Beyond the black stump

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Beyond The Black Stump Logo


Brief notes

This run is to help you recover from the Xmas and New Year holidays. It is mainly on bush tracks and fire trails, but with a little bit of road thrown in. It is often one of the most popular Fat Ass runs, possibly due to the scarcity of runs around the holiday period, and also many runners stepping up their training for the Six Foot Marathon. Maybe even a few people kicking off their New Year's Resolutions.

Note that it's no longer a Six Foot qualifier.

The run was first conceived approx Xmas 2002 and announced for New Year's Day 2003 with less than a week's warning. The area across the creek had been massively burnt by bush fire (and was still smoldering in places) and the run gave a good opportunity to survey the wreckage - hence the name of the run "beyond the black stump". Most runners finished covered in soot but declared it a great run and worthy of repeating the next year. Which happened!

Kudos of course to the Berowra Bush Runners who have been running to the Ruined Castle for many years and were gracious enough to pass the route onto Kevin Tiller who used the route as one of his favourites in preparation for marathon training during the 1990s and who co-ordinated the first running of "beyond the black stump".

Date/Time of next run

  • 7am, Monday 1st January 2018
  • For various reasons (family commitments, can't sleep, want to avoid the heat, slow) there is also an early start at 6am.
  • Almost every year there are bushfires around New Year. Make your own decision as heat stroke can be a killer - safety first.

Start Location

Berowra Community Hall, at roundabout at junction of Crowley Rd and Berowra Waters Rd, Berowra, New South Wales. This is approx 35km / 20 miles North of the Sydney CBD, which is 30 mins to an hour's drive depending on time/traffic. Berowra is also well-served by a train line, the station being 500 metres from the start (New Year's Day usually has a weekend service). Check out the map of the start/finish area here. If you are a Sydney Strider, this is a slightly different start position than the Berowra Big Dipper Star Run (by approx 20 metres).

Last year we overfilled the car park at the start, so I have prepared a small map showing the closet overflow parking in berowra here

Finish Location

Same as start (unless you are lost).

Start Facilities

Car park (free), toilets, water tap.


Approx 16km - Party Pooper's Option

After running to the ferry along with all the others in a joyful New Year's mood of conviviality and camaraderie, while the Full Monty runners wait for the ferry, you tip the ferry gate and slink back into the shadows, continue along the waterline through a carpark, and go up the steep escarpment, taking exactly the same return route as the Full Monty people.

Approx 33km - Full Monty Option

Entry Details

  • This run attracts quite a number of runners, so no special procedure - no need to tell anyone - just rock up and run. BYO maps if you don't know the route.
  • Please note that to ensure you don't miss any late breaking info read this website or the Fat Ass section of the CoolRunning Messageboards.

Time Limit

None - take as long as you like.

Entry Fee


Course Summary

A very difficult run on fire trail and technical single-file bush tracks. Lots of up and down. Great views but very hard work. For the bush lover. This Fat Ass run starts in Berowra at the northernmost extreme tip of Sydney Suburbs, bordered by the Kuringai Chase National Park.

The run starts with a short road section, then some firetrail and narrow bush tracks through Berowra, to the ferry at the most impressive Berowra Waters. Full Monty runners continue across the ferry, along the road for a short while to Berrillee, and along a fire trail to The Ruined Castle of Calabash close to the waters edge.

The route makes its way back to the Ferry the same way. Once across the Ferry, turn immediately left and follow the Great North Walk (this section familiar to Sydney Trailwalkers) and continue until you re-enter Berowra at the Turner Rd trailhead. Run back along Turner Rd and Berowra Waters Road to the start.

Good Luck in your challenge!

Detailed Course Description and Maps

The Full Course Description is here. The Map and instructions can be downloaded here in MS-Word Format - 2.4Mb or Adobe PDF format - 1.6Mb.

Course profile

Aid Summary

As there will be no aid supplied, you should carry at least one water bottle. Luckily there are reasonably frequent water taps and even a few opportunities to buy coke/ juice/ food making it very feasible to run unsupported by crew (Shops/Toilets at Berowra Waters - on each side of the Berowra Waters Ferry).

Route Marking Summary

There will be no track markings specifically put up for this run. The Great North Walk sections have track markers. You should pick up a FREE! map of the course at the start, or print out your own. If you come off the route, look at your map and work out the best way to get back on route. You should also bring along a plastic envelope or something to keep the map dry if it rains or if you sweat heavily.

Further Information

All Time Results

  • We gave up keeping this maintained as the numbers grew too large to accurately record runner times, and insufficient evidence that people do not go wrong/short etc.
  • Also it's no longer a Six Foot Track qualifier (oh the good old days) so the importance of results has receded, as have the number of participants
  • Beyond The Black Stump All Time Results (2003-2007 inclusive) Includes an estimator for converting black stump times to six foot times