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Nig Muscroft's take on the Run Forrest

Check Nig's blog hero dirt (refer below) had this to say about last years race


Nigel Muscroft absolutely rips the bag in the long wally right hand waves of the surfcoast...a bloke who would describe himself predominatly as a surfer he has taken to the ocean ski, the mountain bike and the runners as a way to keep fit and sharp in those times where wind, swell, tide and work dont align to get amongst the waves...

After knocking over a couple of 10hour Ironmans Nige is now focusing on smaller events closer to home, here is his race report from the beautiful Run Forrest trail run

I had my eye on this race for a while after Southern Exposure, a great local story and event management organisation, had stuck a flyer on my windscreen at one of their competitors races...good job SE.

I had a solid training block of running and riding in the months of April, May and June, so I figured I was in good shape to have a crack at this one. I dropped my entry in literally a week and a half out from race day. I had look at the course and thought to myself – tough…none the less I was pretty pumped and excited to run at Forrest, having only having ridden it on XC MTB. I might get more of a chance to see the scenery.


The week leading up, I was talking to a few people, and the word was out that it was a fast and undulating course. I’d done the homework and knew that there was going to be about 1000m of vertical climbing.  All this talk was causing me to second-guess myself. I cruised into the Running Company Geelong to get some new trailys (thanks fellas for the Sauconys - they were perfect) and they mentioned it as I was tripping out.

Race morning in Forrest was jumping.  I’d only seen that many people in town for the Odyssey and this was a foot race.


Forrest is a beautiful little town in the Victorian Otways and it has really found its niche with MTB.  The trails are truly world class.  The walk down to the race hub was typical of a Southern Exposure race, the vibe was mellow and unpretentious, the music pumping with log fires burning keeping everyone warm.

I bumped into an old mate of mine, Tim, and soon conversation turned to the course…apparently fast and undulating?? All I could think at this stage was either I’m killing it, or I don’t know what’s going on!!

Race start, a quick glance in the pack to gauge the talent and yup - definitely some talented local Geelong runners in the group.  My strategy was ease into it for the first few k’s and then see what happened after that.  Off we went and within 500m’s were straight into the hills, climbing on fire trail and then onto single track.  After about 3.5km I found myself in the lead, unfamiliar territory.

Then all of sudden, eventual winner and heavily credentialed stair climber, Scott McGraw comes flying through to take the lead. At first I thought go with him, but then realised, no not a good idea knowing that I had to run up the famous Red Carpet, a notoriously long and winding climb for about 5 or 6km’s.  So I just hung back and ran with a small group, which eventually fell apart. I went it alone with another guy Andrew.  At the foot of the Red Carpet climb, Andrew made a break up the hill, I let him go...I was now third...thinking this could go pear shaped.

I got to the top of the climb and then on the technical decent into Lake Elizabeth.  I caught Andrew and, as I learnt from the famous Rob De Castella, straight away made the pass.  Surprisingly Andrew sat on my heels the whole way around the lake, and the technical climb out.  He didn’t let go, hats off - as I threw in a few surges to test him. The support from the field we were crossing paths with was super encouraging so I pushed on hoping I wouldn’t blow….haha.

We arrived together at the top of Red carpet about to make the decent.  This was my chance to put some space between I went for it, and before long I couldn’t hear his feet tapping behind mine...this was good.

I then caught a glimpse of Scott in front.  His theory was clearly ‘out of sight out of mind’ but now I could see him, so I put the foot on the gas, hoping that I would stay on my feet, as it was wet and slippery, and, please don’t blow, as my energy levels were running out.  It was just a tease though, as I could see Scott, but I couldn’t work out how many seconds in front he was.  When you’re on these trails you can’t see much of the trail in front of you…that was what made it interesting.

We arrived at the base of Red Carpet.  Scott looks like he’s about 20 seconds in front with a k or so to go.  I keep pushing.  He keeps pushing, but he’s getting away.  And then…100m from the line, old mate, Andrew, cleverly snuck past me with a sprint finish.  Rookie error by me...but well done and congratulations fellas.  A cracking race and only 38 seconds between us.  I’ll be back next year for sure!!

Southern Exposure did a fine job for a first time, and I would highly recommend this trail run.  The course was an absolute pleasure to run on, and the scenery was amazing. The course was, as I suspected, challenging but that was what made it so special…

You can follow my other journeys on instagram and twitter @nmuscroft


TrailRun Magazine - Run Forrest Course Review 2013

Run Forrest Half Mara: course preview from 2013
On May 13, 2013

FAST, FLOWY, FERNY & FUN…that’s the official verdict for the upcoming Forrest Half Marathon Trail Run happening in the Otway Ranges in Victoria on 9 June, 2013. ENTRIES ARE NOW OPEN.

