The first ever trail half marathon to be run in the Otway Ranges township of Forrest – a place most often spoken about in mountain biking circles – seems to have hit the sweet spot with more than 400 entries taken for the 21km and the 10km runs on roster.
Found in amongst the entrant listings are pointy end trailites, Dave Eadie and Nikki Wynd, representing Team Hoka One One.
Set to take place this Sunday, 9th June, the Run Forrest trail event pairs up with another gathering in town, that of the soup clan running the intriguing Otway Soup Festival. And with race director Mick Sheehan from Southern Exposure laying on some live music and plenty of country hospitality (think coffee carts and country style catering), and of course the famous Forrest Brewery just around the corner from the start/finish line, a good day (or long weekend’s) outing seems assured.
Says Mick of the coming weekend’s action: “The long range forecast is for fine conditions and the recent rains have bedded down the trail and made the course even more fun.”
Trail Run Mag can vouch for the course, having recced it last month. As per our course review, it’s a fun, undulating trail to run, fast and ferny, and perfect for either beginner trailites (given not much technical), intermediates wanting to ramp up some leg speed or pros looking to close the gap between a trail half marathon time and their road time (bleh – did I just say ‘road’? Wash my mouth out with soap). Seriously, it’s a fun, fun course, weaving through rainforest stands, around the back of stunning Lake Elizabeth, blasting through fern tunnels, and all on super flowy singletrack. There is one mid section on the famous Red carpet, heading back to the finish, where Mick has squeezed in some super cool technical, a gentle gradient down as you weave and float over some rooty, rocky ground. Otherwise it’s pretty smooth underfoot, soft as you’d expect a baby rainforest bum to be.
The key here is, this is the only time you’ll be able to run these particular trails without having to watch for mountain bikes that usually rule this part of the world. Southern Exposure has been able to close the race course to bikes for the duration of the event, providing a unique opportunity to ride awesome singletrack without fear of colliding with a two wheel warrior.
Mick tells us that his race village will include gourmet Woodfire Pizza, coffee cart, and a six-piece funk jazz ensemble The Suspicious Aloyicious plus quality outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, will be offering a range of new products and great deals on site. Another partner, Headsox, will have some great giveaways to keep your ears warm and sweat from your eyes and there’s some Hoka One Ones to be won for those fleet of foot.
The race village is located on the autumnal banks of the Barwon River within strolling distance of the town centre and the Forrest Soup Festival: try some steaming fresh soup and produce from local growers, wineries and micro brewers. It’s a great day out for the family, too, with a farm animals nursery and jumping castle part of the Festival attractions.
Trail Run Mag will be there for the run, so get down and get amongst the rainforest run with us.
Entries are still open. To register go to www.runforest.com.au/