Health & Fitness: New family friendly event for Newcastle

It’s a family mystery adventure race and it is coming to Newcastle.

XRACE is a New Zealand concept, created by Shane Hooks, to get families embracing the outdoors and physical activity as well as helping build self-esteem in children and parents.

This will be the second year Hooks has brought the XRACE series to Australia.

He has been successfully running events in New Zealand for several years and said Australians had embraced it too.

Stockton will be one of seven locations in Australia hosting an XRACE event this year, along with Sydney Central, Sydney Olympic Park, Brisbane, Canberra and Gold Coast.

The Newcastle race is on November 17. One parent must team up with a child aged six to 14 and complete a course of around three kilometres with 10 challenges of varying nature along the way.

“The critical ingredient of XRACE is about trying to create a genuine, family bonding experience,” Hooks said.

“It’s about creating 10 magical moments and putting them all together.”

The challenges range from physical to mental ones, opening up the playing field for all to compete. But, Hooks said, it is still a race with a winner declared at the end.

“The kids love being timed, they love racing and it’s not easy to win this race,” he said.

“Last year in all of our Australian races, our opening challenge was button sewing.

“We’ve tried to make it so it’s not a straight-out running race. It’s about finding artistic challenges, where they might have to assemble something then paint it.

“There are challenges of trust, such as blindfolding the parents and giving total control to the child to help the parent navigate their way through an obstacle course.” 

Hooks has produced events for over two decades and said this event was one he had wanted to do for a long time.

“A mum or dad can do a half marathon and kids can do the Weet-bix TRYathlon but they can’t do them together, so that was the simple idea of bringing the two together,” Hooks said.

“We thought, ‘Let’s try to do something that’s got real social significance’, and something that can give kids a bit more confidence.”

He said XRACE was a good way to build self-esteem in kids and often had parents telling him they didn’t realise the strengths of their own children.


Peter Mullen of Mullen Natural Health Centre, Hamilton has been offering some healthy food tips for spring. 

This week he shares with us some ways to help manage hayfever naturally.

“It may come as a surprise, but food can be a trigger for hayfever. Get yourself tested for a food intolerance to determine what foods you need to avoid,” he said.

He recommended increasing your intake of Omega 3 fats, eating fermented vegetables, increasing vitamin C intake, avoiding dairy products and trying Goldenseal, a herb which could be of benefit for people with seasonal hayfever.


Mix up your training and give yourself a new spring challenge by adding in some stairs, 400-metre runs or hills to a strength and cardio session.

For example, this could look like:

10 squats with alternating shoulder press, 10 dead lift, 10 bent-over rows, run/walk 2 sets of stairs. Do two hill runs/walks instead of stairs or a 400-metre flat run/walk. Repeat twice.

10 lunges with biceps curl, 10 lunges with triceps extension, 10 push-ups, run/walk stairs, hill or flat. Repeat twice.

Finish with core work. Add a 5-10 minute warm-up and cool-down with stretching.


Fernleigh 15, October 22, Fernleigh Track: This 15-kilometre event offers both a scenic and unique experience. It can be done as an individual or in a five-person relay.

XRACE, November 17, Stockton: XRACE is a family mystery adventure race where family teams race together, completing 10 mystery challenges on the way.

Summer Run 10k Series, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens: A three-race 10km Summer Series at Morpeth (November 12), Carrington (February 4) and Nelson Bay (March 18).

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.