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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Rail Trail Fun Run 2011

Lowood-Fernvale Rail Trail Fun Run, Sunday 10 July 2011.
The annual rail trail fun run has become a major event. Last Sunday 10th July was the ninth running of the rail trail. The run went from Lowood to Fernvale this year. Much of the rail trail near Lowood is alongside the road to Fernvale right next to the Brisbane river. The rail trail is open for horse riding, cycling, walking and running. The gravel trail is compacted and maintained for the purpose. Cars are not allowed.
Back in January this year during the floods (January 2011 Floods), virtually all the rail trail went underwater. Keef, a fellow coolrunner, posted photos of the river:

from last year, before the floods...
Photo by Keef - July 2010
And from today, 6 months on from the floods in January.
Photo by Keef - July 2011.
Lowood and Fernvale are in the Somerset region in southeast Queensland, within 45-90 minutes from Brisbane.  Many lakes and towns of this valley of lakes are visible from the air on the flight line to Chinchilla. One cannot miss the sprawling Lake Wivenhoe and the rivers and creeks winding towards it from all directions. This lake/dam and other lakes/dams are great places for recreational activities such as fishing and water sports.

Prior to European settlement, the landscape and resources of the Fernvale-Lowood district were used and protected by the indigenous Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul peoples. Much of the sustainable balance between land and humans is owed to the stewardship by the traditional owners. This Aboriginal principle of land management is hopefully practised in present times.
Photo from Google earth.
Heading westerly, past the towns of Esk and Toogoolawah, the rolling hills and state forests come into view, followed by the green forests and Blackbutt hills of the great dividing range.
I have traipsed these parts before, sometimes for work, other times for recreation. In recent times, I worked in Fernvale, Tarampa, Toogoolawah and Blackbutt (yearning for home) in the South Burnett just on the northwest of somerset. And whenever I get the chance, I would drive past Wivenhoe dam and zigzag west-to-east up the D’Aguilar national park to Mt Glorious and then Mt Nebo or down to Samford valley.
Aside from the lakes, somerset region boasts of vineyards national parks, and country homesteads, that offer something different to city lifestyles. A feature of this area is the rail trails joining many small country towns. These rail trails provide a unique thrill and travelling experience which road travel does not.

Photo from BCC flood map Arc GIS
The rail trail is a remnant of the original railway line that used to transport stock and farm and timber products to markets in Brisbane. The railway line ceased in 1989 and the corridor is now a recreational trail. The 8km section between Lowood and Fernvale is just a short segment of the 148km Brisbane valley rail trail (the longest in Australia) set for completion in 2012.
A bright and not too cold (but cold enough) winter morning greeted runners arriving in the Lowood high school. Earlier I had driven to Fernvale where the race finishes, and caught a bus here to Lowood, venue for the race start.

The landmark of the high school building looked familiar to me. It reminded me that I did run last year’s run rail trail fun run 2010.

I reconnoitered around to the oval at the back of the stadium where some beautiful gum trees offered shade and protection. 

 The crowd slowly grew in number as buses kept bringing more and more runners every few minutes. 

I believe the total topped 900 this year which is again a new record.
We started off at about 0900h. From the school oval we raced across 300m of the grassed athletic grounds, where our running balance was tested by grooves criss-crossing the turf. I almost rolled an ankle once or twice. We then got on 200m or so of bitumen before we hit the rail trail. From the trail we get great views of the Brisbane river on our left hand side as we ran east to Fernvale.
Photo from Nearmap.
We ran the rail trail for about 2.5kms along the base of the Lowood hills. And for 15 long minutes I was literally eating the dust stirred and churned up by the many runners ahead of me. I was thinking if only i can turn the tables on these hare-like humans. Suddenly the dust wasn’t there. I looked up and around thinking a miracle occurred and that I had got to the front of the race.  We had deviated from the dusty gravel of the trail and had got back on the tar of old fernvale road. The dust may have dissipated but now the hard slog had come. This stretch of testing bitumen is about 3kms. I was surprised by the change in the route, perhaps caused by repairs to flood-damaged sections of the rail trail. The bitumen was starting to heat up in the mid-morning and a slight but lengthy incline started to take toll on the legs.
We rejoined the dirt trail for the final 2km of the race. I dutifully laboured the hard yards, in my place at the tail end of the run rubber band, in the final quarter of the race all the way to the finish.



