21km Trail for Run The Gap

Run the Gap is a local event here in the Grampian’s District.  2014 will mark it’s 3rd year. And yes I do plan on participating in this event.

At the end of the 2013 event Tom and I discussed wouldn’t it be awesome if we could get a half marathon at the Run the Gap for 2014.  The Grampians is an untapped wonder when it comes to adventure series. We could have so much! Biking, running, kayaking, swimming, it’s possible for all of that in the Grampians National Park.

Stand out trail experiences on the east side of Melbourne are events like the Roller Coaster Marathon in the Dandenongs, and the Mt Baw Baw Trail event (yes at Mt Baw Baw).

On the west side of Melbourne you have The Great Ocean road marathon, but that’s a road, not trail.

Trail running is very different to road running. To me road running is all about time. Trail running however is all about the experience. It’s a lot more technical but it’s so much more fun.

Recently Kieran (an experienced trail running friend of mine) and I ran the ‘proposed’ 21km trail for Run the Gap event.

I had this track in mind as an alternative to another track which was rejected. But I had to make sure it was doable.  Which is why I decided to run it.  The only downfall is that I didn’t get a chance to run this as well it was summer time and just too hot to be out mapping a trail run.

Once the weather finally cooled down, I asked Kieran if he would be interested in running it with me.  He jumped at the chance. Anything to help promote trail running in the Grampians and he was in.

That is why I’m giving you a full detail report because well, this event will be pretty much going ahead for this year.

RTG-21km-TrailThe run would start on the footpath opposite the oval in the township of Halls Gap, which then follows the footpath / bike track to Reids Lane.

The track then goes up Reids lane, and follows the Pomonal fireline from Reids lane towards Pomonal (Tunnel Rd).

This particular fireline offers varying sandy & rocky terrain for approximately 7 to 8km.

An aid / fuel station can be placed at Tunnel Road, which would be approximately the 10km mark.

The next 1.5km is not accessible via road, and it will be a single file track where runners would cross the mountain.

rtg-trail-tunnelrd

 Yes this image is from the run. This part of the run is a bit of a goats track, but that’s all part of the experience.

The view from Tunnel road will most likely be the highlight of the run for the run participants. And on both sides too.  The view of the black range on the South side of the track, and then the View of Mt Rosea & the Pinnacle on the North side of the track.

rtg-trail-bellfield

 Runners will love this view, I know I did.

The track then will take you down to the intersection of Tunnel Track & the Bellfield Fireline.

Runners would turn right, and to run back towards the Halls Gap township. I would recommend another aid station to be placed here.

Now the run gets interesting. It’s the 2nd half of the track where runners will be tested.  The fireline takes us parallel to Lake Bellfield, runners will get glimpses of the lake. They will also be able to see the Bellfield wall and runners running the 12km race. This section of the course is where runners will not only be tested with the various hills, but also the varying undulating terrain, of sand, sandstone rocks, and mud.

RTG-21km-timing1

Yes this is my timing.  You can see were I was running steady for an hour, then in the Mountain, and well, I’m not going to lie, I did lots of walking.  All the great trail runners will walk at some point. I was also thinking of the slower runners. Because lest face it, not everyone is “speedy Gonzales” like Kieran. Also I hadn’t ran anything longer than 12km. So yes I was expecting some walking.

If you do decided to run this event, runners will expect to see or hear kangaroos, emus, goats and other various animals along the course.

I got excited when I saw a goat, I’ve heard them while out running but until this run, I’ve never encountered one in the Park.

The course would not be suitable to road half marathoners, or trail runners with no experience.

Kieran & I ran/walked this course and timed it in 2h59:26.

All up, there will be a 3h30min (may be reduced to 3 hours) cut off to finish the course, with a 2 hour cut off mark at the 14km checkpoint. 

RTG-21km-Trail-Elevation

Entries for the 21km Trail event will (hopefully) open on 13th March 2014.

Who’s excited! I am!

Want the GPX you can download it here.

Footnotes

1. Run the Gap will be held on the 25th May 2014.  I will not be running the 21km trail event because I have Spartan race a week later 30th May, and I want to be in peak condition for that race (I’m aiming for no more than 60 burpee’s as penalties).  But that being said, at least I was the 1st to run this race.

Edit to add: Also I’m also helping organise the event, which is another reason why I wont be running the trail event on race day.

  • Larissa

    Wow! That looks pretty dramatic. I’ve only run trails a few times and LOVE it. Trail running is my true calling I think. Got some work to do before I could run something like this though!

    • http://www.runmum.com/ Matilda Iglesias

      I love trail running too. I enjoy it more than road running. I could run the same track and never get bored as the surroundings constantly change.
      I’d like to do the roller coaster run next year, so this will be a good training run for that.

  • Keith S

    Great review and blog. It would be good to get a link to this on the Run The Gap website to let others know what they’re in for.
    I just spent a week in Halls Gap and ran up lots of mountains. I have to say that the fire trail on the way back to Halls Gap is a killer of a run, at least there was lots of kangaroos and emus to keep my mind off my 180bpm. After running through there for a week I have entered the 21km and am really looking forward to it.
    I also ran the Trailblazer at the You Yangs as my first ever trail run and loved it, I think trail running might also be my thing as I won that race.
    See you there.

    • http://www.runmum.com/ Matilda Iglesias

      Hi Keith,
      Glad you liked the review. The link is also on the run the gap facebook page.
      Glad you liked Halls Gap, so many great trails out there. Also happy to hear that you have entered the trail event, will see you there!
      Nice work on the trailblazer too. I think I will do the 30km one next year, just will train for that distance first.

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