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Previous event : Great Ocean Walk 100, 13th October 2012, Appolo Bay, Victoria Read more
Next event: Marysville Marathon Festival, 11th November 2012, Gallipolo Park, Marysville, Victoria
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Welcome to DandyRunner

Two of Australia's most famous distance running sons, Ron Clarke and Rob (Deek) de Castella have immortalised this amazing set of running trails in beautiful temperate rainforest just an hour's drive from Melbourne.

Back in the '70s and '80s you could join packs of up to a hundred runners, all members of Melbourne's club running fraternity and doing their obligatory "long run" for the week. Each pack would have a favoured route through the forest; each would know when to apply the pressure to test the legs, hearts and lungs of even the hardiest of runners.

The meeting place is a car park at the far end of the picturesque little village of Ferny Creek, on towards Sassafrass and just off Main Road. In winter it can be quite daunting to emerge from the car, with the mountain often shrouded in low-lying cloud or misty rain. But that's all part of the adventure. Once you're in the forest and running, who cares about the mud and the rain and the cold! And in summer the forest is a cool, leafy respite from the hot plain below.

The trails (and there are dozens of them) criss-cross through the forest and it is easy to get lost. There are maps located in strategic entry points and the trails are all signed, so make sure you have a rough idea of where you want to go.

Once inside the forest and running, you enter another world. Everything becomes much quieter, even your footsteps are hard to hear as you are running on forest detritus for much of the way. The only sounds are those of your lungs sucking up the air and the occasional lyre bird calling out to a mate.

If you have arrived with the intention of doing your long run, it is easy to cover 25 kilometres minimum and not retrace your steps over the same trails. Some of the features of the run have been tagged with nicknames, such as "Clarke Hill", a famous 3.6 kilometre gradual incline where Ron Clarke used to put the pressure on his mates running with him.

Then there's "Areoplane Hill", a short, sharp almost vertical incline that leaves you gasping for air when you get to the top. But if you run down it instead of up, you could just about become airborne! I guess that's where the tag comes from.

Most of the running though, is along gently undulating trails that wind through the forest, sometimes following mountain creeks and waterfalls. The amazing thing is that you hardly feel you are running uphill at all, except for the occasional climb like "aeroplane".

So if you are visiting Melbourne some time in the future and you would like to experience a truly great trail run, you can't go past "Ferny". You might just run into one of those packs, especially on a Sunday morning. And afterwards you can indulge in a well-earned devonshire tea at one of the local friendly tea house establishments.

Latest from the blog

April 1, 20115 years ago

Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011

Event Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011
Date 1 April 2011
Distance 100 km
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Weather Sunny, 20 DegreesĀ Celsius
Site Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011 – Site [/dcs_link]
GPX Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011 100KM


Read more
March 1, 20116 years ago

Selecting your FiveFingers

So how do you go about selecting the right pair of Vibram FiveFingers for your trail running?

You could do as me, and buy and try every type there is on the market, but that will turn out to be an expensive exercise very quickly as a single pare of Vibrams go for around the $200 in Australia. Hardly the kind of money that allows you to experiment on the cheap.

But don’t worry, I have done exactly that. I am the proud owner of many types and flavours of FiveFingers. Some of them still as good as new, and others run down to the last thread. It is this last pair you likely want to go for, attempting our local trails. But let’s start at the beginning.

Which Vibrams are available for you to choose from, considering we will be using them for trail running: Read more

Maroondah Dam Trail Runs 2011

Event Maroondah Dam Trail Run 2011
Date 20 February 2011
Distance 30 & 50km
Location Healesville, Victoria, Australia
Weather Cloudy, 17 DegreesĀ Celsius
Site Maroondah Dam Trail Run 2011 – Site
GPX Maroondah Dam Trail Run 30K
Read more
February 5, 20116 years ago

Floods in the Dandenong Ranges

Of course I have heard the rain going crazy all night long, but little did I realize how much water came down from the sky. In fact, in the 10 years since I have been living in the Dandenongs, I have never seen much more than a trickle of water flowing over our trails.

Today made an end to that elusive status. And boy, in what an exuberant fashion! The first realization that there was a little bit too much water coming down for the trails to handle, became clear when I reached the Hall Track section in Sherbrooke Forest (just opposite from Cooks Corner). Running around in my wet vibrams, and enjoying the soft going, soon turned in a bit of an onslaught, as the water level quickly rose to at least 20 centimeters of water. And flowing! And flowing fast! Read more
January 16, 20116 years ago

Two Bays Trail Run 2010

Event Two Bays Trail Run
Date 16 January 2011
Distance 28 KM and 56 KM
Location Dromana to Cape Schanck (and back), Victoria, Australia
Weather Sunny, 20 degrees
Site Two Bays Trail Run – Site [/dcs_link]
GPX Two Bays Trail Run 28K
Read more
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