Soon as I crossed the line I went straight down to the ground in a dizzy fit. A few seconds later I was breathing again, and managed to feel delight at finishing. 


Keef sidled up and I shook his hand. He hardly raised a sweat. He started from the back of the pack with his lovely wife, but quickly made it to the front end within the first kilometre. Keef kindly paced me for a bit, before I told him to go for it. He did and showed some of the young guns how it’s done.


The rail trail run is a family affair. There is a shorter 3km race part of the fun run. And at the finish line, kids have various fun and games activities to participate in.

Rail Trail Fun Run 2011 results.
MEN 8.3 KM.
1 GLEN YARHAM 0:25:10 M19-39  
2 JAY TWIST 0:26:22 M19-39  
3 CLAY DAWSON 0:27:27 M19-39  
4 MARK KENNY 0:28:15 M13-18
5 HAYDEN WILKINSON 0:31:29 M13-18
6 CONNOR MCNAMARA 0:32:17 M13-18  
7 TONY SHAW 0:32:56 M19-39  
8 MATTHEW CALLAGHAN 0:33:09 M19-39
9 JAKE OLDHAM 0:33:14 M13-18
10 ANDY JEFFERY 0:33:20,M40-59
11 MARKUS FOREST 0:33:37 M40-59  
12 GERARD DALY 0:33:39 M40-59  
13 JOHN MORRISEY 0:33:44 M40-59  
14 BRAD SEMPLE 0:34:06 M19-39  
15 JOHN BAGULEY 0:34:11 M40-59
16 ALAN CHURCHILL 0:34:23 M60+  

WOMEN 8.3 KM.
1 CLARE GERAGHTY 0:29:36 F19-39    
2 EMILY DONKER 0:30:59 F19-39  
3 MELISSA WATSON 0:33:42 F19-39  
4 ANGELA CLARKE 0:34:33 F40-59    
5 MADELINE MCGUIRE 0:34:51 F13-18    
6 KYM JAENKE 0:35:33 F19-39    
7 JULIE BELZ 0:35:44 F19-39    
8 TRISH WEBSTER 0:35:45 F19-39
9 LAURA DALY 0:36:24 F13-18
10 KATINKA VON ELSNER-WELLSTEED 0:36:31 FU12    
11 TYRA EVANS 0:37:11 F19-39    
12 CHRISTINE GILLIONS 0:37:56 F40-59  
13 LETECIA GRADY 0:38:11 F19-39
 14 SONYA SULLIVAN 0:38:20 F19-39   
15 LYNDELL BRUNNER 0:38:23 F40-59    
16 GEORGINA GREER 0:38:32 F19-39    
17 PAULETTE OLDHAM 0:39:11 F40-59    
18 JESS BILYJ 0:39:19 F13-18    
19 KATIE SWORDS 0:39:49 F19-39
20 SUSAN TOMES 0:39:50 F19-39    
21 LUCY MILES 0:40:06 F60+    

3KM RUN.
1 JACK HEALY 0:10:52 M13-18  
2 RHYS RODGERS 0:11:12 M13-18  
3 NATHAN HOWARD 0:11:51 M19-39  
4 MONTANA MITCHELL-LEPPER 0:12:09 FU12  
5 BLAKE LISTER 0:12:14 MU12  
6 DANIEL MACLURCAN 0:12:21 M13-18  
7 SCOTT MARTIN 0:12:28 M19-39  
8 QUIN BROZIC 0:12:44 M13-18  
9 TEGAN HALEY 0:12:56 F13-18  
10 JACK MILLAR 0:12:58 M13-18  
11 JACK APEL 0:13:07 MU12  
12 ETHEN BAMBRICK 0:13:10 MU12  
13 DYLAN WOODS 0:13:37 MU12  
14 DANIEL HUGHES 0:13:40 M13-18  
15 ZALI BRUNNER 0:13:41 FU12  
16 BEN PETERS 0:13:44 MU12  
17 ANNIE MCGUIRE 0:13:50 FU12  
18 CHRISTIAN BAILEY 0:14:03 M13-18  
19 TONI IVANOVIC 0:14:08 F19-39  
20 JAIME GIBBONS 0:14:22 M13-18  
21 FARRAH BROZIC 0:14:23 FU12  
22 SAM TYE 0:14:34 MU12  
23 CARLY JACOBSEN 0:14:36 F13-18  
24 SHAYNE JACOBSEN 0:14:39 M40-59  
25 SEBASTIAN KEANE 0:14:53 MU12