’t sound very far.

Bonny Hills runner Claire Bradshaw knows first-hand it’s even more difficult to get to the finish line when there is no water at a scheduled rest stop.

Bradshaw won last year’s women’s marathon in a time of just over four hours, knows what to expect and admitted she won’t make the same mistake again.

“There were a few things that I definitely know I could improve on,” she said.

“That’s the good thing from doing it last year, I know what I need to change and what I need to tweak to better my run and finish stronger.

“Last year I baulked at the bottom of the mountain a little bit because I had banked on having a water stop there and there wasn’t.”

Bradshaw said the Beach to Brother event was far more challenging than a road marathon and subsequently more gratifying when you reach the top.

She has competed in both forms of running.

“It’s a lot harder than a road marathon because in a road marathon you’re running for three hours, but Beach to Brother you’re running for four,” she said.

“I’ve done both and both distances I compare and think it’s a lot longer, but it’s a lot more fun.

“You don’t get to settle in because you’re constantly changing terrain and that’s exciting.”

The one-way nature of the course enabled Bradshaw to remain motivated from start line to finish line.

“It’s one-way, that’s what I find motivating,” she said.

“There are no turnarounds; you can almost see your destination the whole run, even when you’re still 42 kilometres away.

“It keeps you alert because you never get tired of being on one surface because when that gets monotonous you change onto another one and you’re constantly shifting gears all the way through.”

Bradshaw admitted from an early age she preferred to be pounding the pavement than be stuck in a school classroom.

“If I ever left school early in high school I was pretty much wagging to run, not for anything else,” she said.

“Running is my escape; I never run for pace or any of that, it’s just something I love to do.”

An added motivator this year comes in the form of husband Kenny who will compete in his first Beach to Brother marathon.

“He is entering this year so my goal is to just be in front of him,” Bradshaw said.

“I’d like to better the time and hopefully have a good run.”

If I ever left school early in high school I was pretty much wagging to run, not for anything else.

Claire Bradshaw