(Posted - 27 Jul 2012)This Sunday sees the second instalment of the Salomon Trail Run Series hitting the singletrack, with an expected 1100 competitors exploring an all-new course. The 6km and 12km runs twist and turn amid the stunning environs of the stunning Lower Plenty Gorge set within Yellow Gum Park, near Plenty in Melbourne’s north east.
The new venue promises plenty of interesting running, the Gorge terrain departing from Race One’s undulating nature, to instead tackle a number of sharp, pinchy climbs and two river crossings that will do nothing if not break up the rhythm of pacing. Competitors are being forewarned that, as is the nature of trail running, they will be getting up close and personal with the environment, the river crossings requiring up to thigh-deep immersion and a careful footing approach.
Other highlights of Race Two include plenty of flowing singletrack, passages through gum forest, highline views over the gorge and, early on, vistas back to the Melbourne CBD skyline. But glimpses of concrete jungle are quickly despatched as runners dive into valleys, climb back up onto ridges, weave between stands of eucalypts and test thighs as they drop back into the gorge.
Check out some of the terrain from the Plenty Gorge event:
As to the pointy end of the long course, race one winner Jarad Kohlar is back looking to consolidate on his debut in the series, the technical nature of this course playing to his adventure racing strengths. Look for him to be dashing out front. Last edition’s runner up Andrew Mock is not entered as we go to press, but third placed Daniel Trevena is back, assuming he has the energy being only just back from helping crew his partner Sam Gash on her epic 380km non-stop run crossing of the Simpson Desert (www.crossingthesimpson.com).
Dan should be looking to punch out a decent race – but will Sam have any gas in the tank to have a run, too (she's registered!)? We think she’ll have earned a respite and likely return the crewing favour (which at a Salomon Trail Run Series means hanging round the coffee cart), but as she's just shown by becoming the fastest and youngest woman to cross the Simpson (four days), she's tough and may just pull out another 12.5km to top off her 379km feat from Mon-Thu! Campbell Maffett will be another to watch for, although tough and technical is not his favoured running ground, and the likes of Tim Ladner and Alex Polizzi may well look for a top five placing, too.
In the women’s long course, Race One winner Rebecca Rosel will have some work to do with the hopeful return of 2011 Salomon Trail Run Series champion Kathryn Preston (nee Ewels). Preston missed Race One, but her love of hills and technical terrain as a top level adventure racer and orienteer competitor backs her in as race favourite if she fulfils her entry this weekend. Also worth watching will be Nalini Blacker and Emily Cust, back again after showing strong form in Race One.
The V8 lads are back with motorsport superstar Rick Kelly returning and bringing team drivers and crew along for the fitness session. Two others on trail worth shouting a hello to are our man with a life-changing plan, Scott Knabel, back for his second Salomon run and fast becoming a trail community legend, and Tegyn Angel, in training for his double-ultra belter later this year when he takes on both the Surf Coast Century 100km event in Victoria and the Yurrebilla Ultra 56km event, in South Australia, on the same weekend. Surf Coast Saturday, fly to Adelaide, Yurrebilla on Sunday. Another trail legend in the making.
Entries can be registered on the day. Course details at: