Deep Space Mountain Marathon Festival 2017 enewsletter

Deep Space Mountain Marathon 2017 enewsletter
Race day – Sunday 10 December

1. Venue: Orroral Space Tracking Station picnic area, Namadgi National Park

The start/finish is at the Orroral Space Tracking Station at the end of the Orroral Road in Namadgi National Park.

2. Weather forecast and gear requirements

See and
Sunday 10 December. Min 9, max 27, Slight (10%) chance of light rain. Light winds. Sun protection recommended. UV Index predicted to reach 15 [Extreme]

Make sure you have running shoes for the race which have very good grip as the running surface is steep in places. 

Fun run cups take 50 years to decompose in landfill. So we are doing what many other trail runs have done elsewhere in Australia and overseas and phasing out use of these. So if you are doing the half marathon or marathon, please wear a hydration vest, or Camelback, or carry a 500ml water mug, and top up at the drink stations which will have water and sports drink containers with taps. If you are doing the 8km or 5km run or walk, then carrying a mug should be fine if you will need a drink along the way.
Another reason for wearing a hydration vest or Camelback is that the Orroral Ridge Road (2WD in good weather) is currently closed and we don’t know whether we can drive in to set up the usual 7km point drink station. If not, it will be 8 km in between drink stations.

3. Chest numbers and race check in

On race morning you will need to report in on arriving and collect your chest number. Your race number is listed in the start list on the website at

Please arrive in plenty of time for this (at least 40 minutes before your start time) and to visit the loo (please use the portaloo in the carpark). There is a compulsory pre-start briefing 10 minutes before each event covering safety and other issues. Please be at the start line 10 minutes before your start for this briefing. 

4. Detailed event information

Please download and read the detailed event information, including a map of the course and race time limits and cut off times, at

Start times are:

6.30am marathon run
7.30am half marathon run and walk
9am 8km out and back run & walk; 5km out and back run & walk.

Course descriptions.:
Start/finish at Orroral Deep Space sign in the Orroral Tracking Station carpark. 
Half marathon course: From Orroral Tracking Station to Honeysuckle Tracking Station campground and return on well maintained 4WD road. See map in the event information.
Marathon: 2 laps of Half Marathon course. 
8 km course: an out and back undulating course which avoids the half marathon course steep hill. The course turns around at the 4km mark. It is then 4 km to the finish. 
5 km course: out and back on the half marathon course. The 2.5 km turnaround point is 80 metres past the Orroral River bridge.

5. Car pooling, getting there and parking when you arrive

Be careful driving: there are lots of kangaroos on the roads early morning and late afternoon/evening. Allow at least 65 minutes driving from the centre of Canberra.

From Central Canberra, travel to Tharwa. After crossing the historic bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at Tharwa, stay to the left and drive south, on the Boboyan Road passing the Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre. Continue on this road until you get to the Orroral Road turnoff sign. Turn right on to this road and follow it to the end of the bitumen. CAUTION: On entering Namadgi National Park please drive at 40 kph only as there are many kangaroos and most have no road sense. 

PARKING: When arriving, do NOT park in the small public carpark. Follow the FUN RUN PARKING signs to the left then right to park in a large concrete base area. Registration will be at the large picnic area shelter.


Avoid driving early morning. Camp overnight at the Orroral campground, a 10 minute drive from the race venue. Pay at the Namadgi Visitors Centre on the way out on Saturday afternoon, or book online. 

Features: A covered shelter with seating, fireplace and gas BBQ.; Composting toilets. No showers; Shared wood BBQs (bring your own firewood); Sealed road access. In camping, please bring your own supply of water and food, plus a rubbish bag to take all garbage home with you.

7. DRINK STATIONS & TOILETS ON THE COURSE: There are planned to be drink stations at the start/finish; after 2.5kms, after 7kms and at the 10.55km turnaround point near the Honeysuckle Tracking Station camp ground. The 7km drink station may not be possible as Orroral Ridge Road is currently closed following the rain.

