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Heysen Trail RunHas anyone run the entire Heysen Trail in one go?


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#1 RunDave

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 03:50 PM

Do any CRs know of anyone who has run the entire Heysen Trail in one go? I know many have done it in parts, but has it been run start to finish? Is there a record? There doesn't seem to be much info on the net.

I have a crazy idea that I would someday like to run the entire 1200-odd km trail solo and possibly unsupported.

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#2 Wida

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 04:53 PM

An American bloke at work rode the entire Hysen Trail a few years back unsupported. I could see that it would be a lot more challenging to run though.

Hmmm...it might sound crazy, but a cool kind of crazy. If you decide that you want some company on your "solo" expedition then as long as you didn't run it like Trailblazer it sounds interesting. Not sure if the "missus" would be keen on the idea though :)

How many days do you reckon...14 or so  :D

#3 RunDave

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:24 PM

This is a long-term goal. Not sure when I'd do it but it is just sitting there in the back of my mind, waiting to be done. I think it would most likely take around 3-4 weeks as a guess. At 50 km/day it would be 24 days, then I'd maybe throw in a rest or low km day or two. But I might be able to build up to running 70-80 km/day, then it might take 3 weeks. I think the hardest part about this challenge would be the rugged nature of the trail. Think running a trailblazer every day for 24 days, except much of it on worse trails than the Yurrebilla. I don't know much about the northern part of the trail either, so it would require a lot of reconnaissance. This might be a 4-5 year goal I think.

#4 Wida

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:36 PM

After having a bit of a look, it must have been the Mawson trail that the American bloke did as bikes aren't allowed on parts of the Heysen. This makes sense given that some of the Heysen trail follow the Yurrebilla.

Yeah, 24 days (in theory) doesn't sound too bad, but would definitely require a bit of training that's for sure. I reckon that the biggest concern would be water as some of the days would probably go by without coming across any water supplies.

Sounds like a really cool run.

#5 RunDave

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:46 PM

I didn't think he would have ridden the Heysen. There are many parts that would be unrideable, but you could detour around, but there are also many parts where bikes aren't permitted.

Carrying gear, and most importantly water would be the hardest part. Unlike many of these long-distance runs I wouldn't think it would be possible to push a running pram or pull a trailer. I'd be really interested to get some feedback from other CRs who have done any long-distance runs over rough terrain.

#6 PolaBear

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 07:13 AM

Terry C would be able to give you more details than I can, however there was a group associated with SARRC that ran the whole trail in sections (hikers call  this a section hike as opposed to a through hike) some years ago.

#7 TerryC

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 01:43 PM

Thanks for that lead in Polabear...

In the recent discussions about trying to get some regular trail running happening around Adelaide, I have had a couple of half conversations with people about maybe replicating the SARRC group that ran the full Heysen in sections. Your thread, RunDave, has got me thinking more about this idea and putting digit to keyboard...

First up I’m a bit confused by how long the Heysen Trail actually is with it generally advertised as 1200 kms  - but when you add up each of the individual sections it comes out at 1050 kms. Unless I am missing something I may have just saved you 2 or 3 days running!  If you could average 70 kms a day you should be able to do the full trail, at least on paper, in 15 days. Someone help me out if my calculations aren’t quite right.

Cape Jervis - Victor Harbor:   60kms
Victor Harbor - Kuitpo Forest: 101kms
Kuitpo Forest - Mt Crawford: 110kms
Mt Crawford - Kapunda:                   66kms
Kapunda                 - Burra:                 130kms
Burra                 - Spalding:                 125kms
Spalding                 - Crystal Brook:   75kms
Crystal Brook - Melrose:                   95kms
Melrose                 - Quorn:                   80kms
Quorn                 - Hawker:                   95kms
Hawker                 - Wilpena:                   56kms
Wilpena                 - Parachilna:                   57kms
TOTAL:                                             1050kms

I have suggested that we could opt to do most of the southern sections in lots of single days with the runs further north running both days of a weekend (marked with *). The people I have been talking to are fellow Yurrebilla runners who have shown we can do 56kms with good support – what we don’t know is our capacity to back up the next day and do it all again… only one way to find out, I say! These calculations are only rough estimates from looking at maps from the guidebooks.  And if we doubled up the southern sections as well we could run the 18 days over  9 weekends (Average of 58.33kms per day or 116.7kms a weekend).

