The 2015 Two Bays Trail Run was the 11th Annual but Fifth Official Two Bays Trail Run. The build up to this event can only be described as enthusing!
This year the 56km event was also the Australian Ultra Running Association (AURA) Short Trail National Championship, which in itself, speaks volumes for the event organisation, location and terrain.
Prior to the beginning of the 2015 event Course records for the Two Bays Trail Run were held by stars of the Australian Ultra Trail community such as Mick Donges (old course), Dion Finocchiaro (new course) and Kirstin Bull (new and old course) for the women.
With the Friday cancellation of Bogon 2 Hotham (B2H) another well-respected Victorian Ultra and a UTMB qualifying race. Two Bays saw an influx of top quality athletes for the 56km event and National Championships. This completely changed the predicted podium with only 2 days before race day, and there was even mention of the course records being reset.
The Two Bays Trail run was originally a FATASS event, but it has now grown to one of the most popular challenges in Victoria. On Race day two simultaneous events are run, a 28km (one way) event and ‘The real deal’ 56km Ultra (out and back), with the 2015 event seeing a record 239 runners completed the 56km event, while there were 824 finishers in the more popular 28km race.
This event holds a great community feel, with enthusiastic volunteers, a great Race Director, and Crew, multiple viewing points for support, environmentally conscious ethics and a setting that, would have you stopped in your tracks, on any other day but race day. The dedicated social media pages and accounts for Two Bays is full of activity leading up to the race and following the race, it really showcases the community feel this event provides, even though it is one of victorias biggest ultra trail events.
The 56km event is an out and back run with a 5km section diverting the 56km runners away from the oncoming 28km runners which allowing a great level of support and encouragement to be shared amongst runners.
The 56km event Traverses the Peninsula from Cape Shank to Dromana incorporating its highest point, Arthur’s Seat (1,000ft). Passing through 3 National Parks along the course, participants experience vast variations in trail conditions (tight tree lined single track, fire access road, sandy trails, board walks and some sections of gravel and tarmac road). Runners witness some incredible 310-degree views of the Mornington Peninsula all the way to Melbourne. As with all Australian Ultra’s, wildlife and weather play a huge part in the races makeup, Sightings of Kangaroos, Wallabies, Snakes, Echidnas and Blue Tong Lizards is almost guaranteed. There is also a fall back date for the event, should a ‘Total Fire Ban’ day be announced for race day.
A true piece of long distance running advice is an absolute must for the Two Bays Run and that is: Do not go out too hard and fast, this is not just to safe guard you from ‘Bonking’ or ‘Blowing up’ ,but also to minimise the risk of encountering a snake! Let the front-runners go ahead and scare them away. Better to be safe then bitten (please note, during the 2015 event, no snakes were witnesses on the trail)
The course involves an undulating first 5km, then a steady incline through Greens Bush National Park leading up to the short and steep climb up to Arthurs Seat. This is then followed by a fast and steep descend to the turn around point at the Dromana Foreshore (where a Bell is waiting to be rung). Then, as you guessed it, that fast steep descend becomes a steep, slow climb. Followed by a steep descend and relatively friendly section of flat/ descending trail. At the final road crossing (attentively manned to stop the flow of traffic) you could be forgiven for thinking it was all down hill for the final 5km, but with 51km in the legs, the minor undulations from the outbound legs, now become very punchy mountains.
Magnus Michelson (2nd place) was in control of the lead at half way (4min 30sec ahead) he held this up to 52km of the 56km event. This is where eventual 1st Place Vajin Armstrong, took the lead amidst the final undulations to claim the crown. Rob Walters completed the podium. 1st place (Vajin) and 3rd (Rob) were both originally part of the B2H line up and were able to transfer their Hill training to the Two Bays with excellent results
With the event doubling as the AURA Short Trail National Championship, a second podium was in place for the day, which saw the Australian title going to Magnus Michelsson, followed by 2nd Place Majell Backhausen and 3rd place Francesco Ciancio
For the female podium Kirstin Bull took top honors, followed by 2nd place Tash Fraser and 3rd place Kellie Emmerson.
This podium for the females remained the same for the Australian Short Trail Championships.
Two Bays Trail Run is highly recommended race if you are in Australia for some summer sun! It provides all that Australia has to offer in one big 56km stretch of trail!