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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

rail trail fun run 2010

On the way back from Gladstone, I detoured westerly via the Somerset region, the valley of the lakes. Prior to settlement, this valley was used by Aborigines as hunting ground and for gathering food in winter. The area was opened to pastoralists in the 1840s.

Photo. 8.3 km rail trail Lowood-Fernvale

There are at least seven lakes in this area. It is full of scenery, bushlands and farmlands. Located here is Lake Wivenhoe the major water source for South East Queensland. This holds twice the capacity of Sydney Harbour and, believe me, that is a lot of water. Historical homesteads, buildings and rail trails criss-cross the region providing recreation for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. A 145km rail trail stretches across bushland, farms and forests and cultural heritage sites here.
There is also a wine trail and at least seven wineries in the Somerset valleys. The wineries grow grape varieties to produce chardonnay, Verdelho, viogneir, Semillon (whites), and shiraz, malbec, merlot and cabernet sauvignon (reds).
Of course i did not come here for the wine. I came here to run.


Fernvale (used to be called Stinky Gully) is a growth area in the Somerset region. It is on the Brisbane valley highway 30 km away from Ipswich, and 8 km south from Wivenhoe Dam. The Brisbane River passes through Fernvale. People come here for the popular tourist spots as well as for recreation (swimming and picnicking), canoeing, camping and fishing. The town is well-known for its sunday markets. Locals and visitors from all around travel into town to get some bargains such as farm fresh fruit and vegies.

I have been to Fernvale a few times before on my job doing deliveries. Those previous visits involved traipsing the new residential areas on the hillsides of Fernvale at the foothills of D'Aguilar range, and also trampling the grounds of the now busy new supermarket in town. I try to plan my trip to here such that i drive through the rainforests of mt glorious on the d'aguilar range, either on the way in or out. A sidetrip to Lake Wivenhoe is also often on the cards depending on time constraints. In these times the dam is at about 90% capacity so it should be quite a sight.

The rail trail between Fernvale and Lowood is a pleasant experience of sceneries and panoramic views along the Brisbane River. The trail is open to walkers, hikers, cyclists and horse riders. There is also now an annual Rail Trail Fun Run, held in July and which is open to all ages, including old me. Oh yes, and that's why I came here last month. The rail trail fun run is on an 8.3km section of trail between Fernvale and Lowood. This was developed in 2002 by the then Shire of Esk.
This distance would be equivalent to running from the athletics ground in Baguio to somewhere past camp dangwa in La Trinidad (Cordillera, Philippines).


The 8th Rail Trail Fun Run took place on Sunday 11 July 2010. More than 800 registered to take part. The course starts in Fernvale, winds its way through the beautiful Brisbane Valley, and finishes in Lowood.
On this trip i didn't have the opportunity to drive through mt glorious or past wivenhoe dam, but there's always next time. In the wintry morning chill, I drove and parked my car near the finish line in Lowood. Then i joined a group of runners in shivering and queuing to catch the free shuttle service back to Fernvale for the race start.
Quite a few runners have already assembled when the bus arrived in Fernvale.

After getting my bib and tying on my race chip, i sought out a drinks stand for a mug of hot chocolate.

Having thus warmed up inside, I also tried limbering up by stretching my stiff and cold legs. I made my way to the start line and eye-balled the opposition. Of course no one took any notice of me, a has-been, a never-been really.

They also ran the rail trail. And so did I. An 'also-ran'. A 'never-ran-fast'.


I sneaked to the front to steal a photo or two. But this was the nearest i got to the front of the race. From the start to the finish line, runners just kept going past me. Even the older runners left me eating their dust.
The course was mainly on compacted gravel and dirt tracks with a few undulations up and down. It ran mostly parallel to a road along the foothills. And like the Baguio-Trinidad road, it also meanders next to an adjacent river - the Brisbane river. I’m no stranger to this type of terrain, which helped my cause a bit.
Even the official event photographers thought i looked okay. Yes that's me leading. The bottom half of the race that is.

But many more runners put me to shame. So i’ll stop crowing. But seriously, they should ban 'serious' runners from these fun runs. These athletes and running royalty take the fun out of the fun run.
I think I will start a petiton at the next fun run. Ban the 'guns' from the fun runs!
They had better. Or else I'll get on my bike...
Don't say you ain't been warned.


At the finish, Somerset Regional Council hosted a buffet breakfast with an array of food and drink choices served under a giant marquee, all in seated comfort. I wasn’t going to miss out so I booked for the breakfast.

But first I had to finish the run.

I stumbled to the finish line in a PB race pace ever (under 10kph).



Martin Polichay is proud to pose for a photo.


So now to breakfast.
MENU: Fried, poached & scrambled eggs with fresh chives, Double smoked bacon, Pork & parsley chippolatas, Breakfast tomatoes topped with cracked pepper & garlic, Hashbrowns, Marinated mushrooms and red onion, Baked beans, Baby spinach, Pancakes with maple syrup & whipped cream, Selection of individual cereals & yoghurt, Orange Juice, Tea and Coffee.
(what no pandesal? tuyo? kanin? tocino? longanisa?)

That's the brekkie place under the giant marquee.

The race notice said: No Dogs, Bikes or Horses.
On any other day the rail trail is the perfect place to walk the dog or take the kids for a nice long bike or horse ride. However they (Dogs, Bikes or Horses) are not permitted in the fun run. Due to the narrow width of the trail and the quantity of runners and walkers participating, the organisers have decided that dogs, bikes (or similar) and horses may pose a safety risk.


They didn't say anything about clowns. And i don't mean him, he's a real one. I mean clown funrunners.

On the way back from the Somerset region, I drove back via Mt Crosby and again intersected the Brisbane river at College's crossing in Karana downs. There's fish in dem dar waters, i can see them jumping. I think they're giving me a hint.
Yeah I should try fishing...