The Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge is played out over a challenging but remarkably scenic course that takes in a range of landscapes as it winds its way from the main street of Marysville to the centre of Melbourne at Docklands.
Competitors will find themselves running through temperate rainforest with towering tree ferns lining the trail, riding on undulating hills through eucalypt bushland providing snapshot views to the city, and paddling on the serene Yarra River through extensive parkland and regional wilderness to the high rises and café strips of Southbank and the finish line at Docklands. This is a course with an incredible variety of scenery that will keep you interested from start to finish.
Broken down into six legs, the course contains no single leg that is too epic if done as a team, but when tackled as an individual doing the whole thing, it will take its toll as an ambitious challenge over a gruelling 157km from start to finish.
Here is an interactive course map on Google Earth
View Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge, 2013 in a larger map
[You can download a KMZ file of this course that can then be uploaded into your GPS device by: clicking here to go to a larger version of the map, then clicking the KML text in the details on the left. This will output a KML file that can be read in Google Earth or your GPS software. If you need it converted to a GPX file then use this converter]
Leg #1: 19km Run
All runners will start full of anticipation and nervous energy in the main street of Marysville early on Sunday morning. The course starts with a steady climb on a quality dirt road, ascending over 100m in the first 3 km. After some undulations on the ridge line, the course descends 150m through the eucalypt forest allowing you to open up the legs and gain some good speed before a final 100m climb up to the finish at Dom Dom Saddle.
This is trail running at its best. It’s not a technical run over rocks and boulders, but has a faster flavour by sticking mainly to 2WD and 4WD tracks, with a couple of tough little hills thrown in for good measure.
See an Insider's Course Preview video of the trail run legs below.
Leg #2: 50km The Difference Road Ride
You could call this ride ‘the big dipper’ and you would be pretty much bang on. From the transition area at Dom Dom Saddle picnic area, it’s a spectacular descent through the magnificent tall timber of the Black Spur that will see you flying down 300m in the first 5km with little regard for what’s ahead.
There is a nasty upward pinch (on hot mix) at the 8km mark before the flowing descent continues into Healesville, after which it’s up, up, up, on the scenic Chum Creek to Toolangi climb. As far as road climbs go, this is one of the finest with a steady gradient, on a good surface through beautiful bushland that has you climbing nearly 400m through Castella and then a final undulation to the transition area at Kinglake, located at the temporary accommodation village on the south east corner of the roundabout.
This is the training ground of many Melbourne road riders and will see the hot shots posting some phenomenal times.
See an Insider's Course Preview video of the road ride legs below.
Leg #3: 41km St Andrews Road Ride
This ride leg also starts with a rip roaring descent down the Heidelberg-Kinglake Road that many local riders know like the back of their hand, as it descends through the fire ravaged bushland from 2009’s Black Saturday. On through St Andrews, Panton Hill and Kangaroo Ground and you’d be wise not to put it all into your pedals as the final 10 km into the transition at Eltham has plenty of deceptive little climbs and energy sapping descents that could easily see the unprepared rider bonk big time. The TA is located just over the Yarra River in Westerfolds Park off Fitzsimons Lane. (This is the same TA used in 2012 but different to 2011).
Although winding its way into pleasant suburbia, the course avoids all traffic lights and has only 2 stop signs to halt your progress. You will be surprised at how scenic the ride is and how you seem to magically avoid the shops and houses as you descend to the river.
See an Insider's Course Preview video on the road ride legs below.
Leg #4: 12.5km Yarra Trail Run
With the climbs and descents completed for the day, there is nothing to slow you down on this fast paced run, apart from the lactic acid in your legs, as you power along the Yarra River flood plains from Westerfolds Park through to Ivanhoe. The trail varies from vehicle width gravel walking track, to narrower single track through sections of bushland, swapping from one side of the river to another on a number of bridges that link the riverside parklands into a continuous corridor of urban wilderness. The TA is located next to Eaglemont Tennis Club which is accessed from The Boulevard.
This is a fast and non technical run, with the only hazards being dog walkers and their by-products, so keep your eyes peeled!
See an Insider's Course Preview video of the trail run legs below.
