Course Description – Race 1

Race 1 of the Trail Running Series is reinvigorated with a return to the beautiful Yellow Gum Park in Plenty Gorge on the Plenty River in North Eastern Melbourne. We last raced here in 2016 when it provided challenging and rewarding running through this regional parkland and we’re excited to be returning again in 2019.

For 2019, all runners will complete a scenic loop deep within local bushland made friendly with plenty of kangaroos, echidnas, galahs and other friendly Aussie wildlife to keep you company.

Runners will criss-cross the Plenty Gorge a couple of times, climbing up and down the sides of the valley and its steep sided walls. Each course allows competitors to enjoy the views from the valley top, but also sees Medium and Long course runners definitely getting your feet wet crossing the ankle-deep Plenty River at the valley bottom – this added adventure component is an often talked about feature, which is why we wanted to bring it back because, after-all, #BitumenIsBoring.

Note, the courses for Race 1 at Plenty Gorge are currently provisional, there may be some slight changes prior to race day.

THE COURSES

Long course: 17.1km, includes 760m elevation gain / loss
Medium course: 11km, includes 460m elevation gain / loss
Short course: 6.1km, includes 250m elevation gain / loss.

COURSE MAP

The courses used in 2019 will be the same or very similar to those used in 2016.

Long course – 17.1km

(Course goes in a clockwise direction on the map).

The first half of the long course is the same as the medium course and then long course runners add the northern loop at the end.

All runners start immediately beside the Yellow Gum Picnic Area then set off into the bushland following a wide double track that drops through a small gully and then crosses a cleared plain where you’ll be sure to see a flock of kangaroos enjoying the grass. The course climbs gradually as it winds its way through the bushland and up to a large water tank at the 2.5km point before a long, enjoyable descent to cross the Plenty River for the first time on a small timber bridge at the 4.5km mark. The course climbs out of the river and then follows alongside the valley with a sharp climb at the 5.6km mark that leads you to the water point at the 6.6km mark at a distinctive right hand turn beside the clearing.

After the water point there is a gradual downhill before more undulating running on twisting single track through to the second river crossing at the 8.8km mark (no bridge = wet feet!). Keep following the single track and enjoy the spectacular views up stream as the track is dug into the side of the valley that leads you back towards the start finish area. After a very short and steep hill at the 10.4km point, long course runners turn left to head out on the northern loop.

The northern loop continues the superb trail running characteristics as the southern loop with plenty of undulating single track through the bush. Not long after turning left at the 10.4km pt long course runners cross the Plenty River in ankle deep water (no bridge) and continue up a couple of short and sharp hills before a pleasant (flat) section across a plateau that provides views up the Plenty Gorge and your second water point at the 13km point.

Follow the course as it descends down to your final river crossing on a small timber bridge at the 13.8km point and continue along the undulating trail as it goes past some large rock formations and then the remarkable Blue Lake before the Hiit Factory Hill Climb up to the finish line in the Yellow Gum Picnic Area. Well done!

Medium course – 11km

(Course goes in a clockwise direction on above map.) The medium course does the first, southern loop of the long course.

All runners start immediately beside the Yellow Gum Picnic Area then set off into the bushland following a wide double track that drops through a small gully and then crosses a cleared plain where you’ll be sure to see a flock of kangaroos enjoying the grass. The course climbs gradually as it winds its way through the bushland and up to a large water tank at the 2.5km point before a long, enjoyable descent to cross the Plenty River for the first time on a small timber bridge at the 4.5km mark. The course climbs out of the river and then follows alongside the valley with a sharp climb at the 5.6km mark that leads you to the water point at the 6.6km mark at a distinctive right hand turn beside the clearing.

After the water point there is a gradual downhill before more undulating running on twisting single track through to the second river crossing at the 8.8km mark (no bridge = wet feet!). Keep following the single track and enjoy the spectacular views up stream as the track is dug into the side of the valley that leads you back towards the start finish area. After a very short and steep hill at the 10.4km point, medium course runners keep right and power up the Hiit Factory Hill Climb right through to the finish line back in the Yellow Gum Picnic Area. Well done!

Short course – 6.1km

(Course goes in a clockwise direction on above map.) The short course basically does the first third of the medium course by completing most of the ‘southern loop’.

