History could be made and records broken at this year’s Great Train Race as Echuca resident, Tarli Bird, goes for her third consecutive win in the 13.5km run – something nobody else has been able to achieve in the event’s 36 year history.
Registrations are now open for the 2017 Great Train Race, which Tarli won in the women’s division in 2015 and 2016. Tarli said that while she is aware of the record, she is more concerned about trying to beat the train and her times from previous years. “I really enjoy trying to beat the train at each of the four crossings and the adrenaline this brings when you can hear the train in the distance,” Tarli said. “It’s a challenging run and provides a great sense of accomplishment when you finish. I always feel better once I am over the 2km hill, which never gets easier or shorter each year! The event allows you to enjoy the Dandenong Ranges in a unique way by giving you the opportunity to run on roads that are usually unavailable to runners due to traffic.”
“I am training well and confident that I can run a similar time to previous years,” she said.
Puffing Billy Railway Special Events Manager, Matt Collopy, said part of the Great Train Race’s popularity stems from the unique challenges it presents for runners. “Despite the race being relatively short in distance, the three hill climbs in the first 10kms certainly test the runners, with the final 3-4km being run at a fast pace on a soft, downhill trail,” Matt said.
“Hearing Puffing Billy’s whistle but never knowing if you are ahead or behind the train creates anticipation and excitement among the runners as they traverse the varying landscape of bush
terrain, sealed and dirt roads. The race is not for the faint hearted so I encourage all participants to train accordingly in the lead up to race day,” he said.
The Great Train Race is one of the oldest and most popular events on the Australian running calendar, and the 2017 event is expected to attract 3200 participants, from competitive runners to those who simply want to challenge themselves in a unique landscape. The Great Train Race is organised by Puffing Billy Preservation Society volunteers with all proceeds and any additional donations going towards the Puffing Billy Menzies Creek Museum Redevelopment project.
Date: Sunday April 30, 2017
Time: 9:30am Race Start – Bayview Road, Belgrave, Victoria
Finish Line, Emerald Lake Park, Emerald.
Round 1 – Saturday 22 April – Jells Park Relays
XCR Schools – Saturday 29 April – Jells Park Relays
Round 2 – Saturday 13 May – Wandin Park Cross Country
XCR Schools – Saturday 20 May – Albert Park Road Relays
Round 3 – Saturday 27 May – Cruden Farm Cross Country 8km & 16km Heritage Round
Round 4 – Saturday 17 June – Bundoora Cross Country
XCR Schools – Saturday 17 June – Bundoora Cross Country
Round 5 – Saturday 8 July – Sandown Road Relays
Round 6 – Saturday 16 July – Albert Park 10km Road Race
Round 7 – Saturday 29 July – Wendouree 15km & 6km Road Race
Round 8 – Saturday 12 August – Anglesea Surf Coast Ekiden Relay
Round 9 – Sunday 3 September – Burnley Half Marathon & Junior 5km – TBC
Round 10 – Saturday 16 September – Princes Park Relays