After three years of cheering enthusiastically from the sidelines, Greenacres Supported Employee, Goktug Yasar, will actually be able to take part in the M2M Challenge this year thanks to a new 7km short course.

Successfully trialled last year with a group of participants from the IRT Group, the mostly downhill short course aims to make the annual event more accessible to the general public.

Every year I go to the M2M Challenge and I cheer people on and I give out ribbons at the end, Goktug said.

I am so excited that this year, I will be able to go in the M2M Challenge and my friends can cheer me on at the end instead!

Greenacres CEO, Chris Christodoulou, said that while the event is already popular with serious runners, it was important that people from a range of ages and abilities had the chance to enjoy it.

When IRT came on board as a sponsor last year, they suggested creating a short course for older people and we thought it was a great idea, Chris said.

The M2M Challenge is a rare opportunity to really experience our spectacular escarpment and everybody should have the opportunity to enjoy it regardless of their age or fitness level.

Last year, 76-year-old Ross Field, who lives at IRT Links Seaside, was one of a small group to trial the short course.

The walk up through the escarpment was really beautiful and being only 7 kilometres over flat or downhill terrain, I found it was a pleasant walk with a great group of people, Ross said.

I usually walk along the beach so it was a good opportunity to experience a part of Wollongong that I don’t usually get to see.

This year, I am aiming to register for the long course but it’s reassuring to know that the short course option is available if my legs don’t feel up to it.

Starting at the base of Mt Keira at Edmund Rice College and finishing at the heights of Mt Kembla, the Mountain to Mountain Challenge will be a 13.6 kilometre run or walk up steep ascents, down deep dips and past some of our region’s most stunning scenery.

After finishing the challenge, participants have a chance to relax and enjoy Mt Kembla before a free bus shuttle service takes everyone back to Edmund Rice College.

Registrations for the Mountain to Mountain Challenge, Sunday July 29, are now open and participants can register online by logging onto Bird registration closes on May 31, with the first 600 registrations receiving a free M2M Challenge singlet.