Trail Run Mag along with readers and trail guide writers Olivier Caire and Mike Honeyman decided that a race new to the calendar deserved a thorough going over, just to ensure those signing up would get their money’s worth. And you will, if you like 100% singletrack that rolls and winds through thick rainforest jungle, where there’s little climbing (and what there is remains gradual), a smidge of technical, but for the most part, a course that is perfect for trail runners of all skill and fitness levels.
For the BEGINNER, this is a great course as there’s nothing too meaty in it. No smashing hills, just a gradual incline out of the start before it’s a downhill roll to Lake Elizabeth - a serene mirror lake that has a Dali-esque quality to it, with dead tree daggers slicing up from its still waters, surrounded by lush, almost tropical forest. The course loops around the back of it, a little boardwalk at the rear, before back onto soft singletrack. Running anti-clockwise, runners are given repeated glimpses of spectacular lake views from all perspectives in between dashes through fern tunnels that make you feel like Skywalker in an X-Wing (although I was running TNF Ultra Guides, which did the job just as well).

For the INTERMEDIATE, this course becomes fun from the get-go. The trails offer up plenty of ‘feature running’ – that is there’s enough twisting and turning to get the core involved, there’s a few little downhill ‘speed’ moments but nothing that will put ou out of control, there’s views and vistas a-plenty, and it’s a course that, because it doesn’t belt you up too much, leaves room for those mid-packers wanting to slightly up tempo their run to make some speed and form gains.

For the RACER, this is a perfect course for testing the leg speed: you’ll need it if you want to be at the pointy end. This is almost the road runner’s trail race, in that the lack of beefy climbing combines with trails that are for the most part perfectly groomed and, for singletrack, wide enough to pass. Trail Run Mag won’t be surprised if someone puts in a time hat nearly resembles a road half marathon.

Our favourite section was the Lake Elizabeth loop – like a rollercoaster – and then, on the latter stages of the famous Red Carpet (every trail you run in this is a mountain bike trail with names and numbers attributed – you can’t get lost) you’ll find a sublime section that is the most technical on course. It weaves on a decline between trees with a drier patch than most of the course (which is for the most part soft underfoot – a wet day requiring something along the lines of the Speedcross 3), some rocky, rooty terrain and a weaving course making for fast, furious and fun tech running for the brave.

The best thing is, Forrest’s MTB trails are usually teeming with riders, making them a game of dodgems for trail runners usually – yet the lure of sweeping trails makes them a magnet for us trail junkies. That’s where Run Forrest is brilliant as it closes off the trails for one morning in June, allowing freeflowing enjoyment of the routes without fear of a head on with a two wheel warrior.

To be held on Sunday 9th June 2013, Run Forrest will be staged in the hinterland township of Forrest, nestled in the heart of the Otway Ranges.

The event offers 2 race options – a 21km half marathon and a 10km event, both of which will be staged on the world class trails of the Otway Ranges. Both courses will start just outside the township of Forrest at the beautiful Barwon River and will incorporate the beautifully groomed mountain bike trails for which Forrest has become renowned for.

Registrations for Run Forrest are now open. Don’t miss out!
Visit to enter online or for more information.

SOUPER BONUS!! Run Forrest is gonna be hot!
Run Forrest coincides with the 8th Annual Otway Soup Festival which will also be held on Sunday 9th June from 10am at the Forrest Public Hall. The festival features homemade soups, conserves, pickles, relishes, homebrew beers and wines and a wide range of free family entertainment including a jumping castle and market stalls.

Run Forrest and the 8th Annual Otway Soup Festival provide visitors another reason to visit the Otway Ranges and surrounding region over the June long weekend.

The Run Forrest event is one of two key events staged by Southern Exposure this year.

The Surf Coast 100 – a 50km and 100km Mountain Bike Festival will also be coordinated by Southern Exposure on Saturday 26th October 2013.

For more information about Southern Exposure and their calendar of events, visit

Run and Won

Winners of Run Forrest 21km for 2013 are:

Mens: Scott McGraw
Women's: Peri Gray


Photos of Run Forrest

To view your photos from the

Run Forrest 21k & 10k Trail Run 2013

Reg Ryan Photography