Leg #5: 15km Fitness Paddlers Australia river paddle
Now it’s onto the mighty Yarra River as this winding waterway weaves its way from Ivanhoe to Abbotsford as a flat water paddler’s paradise. The river starts out just 5-10m wide with a particularly twisty course that will see you chasing the fastest current from one side to the other as it winds its way through bushland, flanked by a number of golf courses. The further you paddle, the wider the river gets as you paddle past the landmarks of the Fairfield Park Boathouse and then the popular Studley Park Boathouse and iconic swing bridge a short distance before the transition area at Dights Falls. You will need to get out of your boat to portage the falls and enter the transition area.
Note, due to ongoing works by Melbourne Water at Dights Falls the river level is currently significantly lower than normal and therefore the river is very narrow and shallow in some spots and may require portaging and careful navigation, especially if using a craft with an understern rudder.
The paddle legs involve a couple of very small grade 1 rapids or fast flowing water and both legs are achievable by paddlers of pretty much any ability.
See an insider's course preview video of the river paddle legs here.
Leg #6: 16km Yarra’s Edge River Paddle
The second paddle leg starts with a 400m portage to avoid the rocks and rapids of Dights Falls and then it’s a watery highway into town and the finish line of this epic event. You’ll start out in pleasant parkland before the river widens out and approaches the city. You’ll paddle down the Yarra’s 2000m rowing course, past the mighty MCG and the Royal Botanic Gardens, under the Princes Bridge, past the food and coffee aromas of the Southbank café strip, and then just one kilometre further and you’ll be pulling into Yarra’s Edge at Docklands for the final 150m run to the finish line. Yarra's Edge is located on the south side of the river immediately downstream of Charles Grimes Bridge.
Your sense of achievement as you cross the line will be absolute. You will have traversed some incredible terrain, pushed yourself to the edge and now be revelling in your success. Congratulations – you have just completed the Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge – presented by The Difference!
See an insider's course preview video of the river paddle leg here.
The 2014 Marysville to Melbourne EVENT PROGRAM containing all the logistical details such as schedule, course maps, race start arrangements plus additional info will be uploaded to this website 2 weeks before the race. The 2013 event program has been left online and can be downloaded from HERE for reference. (Either left click the link to download or right click and ‘save link as’ to your desktop. 15meg)
Key points about the course:
- The course will be fully marked and marshalled along its entire route. Roads will not be closed to traffic, but major intersections will be managed by marshals and professional traffic management personnel.
- All individuals will need a support crew to assist them on the day of the race, transporting their equipment and setting it up at the next transition area.
- There will not be any aid or water stations out on the course
- For teams, not all team members have to go to the start or to all transition areas
- Entry formats
The Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge can be completed in 3 different formats:
- Individuals – the ultimate test. This is one person completing the entire event alone, without assistance whilst out on the course. You may only receive assistance from a support crew inside the designated transition areas.
- Teams of up to 3 people. For teams of 2 or 3 people who do a varying number of legs each. There is no restriction for the same person to do both run legs, or both ride legs… so teams may mix and match which legs they do around their strengths.
- Teams of up to 6 people. For teams of between 4 and 6 people who do a varying number of legs each, but designed for a team of 6 where each member does one leg each.
With these three formats the Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge is designed such that a range of athletes (or non athletes!) may still participate by biting off the challenge that matches their abilities.
So how long is this going to take you?
The winning teams complete the course in just under 7hrs 30mins and the leading individual in (a phenomenal) 7hrs 50mins. Those are the fastest but it doesn’t matter if your many hours behind as this event as much about the journey from country to city as it about the finish itself.
We expect the tail end of the field to take approximately 16-17hrs hours to complete the course, crossing the finish line at around 9:00pm – in the dark. There will be a number of cut off times that will be imposed. If you do not make a cut off time, you should note that the course will not be marshalled, marked or have medical personnel should you elect to continue. If you do continue (we strongly recommend you don’t) then you do so at your own risk as the race course will be closed. Refer to rules and safety cut off times and actions.
The sense of accomplishment at crossing the line at Yarra’s Edge either at mid afternoon or after dark will be completely overwhelming and the event is designed for all levels of competitors to come and tackle this supreme challenge.