Tour de Ridges still on despite fire ban in Canberra tomorrow

Tour de Ridges, Canberra

6.30am 21.2 km run & 15.3 km bush walk;
7.15am 15.3 km run;
7.30am 10.6 km out and back ‘flat’ Farrer – Isaacs trail run & walk

 Sunday 20 December 2015

Start and finish at Mawson sports field, Beasley Street, Mawson ACT
(near junction with Lambrigg Street)


Tour de Ridges update, Saturday 19 December: event still on despite fire ban

There have been three significant changes (number of entrants, weather forecast and fire ban) since the race bulletin was published last Sunday on the Australian Mountain Running Association website.

NOTE: Please read the bulletin if you have not already done so. It is at

Total Fire Ban approval with conditions:

Normally a Total Fire Ban means cancellation of all events in reserves but we have been given special dispensation to conduct the Tour de Ridges providing everyone finishes before 10am. A ranger will be on hand to check that we comply with this, so please do the right thing; otherwise approval in the future will be jeopardised.

To achieve this:

  1. For the 21.2k run starting at 6.30 and the 15.3k run starting at 7.15, runners would need to get to 10k on their GPS’s in 90 minutes to finish with 10 mins to spare before 10am, providing they do not do a massive slow down (ie. walk most of the way) in the second half of the course. For the 15.3k walk starting at 6.30, and any slow 15.3k runners starting at that time, they will need to average 12 mins per km for the first 10k, ie, reach 10k in 2 hours.
  2. Some entrants will need to swap from the 21.2k to the 15.3k, or from the 15.3k to the 10.6k.
  3. During the 21.2k, the turn off to do the 15.3k is just after the 2nd drink station, only 60 metres after entering Isaacs pine forest. So 21.2k starters can downsize to the 15.3k at that point if they are having a bad day or feel there is any doubt about making the deadline. 

Number of entrants:

There are now 270 entrants and this may increase on Sunday morning to 300, twice as many as last year. Implications of this include:

  1. Parking. We will need to park fairly efficiently (ie. close together) to fit most of the cars in the large carpark next to the start/finish area. Half marathon runners should please park on arrival at the far end of the carpark close to the toilet and change room block. This will make it easier for 15k and 10k runners on arrival to park efficiently back to Beasley St. There are other sports ground car parks off Heard St which are only a short walk.
  2. Toilets. With this many entrants, there will be big queues if everyone tries to use the sports ground toilets at the start/finish. Other options: go before you leave home; call in on the way at Woolworths at Mawson Place, Mawson and use the public toilets on the side of the building; do a warm up jog of 500 metres north from the start/finish to the Woolworths toilets. When using the toilets please be as quick as possible in consideration for the others in the queue.
    One of the conditions of approval for the event is that competitors do not defecate or urinate in the Nature Park areas. So please don’t plan on not visiting the loo before the start and then ducking behind some bushes in Farrer Ridge or Wanniassa Hills reserves.
  3. Plan to arrive early, preferably an hour, but at least 40 minutes before your race start, to allow for parking, collecting your race number, warm up, toilets and being at the race briefing on time 5 mins before the start.
  4. Drink stations on the course: there should be enough water and sports drink if people don’t drink multiple cups, and don’t pour water from cups over their heads.
  5. If you are a Canberra local, please bring your own water bottle for drinking water after you finish. Although extra water and sports drink have been organised for the finish, we may run out, given the warm day and number of runners.

Weather forecast: The forecast for Sunday morning is for 18 degrees at 6am and 27 degrees at 9am (and 37 in the afternoon).

Implications of this include:

  1. You need to be well hydrated at the start and you should wear a cap or hat soaked in water to keep your head cool.
  2. If you run at your usual pace, there is a risk of overheating and collapsing, so run slower than normal and enjoy the scenery.
  3. Consider changing your race distance from 21k to 15k or 10k, and from 15k to 10k. If you do so, advise registration.
  4. If you are a ‘slow’ 15k runner, ie. someone running at walking pace or walking at least 25% of the run, please start at 6.30am and not at 7.15am. Please tell the registration table before the start that you are doing the early start; and also tell the finish recorder that you were an early starter.
  5. Please consider wearing a hat and using sunscreen and carrying a plastic water bottle to douse your head along the way if the sun is out and is hot.
  6. The warmer temperatures increase the risk of snakes being active. Please read the section on snakes in the race bulletin.


John Harding
Australian Mountain Running Association