Up for a bout of rainforest running? Keen for cool clear creeks, smoothly flowing or challenging single track and social but competitive trail running? Entries have opened for events in the 2012 Dirty Northern Trail Running Series.
All events are within an hours drive of Cairns and have been selected to showcase some of the most scenic and diverse, as well as the most enjoyable and runnable rainforest trails in the region.
The Dirty 30 and Sweaty 60 Adventure Run in late February (25th) provides a nice little intro to tropical trail running with a fun and obstacle filled loop course beside Lake Tinaroo. Expect mud. Expect to get wet. Expect a slip and slide. Expect to get dirty, very dirty. Expect obstacles that provoke more laughter and fun than you previously thought possible during 30 dirty or 60 sweaty minutes of tropical running. There’ll be the Hay Bale Hills (but bigger), Mud Wallow Stinger Nets (but with a real sting!) and the sweet flowing Single Track (and now with lakeside views) you loved at the 2011 Smithfield Mud Run Event. But there’ll also be novel new obstacles (keep an eye on the website), better spectator access, great photo opportunities, a couple of wades (that’s water running – not blokes called Wade, although they’re welcome too), nice steady uphill, rip roaring downhill fun and a very memorable running experience jammed into a 1.5km loop you can tackle as many times as you like in your chosen 30 or 60 minutes.
March’s (18th) Speewah Legend Footrace is the first race in the actual Dirty Northern Trail Running Series and sends runners out on a scenic 17km loop of heavily shaded rainforest single track. Highlights include stunning panoramic views of the famous Barron Gorge, Trinity Bay and the Cairns region, a couple of speccy crossings of Stony Ck, massive Kauri Pines and following the foot tracks of Traditional Owners the Djabaguy and the pack and dray routes of early European pioneers. Check out some video footage from the course here. The park itself protects 2820ha and nine vegetation communities ranging from lush tropicalrainforest to mountain heath and forms a natural wildlife corridor linking the northern and southern reaches of the wet tropics. Possums, Tree Kangaroos, Flying Foxes, Musky Rat Kangaroos, Cassowarys, Amethystine Pythons, Spotted Tail Quolls and the odd leech are some of many native species resident to the park.
In April (22nd), the Gold Rush Trail Marathon boasts of being one of the most scenic marathons any adventurer could hope to tackle as it heads off into the heart of Australia’s wettest rainforest and traverses the saddle between Queensland’s two highest peaks. An out and back course over the historic Goldfields Trail, some say crossing the lovely East Mulgrave River without stopping for a dip in one of the North’s best swimming holes is a tremendous challenge in itself. Starting and finishing at the popular Babinda Boulders Swimming Hole it is one of the mosteagerly anticipated events on the endurance calendar.
Or, if up for some ultra ‘action’, the Spiny Cray Ultra is the third and final event in the series (24th June) and allows runners the opportunity to run through the naturally air conditioned Wet Tropics Highland Rainforest and a patch of cloudforest. The 57km run climbs (and descends) over 1550m through Mt Lewis NP – an area of rainforest described by the Department of Environment and Resource Management as a “a treasure trove of endemic plants and animals”. Wildlife protected by the park includes Golden Bowerbirds, Southern Cassowarys, giant 2m long blue Earthworms, Lemuroid Ringtail Possums, Daintree River Ringtail Possums and the event’s namesake – the Mount Lewis Spiny Cray.
With multiple distances to choose from in each of the Dirty Northern Trail Runs, a course is available for runners of all abilities, experiences and levels of sanity. For all the dirty details check out the Adventure Sport NQ website.