Event: Puffing Billy Great Train Race 2016
Date: Sunday the 1st May 2016
Location: Belgrave to Emerald.
Organised by: Puffing Billy Railway
The Great Train Race isn’t simply a race amongst the competitors – it’s an exciting challenge competing against the steam locomotive, Puffing Billy!
The race route extends 13.5 km’s through the hills and fern gullies of the picturesque Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park. The continual popularity of this unique run makes the Great Train Race an event not to be missed. The Great Train Race is organised by Puffing Billy Railway volunteers. In 2016, all proceeds and any additional donations went towards the Puffing Billy Menzies Creek Museum Redevelopment project.
Rain, lightning, hail! At 3am the sky opened up with storms causing havoc. This bodes well for a run in the Dandenongs. And in fact the start of the Great Train Race had to be delayed by 15 minutes this year the storms caused public transport delays. This meant starting later, but did allow for a fair weather window for the run.
Although qualified in the second Seeded Group (is yellow lime green really a thing?), I elected to start back with the bunch of Westerfoldians starting towards the rear of Group Three. My hit out on Saturday at parkrun had shown the legs to be ok but the snot factor from my headcold had stuffed up the lung capacity enough that racing today was not going to be a thing. So fun run it is.
There are four (4) seeded groups, identified by your Race Bib background colour – behind your race number.
Group 1 – Blue Background (300 runners)
Group 2 – Lime Yellow Background (750 runners)
Group 3 – Red Background (1000 runners)
Group 4 – Dark Green Background (1400 runners)
Note: The qualifying times for each seeded group are as follows:
Group 1 10km time, 40 minutes or less
Group 2 10km time, between 41 – 47 minutes
Group 3 10km time, between 48 – 54 minutes
Group 4 10km time, 55 minutes or more
Puffing Billy 1 was already in front of us by the trestle bridge on the way to Selby so it became us vs Puffing Billy 2 for the remained of the run, using the “get to the first crossing before the train” rule. There was a fair bit of congestion but that is to be expected given the numbers running. The hills are more gentle grinds than imposing, the scenery is awesome, and the course itself offers enough variability so it is not just a tarmac run. Averaging 5:11/km didn’t pop any corks and made for a pleasant run.
My official time was 1:10:03, so it only took us 1 minute to get past the starting line – not bad really, I thought it would take longer than that. Puffing Billy 1 was 0:56.20, Puffing Billy 2 was 1:19.08. Missed the first train by 0:13.43, beat the second by 0:09.05. PB stays at 0:47.16 (1986) surprising no one 😉
Runners on Day : 2,737 (Excludes race trains)
Runners Beating 1st Train
* Total : 189
* Males : 175
* Females : 14
Runners Beating 2nd Train
* Total : 2057
* Males : 1538
* Females : 519
 Puffing Billy runner beats steam train, again, in wet and windy conditions (2016-May-01) [The Age]