W/E 1: Cape Jervis - Victor Harbor: 60kms
W/E 2: Victor Harbor - Mt Magnificent: 71kms
W/E 3: Mt Magnificent - Mt Lofty:                 64kms
W/E 4: Mt Lofty                 - Kersbrook: 66kms
W/E 5: Kersbrook                 - Greenock: 59kms
W/E 6: Greenock                 - Marrabel:                 57kms
W/E 7: Marrabel                 - Burra  Rd: 50kms
W/E 8: Burra  Rd                 - White Hill Rd: 60kms
W/E 9: White Hill Rd - Hallett:                 58kms
W/E 10: Hallett                 - Spalding:                 47kms
W/E 11*: Spalding                 - Mt Remarkable:        120kms
W/E 12*: Mt Remarkable - Quorn:                130kms
W/E 13*: Quorn                 - Hawker:                 95kms
W/E 14*: Hawker                 - Parachilna: 113kms
TOTAL:                             1050kms

Another option would be to run over all three days of the long weekends and the four days at Easter making it look something like… (I have used 2009 dates because I know the public holidays but maybe it is something that we could do in 2010 or beyond)

Australia Day 24-26 Jan
Days 1-3
Cape Jervis - Victor Harbor: 60kms
Victor Harbor - Kuitpo Forest: 101kms
Total: 161kms
Average per day 53.7kms

Adelaide Cup 7-9 Mar
Days 4-6
Kuitpo Forest - Mt Crawford: 110kms
Mt Crawford - Kapunda: 66kms
Total:176kms
Average per day: 58.7 kms

Easter 10-14 Apr

Days 7-10
Kapunda - Burra: 130kms
Burra - Spalding: 125kms
Total: 225kms
Average per day: 63.75kms

Anzac Day 25-27 Apr
Days 11-13
Spalding - Crystal Brook: 75kms
Crystal Brook - Melrose: 95kms
Total: 170kms
Average per day: 56.7kms

Queens B'day 7-9 Jun
Days 14-16
Melrose - Quorn: 80kms
Quorn - Hawker: 95kms
Total: 175kms
Average per day: 58.3kms

Any July weekend
Days 17-18
Hawker - Wilpena: 56kms
Wilpena - Parachilna: 57kms
Total: 113kms
Average per day: 56.5kms

Putting it all together over 6 months could make it quite attractive for people to commit themselves to doing… Any takers? Would also depend too on finding people who would be prepared and interested in providing the support.

You could also start playing around with the order in which you do the run. For example you could do Cape Jervis to Mt Lofty on the Australia Day weekend then run the rest of the trail from the north, from Parachilna to Mt Lofty, to give you that nice sense of running home and a good spot to finish. Need to be mindful of the fire restrictions which close parts of the trail from November to March.

Anyhow food for thought… and it all looks so easy on paper (or the screen!)

I have often dreamt about taking a month off and walking from Adelaide to the Northern Flinders Ranges, not necessarily on the Heysen, but calling in on family in the Mid North plus staying overnight at pubs. I had thought I wouldn’t need to carry much more than a day pack with minimal change of clothes, lunch and water which would have significant impact on how many kms I could do in a day. I reckon there would only be a few spots I would have to spend the night out camping… which is only a problem in terms of supplies and the load.

I reckon it is not too different, RunDave, if you wanted to do the entire trail unassisted. For those places where you didn’t have somewhere to stay, you could always plant a stash of food, water, bedding etc on the way up to Parachilna and then use them as you head south a few days later… its mainly the northern sections that you would have any problem finding a bed as the towns are that much further apart.

If you ran it straight from Parachilna to Cape Jervis, I for one will wave you through the hills out the back of my place, then travel down to cheer you over the finish line…

I was going to suggest, RunDave, that you check out the Heysen website to see if they have any details of people doing the course end to end and the time taken but see you have already added a question to the forum.

