Tour de Ridges post race newsletter

2019 Tour de Ridges post race newsletter

1. 2019 was the 20th Annual Tour de Ridges. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the record field and to all the helpers in particular. It was wonderful seeing all the ladies in tutus having a great time and really getting into the spirit of the event. We were very lucky with the weather given the very hot days and bad smoke haze since then.

2. Thank you to the helpers: Martin Fryer, Diane Arthur, Geoff Barker, Shiree Kofod, Belinda Ranse, Kelly Bennett, Tamara Box (in a moon boot!), Caroline Campbell, Tom and Keira Banks, Patricia McKibbin, Rachel Burns, Louise Sharp, Stuart Doyle, Michael Thompson, Steve Appleby, Rebekah Stamatis, John and Carol Harding.

3. An organisational disaster averted: Shiree Kofod is an extraordinary person of many talents, including coach and guru of Elevate Running and 2019 ACT W50 mountain running champion. On Sunday morning she saved the bacon of the many participants in the Tour de Ridges. We turned up at 5.20am to find that for the first time in over 10 years the big boom gate at the entrance to the race car park at Mawson sports fields was locked. No worries, said Shiree, who arrived a few minutes later as a volunteer on registration, ‘I have a key!!’. So she rushed home, got the key and was back in 10 minutes, and all was saved!! Then Shiree helped out with registration and back up race bib recording for the rest of the morning. Thanks also to Geoff Barker who helped direct people to alternate parking when the gate was locked and where to park once Shiree opened the gate.

4. Results: Tour de Ridges results are at thanks to Martin Fryer at FlyerUltra Timing.

5. Photos: See the following albums. Photographers: John Harding, Nathan Guinness, Diane Arthur, Rachel Burns.

6. Some race history. Tour de Ridges started off as Tour de Mountain 20 years ago as a pre Christmas long social run on the trails over the peaks around the Woden Valley and initially attracted around 60 runners. The start/finish was outside a coffee shop in Mawson Place across the street from Woolworths which had public toilets (still there). The coffee shop was great for finishers to hang out while waiting for the presentations. The first ‘peak’ on the course was on Mawson Drive as runners headed on footpaths across to Isaacs and up on to Isaacs Ridge where there were 2 more peaks to experience before descending to Long Gully Road and heading up and over Mt Wanniassa. After the Erindale Drive underpass runners headed across Farrer Ridge to cross Athllon Drive and to the ascent of Mt Taylor before a descent to the Mt Taylor foothill trail and a run through the streets of Pearce back to Mawson after crossing Athllon Drive again. The short race was a 9 km up and down Mt Taylor. Course signposting was on foot and took about 10 hours, sometimes in 30+ degrees heat.
Fifteen years ago on the Thursday before race day John Harding tripped on a rock and ended up in Canberra hospital with a fractured hip. Steve Appleby and Mick Corlis stepped in and marked the course and did all the race organisation so everything went off smoothly. Steve is an ideas man when it comes to runs and he suggested running Isaacs Ridge in reverse to avoid going down the very steep trail that the current course goes up on entering the pine forest. At the same time the shopping centre area had become too busy and running along streets and crossing major arterial roads had become a no no from an ACT government approval perspective. So something very similar to the current courses was designed using underpasses instead of road crossings to link the reserves, and cutting out Mt Taylor as there is no underpass option. When the Centennial Trail was constructed, the section in Wanniassa Hills reserve was incorporated in the course as a major improvement.
For the future, a couple of changes are being looked at. Tom Banks, the Beasley Street road marshal this year, found that this had become far busier than in previous years so alternatives will be looked at. For the 15k course, there is now a beautiful trail on the left in Isaacs pine forest immediately after the Long Gully Road drink station.
The other big changes in recent years have been the introduction of electronic timing and live internet results thanks to Martin Fryer, and the use of white signs with black crosses on side tracks that have almost eliminated anyone going off course.

7. New website. The Australian Mountain Running Association website has closed down and a new one is under construction, with a substantial amount of calendar and other material to be loaded . In the interim please refer to but also to get the latest information follow the Australian mountain running Facebook page and the trail running Canberra Facebook page.


1. Registrations are now open for the first Kowen Trail Run of 2020, the New Year’s Resolution Run, in Canberra’s Kowen pine forest plus on manicured eucalypt forest trails at Wamboin. This event, held on Sunday 19 January 2020, offers two distances – a half marathon or a 12km trail walk/run. Both races start and finish at the Wamboin Community Hall and take runners through some spectacular Kowen landscapes.
The half marathon is run on a mix of forestry trails and single track, affording runners beautiful views of Canberra and surrounds and the 12km course includes 8km of continuous single track through the native forest.
Early bird discounted entry ends at midnight on Thursday 9 January. All Kowen Trail Runs support the Wamboin community and raise money for the Wamboin Rural Fire Brigade.

2. The free 2.3 km Mt Ainslie Run Up and Power Walk is on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 12.45pm at Treloar Cres, Campbell across from the War Memorial and the free 2.3 km Black Mountain Run Up and Power Walk is on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 12.45pm at the Clunies Ross Street car park 150m east of the entrance to the Botanic Gardens.

3. 11 to 18 January: Thredbo Fun and Fitness Week, organised by YMCA of Canberra Runners Club.

4. TO BE CONFIRMED: 12 July Australian Senior, Junior and Masters Mountain Running Championships, Mt Tennent; 1&2 August: Bush Capital Bush Marathon Festival; 14 Oct: Mt Majura Vineyard 2 Peaks; 10 Nov: Deep Space Marathon, Half Marathon and 8km; 15 Dec: Tour de Ridges

Have a great Christmas and New Year and take care on the hot and smoky days.

John Harding
Australian Mountain Running Association