Event: Puffing Billy Great Train Race 2017
Date: Sunday 30th April 2017
Location: Belgrave to Emerald
Organised by: Puffing Billy Railway
Puffing Billy’s Great Train Race is a 13.5km race against the iconic Puffing Billy Train through the Dandenong Ranges starting from Belgrave, Victoria.
Discover the wonder and awe of this 36 year old running event in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. The race route takes runners through fernglades and hills, along tarmac roads and multi-purpose trails competing against Australia’s favourite steam engine.
This year I was in the first seeded group (Blue Bib) and we were marshalled down to the starting line and clustered very close to the start banner. I was over on the right hand side of the road and had a great view of the opening shenanigans on the firetruck ‘podium’. I was still reasonably unsure of what my objective was to be as my initial plan had been to finish and then head back to find a group of Westerfoldians who had planned on me coming back to them in previous days – discovering you couldn’t come back onto the course until after 11:30am threw a spanner in the works. I still had my loaded trail vest on for a training run, so determined a tempo run was probably the order of the day … maybe 4:30/kms? Meh, make it up as you go 😉
Being up at the start meant no delay over the starting line, and we made good time over the first few kilometers. I relaxed into the climb from about 5.4km knowing it was a good 2km incline and managed to stay ahead of our nemesis until the Menzies Creek crossing, just before 7km. Having been beaten to the crossing it was now all about beating the second train.
My favourite section of this run is just after 11km as we turn off onto Nobelius Track and start the flowing decent towards the finish, the atmosphere of this trail is magic.
In the end, I averaged 4:25/km so near enough to the 4:30/km thoughts from earlier in the day. A thoroughly enjoyable run in good conditions, but 4 Minutes and 45 Seconds slower than Puffing Billy. PB stays at 0:47.16 (1986) surprising no one 😉
Bib Number: 3908
Puffing Billy 1’s Time: 55:24
Male Position: 278 of 1494
Overall Position: 294 of 2214
Member of Team: Westerfoldians
(Winning Team: 185:33, 3:05:33)
Team Time: 4:47:06
Team Position: 30 of 45
This year’s winners. Female winner Gemma Maini (49:12), and male winner Nick Earl (43:10) with Puffing Billy.
The 36th installment of the annual event saw Puffing Billy challenge 2200 runners over a distance of 13.5km through Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park.
Runners on Day: 2,213 (Excludes race trains)
Runners Beating 1st Train 55:24
* Total: 125
* Males: 118
* Females: 7
Runners Beating 2nd Train 72:09
* Total: 1,123
* Males: 935
* Females: 188
What an awesome mob of #Westerfoldian runners out there today, both running and supporting!