I will ask around to see if I can find any of the SARRC people who ran the full Heysen. I know some people who ran some sections. I have also seen some of the photo albums they kept.  I reckon I might be able to track down the guy who organized the whole thing as I heard the other day that he is still around the place. Maybe we could corner him for a coffee... I'd be interested, for example, in how they divided the trail up, how long they took, what parts you can't run on etc.. I'll let you know if I can get in touch with him.

PS - more than happy for someone to check my arithmetic!

Edited by TerryC, 11 November 2008 - 01:47 PM.


#8 RunDave

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 02:12 PM

Thanks for that exhaustive reply TerryC. It certainly sounds a lot more doable when you break it down like that (plus take a few km off). I would definitely want to run most if not all sections of the trail over the next few years to plan for the main event. I don't think I could commit at this stage to any organised runs, and certainly not every long weekend, but I think I would like to get out for a few multi-day runs next year (after the fire-ban).

I have sent out a few questions to trailer companies about running with a one-wheeled trailer such as the BOB Yak or the Extrawheel. I don't think a two-wheel trailer would be suitable for much of the trail, but I'm not sure either how a one wheeler would go with balance and how the harness would feel. What do you think? Has anyone here run with a trailer before?

I'm in no hurry to organise any of this, but we could meet sometime for a coffee to discuss the long-term plan and other trail-related issues. I think I would most likely try and use the run to raise money and awareness for a local charity, maybe Operation Flinders. I would also try to get some form of sponsorship for gear etc. Any ideas/advice that anyone has about fundraising and sponsorship would also be greatly appreciated.

Dave

#9 chilliman

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 02:23 PM

View PostRunDave, on Nov 10 2008, 04:50 PM, said:

Do any CRs know of anyone who has run the entire Heysen Trail in one go?
.....
I have a crazy idea that I would someday like to run the entire 1200-odd km trail solo and possibly unsupported.

When I first discovered the Heysen book a few years ago I talked to a few mad Victorian Ultra runners about maybe running the whole lot at something like 40-60km a day. Larapinta was on the agenda then and we sort of forgot about it.
I read an article on a couple that walked the whole lot casually in about a month in Outdoor magazine at the time, that sort of got the juices flowing too.

View PostTerryC, on Nov 11 2008, 02:43 PM, said:

First up I'm a bit confused by how long the Heysen Trail actually is with it generally advertised as 1200 kms  - but when you add up each of the individual sections it comes out at 1050 kms.

The official Web Site says 1200km.
I have the trail books at home TerryC. I reckon you are out because of all the extra little sections that branch out from the main trail. Like I know for example there is a branch out to Hahndorf that runs through the Cedars that I have run many times, but it would be an out and back from the main arm and is probably not included in your list above.

I will check tonight and report back.

Thanks for starting the thread rundave.

#10 RunDave

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 02:34 PM

Thanks Chilliman. Your post got me thinking that this thread should be good for any Heysen related running, not just about one person's dream. The more information we can gather here about the trail, the better.

Do you think I would have to cover all of the little off-shoots, re-routes and alternative trails to constitute running the whole thing? What would constitute a standard end2end for record purposes?

That couple would have been walking something like 7-8 hours a day to do it in a month. I don't like walking that much, but if I was to do say 60 km/day, then I would need to run 7-8 hours a day too.

#11 TerryC

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 03:08 PM

Chilliman - you are probably right... but booklet is a bit confusing. For example page 69 records three shorter walks: Hahndorf to Cedars (8.5km one way); Bridgewater Mill to Mt Lofty (10km one way) and Summertown to Norton Summit (8 km one way) - yet only the Cedars trail is marked in blue on the accompanying maps.

It also appears that there are different sections where the trail gives you different options e.g. Piccadilly to Mt Lofty direct or via the Botanic Gardens (page 61 map) or the Mt Crawford forest section on map 68 which even has two profiles... guess this has to do with entry and exit points and parking spots and whether you are heading north or south...

