Mt Baw Baw Trail Fest - Reports

Shifting Goals - On the Run

A lot can shift in the space of two hours, as well as 12 months. We'll start with 12 months. For the Snowgum Run in 2022 it was bucketing with rain! I'm talking about cats and dogs proportions. Anyone who was dry that day hadn't stepped outside. This year, we were kicking up dust in the sunshine and breezy conditions.

As for the reference to two hours, the day started with that unwanted feeling of fatigue and a week that was a little more taxing than I'd intended - that's life. The body didn't feel spritely or up for a 15k trail run with 500m of elevation gain. I aimed to use the same mantra that I took to 4 peaks last year, "do what you can, where you can". Just go for a run and finish. No time in mind, just finish.
Five Harriers members fronted up to the start line between the distances of 15km or 21km. Father and son duo of Ron and Miles Verschuur and myself were tackling the 15km and Glenn Crawford and Geoff Francis decided to take on the half marathon distance.

As a distinct departure from most events, we started 2 minutes early. I had started at the back of the pack and somehow found myself skipping further back. It felt like no level of trail knowledge would help me today. It's 2km from the start to the summit of Mt Baw Baw. Just get to the top and use the downhill to cruise and ease into it. But knowing the twists and turns of the trail, plus where it kicks up and flattens out doesn't necessarily translate to covering the distance well. I walked a lot and broke out into a laboured trot when I could. Ron and I weren't too far apart over the first few kilometres within the Mt Baw Baw trail network and were together up to the summit of Mt St Phillack. Which really means that I was doing my best to keep up with Ron. I had to put in a few bursts of effort to stay in touch.

My favourite part of this course is the descent from the summit of Mt St Phillack down to the Rock Shelter/Camp Saddle. In the past I've thought that I'll spend my tickets here to have some fun and then live with the fatigue and energy deficit that surely follows. My approach was no different this time. I opened up the stride and the single track invitingly 10 tilted downhill and I passed two people in what some might say was questionable fashion - however, Melbourne drivers would shrug it off as what needs to be done to deal with traffic. It felt good, but could feel the body complaining that the effort was too high.

Baw Baw Snow Gum Run

Five members of the Traralgon Harriers took part in the annual Snow Gum Run at Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort on Saturday. Four distances were on offer with 15km, 21km, 36km or 44km.
Three Harriers took part in the 15km event and two in the 21km half marathon distance in what is the club's closest alpine event.

The 15km and 21km courses saw runners wind their way through mature, twisted snow gums as they go up and over Mt Baw Baw before venturing into the Baw Baw National Park and summitting both Mt St Phillack and Mt St Gwinear. The 21km runners descended to the car park before returning to Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort. Entrants were treated to fabulous conditions with sunshine, mild mountain temperatures and a pleasant cooling breeze.

Miles Verschuur finished second overall in the 15km event continuing his strong form from Thursday night runs and a 15km event at Rokeby a week before. David Hood and Ron Verschuur ran close together for the first half of the event and by the finish were only separated by a few minutes.

In the 21km event both Glenn Crawford and Geoff Francis put in strong efforts. They both climbed over 700 metres in elevation over the scenic half marathon distance with Crawford finishing six minutes ahead of Francis. Results: (selected)

15km: Miles Verschuur 1.26.25, David Hood 1.56.25, Ron Verschuur 2.03.20.

21km: Glenn Crawford 2.29.00, Geoff Francis 2.35.16.

Well what a fantastic weekend—so many great runs and records broken and we were lucky with the weather. On Sunday, the rain came down after the finish of the 1/4 km events and Monday was cold and windy—I know as I was scoping out a new 34 km run for next year—Gortex jacket, beanie and gloves—brrrr.

Whilst the adults flew down the trails, to me the highlight was the kids 1 km run on Sunday when 5 year old Gustav Kift came flying across the finish line in 7.53 minutes, you should have seen his dad’s face—I think Ed was the proudest, most excited father in the world, and he was just waiting to download all the details to Gustav’s own Strava account. Second place went to our youngest runner ever, Ryder who at 19 months finished the 1 km course in 15 minutes (possibly with some support from mum and granny), he ran across the finish line to claim his Freddo Frog!

It was great to see so many people taking part in the longer runs on the Saturday and Sunday and coming back tired but feeling fulfilled from a day out in some amazing country.

Shane Winzar smashed the 42 km course in 4.44.41 and was quickly followed to the finish by Andrew Downie in 4.51.17 and Mike Cardiff in 4.52.58.

In the womens 42 km Megan Butler finished in 5.17.39, followed by Melissa Urie in 6.54.56 and Rhonda Gale in 7.17.20, a superb effort in finishing as Rhonda was out on the course longer than anyone else and had to contend with warm sunny conditions.

In the 21 km, Patrick O’Driscoll thrashed the course in a time of 2.01.47 to take 1st M whilst Megan Brown took out the ladies’ in 2.40.45.

In the 15 km Erchana Murray-Bartlett finished in an amazing 1.21.21 and was followed in the men’s by Evan Johnstone in 1.31.39.

Sunday saw the 7 and 4 km races with Vincent Rabl taking out the men’s 7 km in 40.29 and Megan Brown backing up her 21 km win to take out the ladies’ 7 km in 45.39.

In the 4 km it was a family affair with a very cool Oliver Reeves winning in 25.38 and Aninta Deed taking the ladies’ in 29.28. All the other 4 km places were taken by members of the Deed and Dubelaar families.

Full results are available on the results page.

Thanks to our volunteers, Baw Baw Ski Patrol and Baw Baw Resort Management who all helped out in making this a great weekend. And a special vote of thanks to Karen—our photographer who struggled around the course with a sprained ankle!! If you would like some great photos from Baw Baw Trail Run Festival they can be purchased from

Hold the date for next year—Baw Baw Trail Fest—3–4 March 2018 including the new 34 km course to Erica Car Park via Mushroom Rocks—a stunning and fast run.