There will be water, sports drink and lollies at each drink station, plus muesli bars and bananas for marathon runners at the half marathon turnaround. Marathon runners can also have their own halfway refreshments.

Please note that the run/walk is wholly within Namadgi National Park; do not drop cups or gel wrappers or any other rubbish along the course, leave them only at drink stations.

There is a portaloo close to the start/finish area and another toilet only 150 metres from the half marathon turnaround point at Honeysuckle. Please use these and not the bush in the national park. If you do go into the bush, Namadgi rangers have asked that you only do so at least 100m from a water course, that you did a 15 cm hole and cover it up afterwards.

TOILETS ON THE WAY TO THE RACE: In past years there was a long queue for the toilets pre-start and some people missed the pre-start briefing. Please consider stopping on the way to the race at the toilet block in Tharwa on your left immediately after crossing the bridge over the Murrumbidgee River, or at the Orroral camp ground toilet block.  


Time limits are necessary for personal safety and for consideration to drink station attendants who volunteer many hours to help on the day.

The following time limits shall apply and persons not achieving the time limits will be disqualified.

Marathon: must reach the halfway point in 2 hrs 45 mins to continue, then the finish in 5 hrs 30 mins to not be disaqualified. Any marathon runner who withdraws at the 21.1k point (at the start/finish) will be included in the half marathon results.

Half marathon run and power walk: 4 hours 20 mins.

8 km run and walk: 3 hours.

The awards are as follows:
Large engraved medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd males and females in the marathon, half marathon, 8k and 5k runs.
For all other finishers: a choice from 100 Deep Space 2017 medals and 50 Deep Space mugs.

 10. SNAKES:

One reason for the time limit is the danger of dehydration and heat stress. Another is that Namadgi National Park has both dangerous brown snakes and red bellied black snakes and they come out onto the tracks from mid to late morning onwards on warm days. Please be aware of this potential danger. There have been more sightings of snakes by runners in Canberra in recent weeks than in previous years because of relatively high rainfall in the last 12 months.

Please read the section on first aid for snake bite in the following: In summary, if bitten, stop still, firmly bandage the affected area (use your running singlet) and get the next runner on the course to seek urgent assistance for you.

11. MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: There is none at Orroral.


In the Bush Capital Bush Marathon and Ultra in July 2010 several runners who were carrying significant injuries ran anyway. Some even carried pain killers and took them on the run. This is highly dangerous. In the Deep Space marathon it is even more dangerous if sections of the course end up being closed to vehicles and the only way you can be rescued from the course is using the Canberra hospital rescue helicopter (which will be very expensive for you).
So if you are carrying an injury, or suffering from an illness, do NOT run.

I am short of helpers at the start/finish: 1 car parking marshal, and manual backup recording. If you have spouses/other supporters who can help out while they are waiting for you to finish, please let me know. I would appreciate it if one or two of the 8km/5km runners could arrive early (5.45am) and be an extra parking guide for people arriving between 5.45am and 8.45am. Please email me at if you can help out. 


Please see


GoPro video by Peter Komidar: 


Marathon: John Winsbury 3.09.34; Angela Bateup (44km) 3.50.34.
Half marathon: Matt Crane 1.26.33; Lizzie Ingham 1.48.17.
10 km: Matthew Zeitlhofer 42.53; Melissa Clarke 48.55.
8 km: nil. Not held before.
5 km: Greg Hosking 21.55; Leanne Laajoki 21.20.

17. TOUR DE RIDGES, Sunday 17 DECEMBER: 10.6k; 15.3k; 21.2 k

I need a few more helpers for this: register online to help at
Helpers receive wine or chocolate.

All entries strictly close at 6pm next Wednesday. NO entries after that and no entries on the day. Please enter NOW if you are planning to participate.


Please read the event information and this newsletter. Your question should be answered! Do not email or message any queries after Friday as there is no mobile or internet contact in the Orroral Valley.


John Harding
Event organiser
Australian Mountain Running Association