Tasman Arch to Fortescue Bay Trail Run 18k (Tasmania) 30th October 2016
By Lesley Mason
This is a tough roughly 18km run with 1000m of elevation through some of the most beautiful national park scenery you would ever see in the Tasman National Park. Most of the national park is accessible only by foot so it was a fabulous way to see a part of Australia I may not have otherwise.
Commencing at the Devil’s Kitchen lookout carpark, the run is limited to 170 people across two start groups. The trail started quite wide and followed the cliff top to a couple of more look outs. It then heads up, and up and up…. For approximately 2 kms through rainforest.
There were no steps! Just up and up a leaf littered, mossy single trail, with tree roots and rocks providing a few natural steps along the way. It was brutal and beautiful!
Pic 1. This is looking back down the trail at the beginning of the climb.
Pic 2. The view from the top!
The view from the summit was gorgeous.
From here the trail becomes extremely rocky and covered in moss and lichen. A sprained ankle was one false step away. As a result the descent was not all that much faster until you emerge from the rainforest.
Pic 3. This is the actual trail. Mossy rocks and leaf litter.
Then we were running along the edge of spectacular cliffs, one meter from the edge with a gale blowing. This section you could run fast… but want to stop to take pictures.
Pic 4. Looking back at the cliffs which I ran along.
At the bottom of a major descent the trail opened up into a clearing and you were once again at sea level enjoying the refreshing moments of sea spray being blown over the track.
Pic 5. When I got to sea level, the sun emerged from behind the clouds.
Then before you know it you’re rounding the point to Fortescue Bay. Hitting the beach for the final 1km.
Pic 6. The beach at Fortescue Bay. The finish line is at the other end.
The tide was high so needed to run along the soft sand, then up a ladder to get to the finish line with people calling your name as you cross the finish line.
5 tips to prepare for this run:
1. Train on long, steep hills with no steps. Heartbreak Hill seems easy compared to this, and I was craving the steps of the Giant Staircase.
2. Plan nutrition/hydration around time, not kilometers. Being slower than usual, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re using less energy.
3. Agility training. Due to obstacles and uneven rocky trail there was significant side to side, jumping and vaulting required.
4. Soft Sand running. With the last kilometer being along Fortescue Bay Beach, need I say more?
5. Where light coloured knee high socks to protect from the leeches. The lighter colour of my pink socks made the black leeches easy to spot and flick off.