Not sure then in relation to your question, RunDave, as what qualifies for end2end... maybe a further question for the Heysen forum? Must be a standard question for them. Gets a bit silly, I reckon, if you have to cover every diversion to qualify for end2end...

#12 chilliman

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 03:33 PM

View PostTerryC, on Nov 11 2008, 04:08 PM, said:

Not sure then in relation to your question, RunDave, as what qualifies for end2end... maybe a further question for the Heysen forum? Must be a standard question for them. Gets a bit silly, I reckon, if you have to cover every diversion to qualify for end2end...

I'm guessing some of the extra legs would be for accommodation purposes, ie. to visit and stay at Hahndorf overnight etc. Would be different though if you were running it, as an example there's accommodation at Mylor Conservation park on the trail. But then again a beer at the inn would be very tempting to run that extra bit. :D

Noticed rundave has signed up already, so hopefully we will have an official end to end distance soon.

#13 TerryC

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 03:58 PM

I'd reckon the extra 10km would be better spent heading onto The Scenic which is right on the trail in Norton Summit!

PS. Don't forget to check my maths with the trail guides tonight just to see how I cut 150km off the trail... seems too big an amount to me... (makes the 54km Yurrebilla confusion sound like nothing in comparison!)

#14 Wida

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 05:24 PM

View PostTerryC, on Nov 11 2008, 02:13 PM, said:

Putting it all together over 6 months could make it quite attractive for people to commit themselves to doing… Any takers?
Hmmm...it all sounds very interesting indeed to me. If it was all up to me then I reckon I could make the commitment but I just don't know if the other half would like me disappearing every long weekend :D It definitely would be a fantastic achievement that's for sure. At a minimum I'd definitely be keen to do some sections if I couldn't commit to the whole lot.

#15 sunny1

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 06:06 PM

View PostRunDave, on Nov 11 2008, 02:42 PM, said:

I'm in no hurry to organise any of this ... I think I would most likely try and use the run to raise money and awareness for a local charity, maybe Operation Flinders.

Glad to hear that you are in no hurry! If one were to sponsor this adventure at $1/km...  :) one may have to save up for quite a while!  :D

#16 Simlin

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 07:24 PM

I was looking for something interesting to do in 2011.
I think if we can get these monthly trail exploration runs going Terry then momentum will build up until the dam bursts and this just seems like a natural progression.

#17 RunDave

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 09:01 PM

View Postsunny1, on Nov 11 2008, 06:36 PM, said:

Glad to hear that you are in no hurry! If one were to sponsor this adventure at $1/km...  :) one may have to save up for quite a while!  :D
I was thinking more along the lines of corporate sponsorship, but I guess I'll need all the support I can get.

#18 sunny1

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 09:37 PM

Corporate sounds like the way to go ... leave the little people to sponsor little(er) races/runs!

#19 RunDave

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:08 PM

I might have to call on some "in kind" support rather than financial.

#20 RunDave

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 08:13 PM

Here is the link to the thread I have going on the friends of the Heysen trail forum:
http://www.heysentra...c.php?p=702#702

Looks like at least one person agrees with your mathematics skills Terry. I'd say 1050-1100 km would constitute an end2end run.

Raised the subject of this run with my wife a few days ago, she replied that she wants to walk to Melbourne one day, so she didn't think it was that big a deal!

#21 TerryC

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 03:26 PM

Quote

Raised the subject of this run with my wife a few days ago, she replied that she wants to walk to Melbourne one day, so she didn't think it was that big a deal!

Quid pro quo... So who is going first?

#22 AnthonyB

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:21 PM

Does anyone think it is possible for a 16 year old to run/walk the trail end to end in 14 days? Maybe 3 weeks is more realistic?

If my school doesn't get an 1000km relay organized, I might do this run by myself for charity. I might want to do it in July next year.

#23 RunDave

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 07:12 PM

View PostAnthonyB, on Nov 17 2008, 08:51 PM, said:

Does anyone think it is possible for a 16 year old to run/walk the trail end to end in 14 days? Maybe 3 weeks is more realistic?