All runners start immediately beside the Yellow Gum Picnic Area then set off into the bushland following a wide double track that drops through a small gully and then crosses a cleared plain where you’ll be sure to see a flock of kangaroos enjoying the grass. The course climbs gradually as it winds its way through the bushland and up to a large water tank at the 2.5km point before a long, enjoyable descent into the Plenty River valley. Short Course runners turn right before actually crossing the river and continue through the bushland and into the Plenty Gorge itself, running along a track that is benched into the side of the valley before it drops away to the river below.

After a very short and steep hill at the 5.7km point, short course runners keep right and power up the Hiit Factory Hill Climb through to the finish line back in the Yellow Gum Picnic Area. Well done!

RIVER CROSSINGS

The Medium and Long courses cross the Plenty River on several occasions and will result in you getting wet feet (2nd and 3rd crossing for Long course runners and the 2nd crossing for the Medium runners). Pending the rainfall leading up to the day these river crossings may be up to knee deep but there is a rope to hold onto for support and stability and a courser marshal to supervise.

We advise all runners to TAKE CARE crossing the river, and suggest that you walk across and take your time to avoid potentially falling in (although that would add to the adventure even more!). This is another reason not to wear headphones because if you fall over or drop it your device will soon be water-logged.

WATER POINTS

Short course: There will not be a water point on the short course.
Medium course: There will be one water point on the medium course that will be located at the 6.6km at the top of a hill.
Long course: There will be two water points on the long course that will be located at the 6.6km and 13km points of the race.
Finish line hydration/nutrition station: There will be water, sports hydration and available at the finish line. Bring your own bottle or cup.

HIIT FACTORY HILL CLIMB

The HIIT Factory Hill Climb is a timed section of each course where we encourage you to go full gas to record a fast time for this particular section of track. At race 1 the Hiit Factory Hill Climb will be the final hill climb leading into the finish, and being just  300m long we encourage you to crank up the legs and ‘power’ up the hill through to the finish as hard as you can! Your HIIT Factory Home Straight times will be published in the results and we’ll award a small prize to the fastest (and funniest!) to add to the fun!

Check out the details of the HIIT Factory’s high intensity sessions to help your cross-training!

Course Marking

Trail running events are quite different to road running they are not lined with fences or red and white flagging tape and will not have marshals every 100m ready to hand you a drink and direct you where to go every step of the way – you need to keep an eye out for and follow the course markings to make your way around. Keep concentrating and always keep your eyes open and up for course markings, this will make the course very easy to follow and much more interesting.

The following is how the courses will be marked on race day:

Long course:

  • Red and/or orange arrows (pegged into the ground and fixed to trees or bushes)
  • Fluoro pink coloured plastic surveyor’s tape (tied to trees or bushes)

Medium course:

  • Green arrows (pegged into the ground and fixed to trees or bushes)
  • Green coloured plastic surveyor’s tape (tied to trees or bushes)

Short course:

  • Blue arrows (pegged into the ground and fixed to trees or bushes)
  • Aqua blue coloured plastic surveyor’s tape (tied to trees or bushes)

All track intersections will be clearly marked and care should be taken to follow the arrows. Surveyor’s tape will be placed immediately following a track junction to confirm you are on the correct track. Track markings on the longer, straighter sections, where there are no other options or intersections will be far more spread out so take your time at the intersections to make sure you are on the right track. Unless otherwise marked or directed, competitors should follow the most major track at all intersections. If there is no arrow at a minor track junction then continue along the major track.

PASSING ETIQUETTE

With a large number of runners on a narrow trail there are a few points of common etiquette when it comes to passing a runner on the trail that we’d like all participants to be aware of.

If you are a faster runner who wants to pass a slower runner on a narrow bit of track:

  • Let the slower runner know you are there and want to pass. Say something like, “Can I go past when there’s a chance…” or even “Track please” if you’re short of breath. Then wait for a wider section of track – don’t just barge on through
  • The slower runner can then say, “OK, go past on the right” or “just up here it’s a bit wider, go there”. But it’s good to acknowledge that you heard them and give direction for when they can go past
  • It’s also nice for the faster runner to say, “thank you, keep going” once you’re past – share the love
  • If you are going to pass then make sure you are actually faster, don’t pass if you are pushing 120% effort to get around them and then slow down afterwards
  • Slower runners don’t feel like you need to totally stop and bow down as a faster runner comes through, make space but keep trotting along as well

2016 Photo Album (on Facebook)