Course Description – Smiths Gully

Update 15/5/2024: Smiths Gully in the Yarra Valley is now BACK as Race 1 of the 2024 Trail Running Series, replacing the previously advertised Plenty Gorge venue due to an unforeseen announcement from Parks Victoria.

Sunday 2 June 2024

All runners will start on the famous Rob Roy Hill Climb venue before completing a scenic loop within the eucalypt bushland and more open farming land. The courses provide some sweeping views across the Yarra Valley and surrounding rural country side and are quite a contrast to the other courses in the series.

Each course includes a diverse mix 4wd roads and well groomed single track and pathways over undulating terrain. The running covers a number of hills, some are quite long and will get your lungs working before an enjoyable descent on the other side.

Add in plenty of friendly Aussie wildlife to keep you company and this new destination will provide some great running for everyone.

The courses (exact measurements)

Long course: 25km, includes 760m elevation gain / loss
Medium course: 15.9km, includes 430m elevation gain / loss
Short course: 8.3km, includes 250m elevation gain / loss.

Course map

Course description

Overall the courses provide some superb trail running characteristics – undulating single track all on well drained tracks with areas of bush and open country and plenty of great views. 

Long course – 25km

Long course runners start by running up the Rob Roy Hill Climb race track and then turn right to complete an 8.5km anti-clockwise loop on the twisting single track within One Tree Hill Reserve. This loop follows a range of MTB single tracks through the beautiful eucalypt bushland and is classic trail running at its best.

Come past the water point at the top of the hill to then complete an 8km loop on a mixture of quiet dirt roads and shared use walking/running tracks through the countryside. This middle section of the course is through open country with clear views across the Yarra Valley and is quite a contrast to the rest of the run.

The course then comes back past the water point at the 16.5km point and where runners return to One Tree Hill Reserve to run the 8.5km first loop in the opposite, clockwise direction. Then it’s back down the Rob Roy racetrack and into the finish line. Well done.

Long course elevation profile:

Medium course – 15.9km

The medium course basically does the first 2 sections of the long course… Starting up the Rob Roy Hill Climb race track, you turn right to complete an 7.5km anti-clockwise loop on the twisting single track within One Tree Hill Reserve (taking a couple of short cuts compared to the long course). This loop follows a range of MTB single tracks through the beautiful eucalypt bushland and is classic trail running at its best.

Come past the water point at the top of the hill to then complete an 8km loop on a mixture of quiet dirt roads and shared use walking/running tracks through the countryside. This western section of the course is through open country with clear views across the Yarra Valley and is quite a contrast to the rest of the run. Return back past the water point and then it’s back down the Rob Roy racetrack and into the finish line. Well done.

Medium course elevation profile:

Short course – 8.3 km

Short course runners basically do the first loop of the long course – Starting up the Rob Roy Hill Climb race track, you turn right to complete an 7.5km anti-clockwise loop on the twisting single track within One Tree Hill Reserve (taking a couple of short cuts compared to the long course). This loop follows a range of MTB single tracks through the beautiful eucalypt bushland and is classic trail running at its best.

Come past the water point and then you’re heading for home, running down the Rob Roy racetrack and into the finish line. Well done.

Short course elevation profile:

Water points

  • Short course: There will one water point located at the 7.3km mark at the top of the Rob Roy Track. Please provide your own cup or water bottle. We will not be providing cups.
  • Medium course: There will two water points located at the 7.3km and the 15.3km points at the top of the Rob Roy Track. Please provide your own cup or water bottle. We will not be providing cups.
  • Long course: There will two water points located at the 8.5km and the 16.4km points at the top of the Rob Roy Track. Please provide your own cup or water bottle. We will not be providing cups.

Finish Line Sprint

The Finish line Sprint will be a timed 100-200m segment leading into the finish line where we will record a separate time for each runner as part of your overall race. The course will be downhill and provide for some fast and furious sprinting as you empty the tank into the finish line. We encourage everyone to have a crack and the fastest male and female sprinters will receive a prize thanks to our sponsors!

Passing etiquette

With a large number of runners 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

Course marking

Trail running events are quite different to road running events in that they require you to look and think about where you are going because, not only will you pass through some lovely wilderness, but you need to KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR COURSE MARKINGS. Trail running courses are not lined with fences or red and white flagging tape and will not have marshals every 10m 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.

Having said that, if you have your head up and are looking where you are going the course will be easy to follow and will be marked as follows:

The 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)

The 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)

The 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.