If my school doesn't get an 1000km relay organized, I might do this run by myself for charity. I might want to do it in July next year.

Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

I don't want to discourage you, but running this course end2end is a major undertaking. In 14 days you would need to cover around 1100km and possibly more if you need to take any detours or get to towns for supplies etc. So you would need to cover around 80 km per day. You would probably be running at a maximum average of 10 kph so you would be running for around 8 hours per day for 14 days. Add to this the fact that many parts of the trail are quite rugged, slowing you down even more. If you did it solo or even supported, you would need to carry quite a bit of gear, food and water as well so you would be slowed down even more.

So in considering whether you could do it, I would ask a few questions. Do you have any ultradistance and trailrunning experience? What is the longest run you have ever done in one day? What is the longest week you have done? Have you done any multiday long distance runs? Do you have experience camping with minimal gear and supplies? Would you be doing the run supported? and who would be supporting you? How many training km are you doing right now, because you would already want to be well advanced in your training if you are aiming for July. Have you been out training on the Heysen Trail already?

All of these things and more you need to consider. I 3-4 weeks would be a more reasonable estimate. Let me know if you would like to getr out for any training runs. Also, check out the thread for the new regular SARRC trail running group.

Dave

#24 chilliman

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 01:41 PM

View PostAnthonyB, on Nov 17 2008, 09:21 PM, said:

Does anyone think it is possible for a 16 year old to run/walk the trail end to end in 14 days?

What RunDave said.....

It all depends on where you are at. Even over 3 weeks that is at least 50km per day. I wouldn't expect a typical 16yo to be able to handle that without possible long term damage. But you may not be a typical 16yo. More info required, but impossible really for us to judge here.

#25 RunDave

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:04 PM

Terry, I just noticed one major problem with your schedule for running the trail. Many parts of the trail are close during the fire danger season which ends on April 30 (and starts again on 1 Dec), so we would have to start after then I think.

#26 TerryC

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 08:07 PM

View PostRunDave, on Nov 23 2008, 07:34 PM, said:

Terry, I just noticed one major problem with your schedule for running the trail. Many parts of the trail are close during the fire danger season which ends on April 30 (and starts again on 1 Dec), so we would have to start after then I think.
You're right Dave - back to the drawing board...! Maybe that means I will just have to run it end to end... You're not looking for company are you?

#27 TerryC

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 08:14 PM

Quote

If my school doesn't get an 1000km relay organized, I might do this run by myself for charity. I might want to do it in July next year.
Which school, AnthonyB?

#28 AnthonyB

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 04:49 PM

View PostTerryC, on Nov 23 2008, 08:44 PM, said:

Which school, AnthonyB?

St Ignatius College.

I know that our cross country teacher has done a 1000km relay before and is very keen to do it again.

#29 TerryC

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:13 PM

View PostAnthonyB, on Nov 24 2008, 05:19 PM, said:

St Ignatius College.

I know that our cross country teacher has done a 1000km relay before and is very keen to do it again.

I thought it might be St Ignatius, AnthonyB. I was long time friend of Br Paul Callil who organized St Igs long distance relays to benefit St Pat's Special School...

Aside from having gone there myself, we also have a teacher from the junior school run with us regularly. Maybe there are ways that we can help out with your relay... or maybe we could involve school teams in Yurrebilla next year...

#30 EuroRunner

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 03:42 PM

RunDave sounds like a great run to do the full trail. If you are looking for some extra inspiration there is a great DVD called The Runner, which follows ultra runner David Horton's 2700 mile run of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in the US. It stretches from the Mexico border all the way up to Canada. His record on that particular trail was 66 days.

#31 EuroRunner

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 05:12 PM

I notice there has not been much movement on this thread since November? Are you still planning to do this run?

