An experienced team from Trail Run Magazine recently previewed the Run Forrest course first hand…here’s their official verdict…

FAST, FLOWY, FERNY & FUN…

That’s the official verdict for the upcoming Forrest Half Marathon Trail Run happening in the Otway Ranges on 9 June, 2013. 

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 monies 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. Entries are now open, don’t miss out!