#32 RunDave

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:42 AM

View PostEuroRunner, on Feb 28 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

I notice there has not been much movement on this thread since November? Are you still planning to do this run?
Hi Eurorunner,

This run is a long-term goal for me, maybe in 2-3 years time. At the moment I am in the planning and preparation phase. I'm looking into the logistics of doing the run unsupported. Over the next few years I'll try out some of the gear out on the course. I'd like to have covered most parts of the course before I do the whole thing in one go. Thanks for the info about David Horton. I'll have to check that DVD out to see how he managed it. Do you know where I can get a copy?

Dave

#33 EuroRunner

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:01 PM

View PostRunDave, on Mar 8 2009, 12:42 AM, said:

Hi Eurorunner,

This run is a long-term goal for me, maybe in 2-3 years time. At the moment I am in the planning and preparation phase. I'm looking into the logistics of doing the run unsupported. Over the next few years I'll try out some of the gear out on the course. I'd like to have covered most parts of the course before I do the whole thing in one go. Thanks for the info about David Horton. I'll have to check that DVD out to see how he managed it. Do you know where I can get a copy?

Dave

You can buy it from the states www.journeyfilm.com but can probably pick it up from other sources if you look around.

#34 TerryC

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:48 AM

The SARRC Trail Running Group ran part of the Heysen near Victor Harbor last Saturday - a 27km loop from just west of The Bluff through Newland Head Conservation Park. At first we thought that we wouldn't be able to do the run because it was just outside the season - but you can run the Heysen all year round on the parts that go through conservation and national parks - so maybe with a bit of tinkering my original schedule could work somehow...

The other thing that came to me more though on looking at maps after the run, and particularly wanting to see more of the southern coastline - was what a great run from Cape Jervis to Mt Lofty would make - South Australia's very own "Coast to Summit". I would reckon that all up it is a 220 km run (will go back and check my sums)

Now if ever we got this going - I would reckon the way to go would be to offer it as a three day staged event with all runners stopping at the same location and then starting together at the same time the next day. I must be soft but I can't say that the thought of running endlessly for hours on end without sleep through the night is something that attracts me too much... but would love to be fit enough to be able to back up three days of 70km+ running...

Any takers? - make Yurrebilla seem like a doddle! PolarBear has suggested that it would make a great warm up for the Coast to Kosci which this year is scheduled for 11 December. Maybe it is just something that could be scheduled in late October or mid November - using Yurrebilla (27 September) and Trailblazer (10/11 Ocotber) as training runs!

If you need some inspiration for such a crazy idea check out the photos link from Saturday's run at  Regular Trail Runs Adelaide Hills & Mt Lofty Ranges.

Edited by TerryC, 22 April 2009 - 12:55 AM.


#35 AndrewC

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:05 AM

View PostTerryC, on Apr 21 2009, 10:48 PM, said:

Any takers?
Interested...

#36 Wida

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:19 PM

Keep me posted Terry. It sounds like a great run.

#37 RunDave

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:54 PM

Just bumping this thread back up and also informing all that I have started a new blog to follow my preparation, training and progress during my Heysen trail run.

I am aiming towards running the entire Heysen trail solo and with minimal assistance later in 2011. In the next year I will be preparing logistically, seeking sponsors, training and doing a few trial/reconnaissance runs.

Feel  free to add any advice/encouragement either here or in the comments of the blog. I'm particularly interested in anyone's experiences in doing this sort of run. What sort of equipment did you carry? What sort of sponsorship did you seek/get? What sort of training did you do for the expedition?

I also intend to use this expedition to raise funds and awareness for a charity. At this stage I am looking at supporting Operation Flinders, but I'm open to other options including not having a charity and just doing the run purely for the personal challenge.

If anyone wants to join me on any of the trial runs, I'll post when I'm going to do them.

#38 Yumigo

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:40 PM

Hey Dave great to see you are still keeping the dream alive! I also would love to be involved as an end2end runner of the Heysen and depending on how the Yumigo! business goes in the next 12 months would like to help out with things. As you know I have a Heysen 100 planned which I am using as a stepping stone to longer runs along the Trail. I personally would like to see more promoting of this enormous trail as it showcases the range of natural beauty that SA has to offer.

Keep me in mind, and I will be following your progress, perhaps may be able to join you for a run or two.