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34 Australian trail and road running events worth leaving home for

23 Aug 2021

Updated April 2022

Running has always been one of the best ways to combine physical fitness with the great outdoors. 

Road and trail running events are a great way to stay motivated, become part of a community and build up your trophy cabinet. They’re also perfect for discovering Australia’s amazing national parks, forests and coastlines!

Australias best trail running events banner

If you're into running, use this state-by-state list of some of Australia’s best road running and trail events to plan your next outdoor adventure!

QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | NSW | WA | NT

Trail Running Events in Queensland

Brisbane Trail Marathon

May 1, Enogerra Reservoir, The Gap

Australias best trail running events brisbane trail marathon

This iconic trail running event starts and finishes at Gold Creek Reservoir, Brookfield, an entry point to Brisbane's momentous trail network.

Including open fire-trails, narrow and single-track trails that traverse eucalypt woodlands and lush subtropical rainforest, this event offers all levels of competitors a challenge and the full experience of trail running close to the city!

Kokoda Challenge: Brisbane

May 28-29, D'Aguilar National Park, Brisbane

Australias best trail running events kokoda brisbane

In honour of the Kokoda Spirit, this 48km, 30km & 18km event winds through some of Brisbane's toughest terrain.

The track undulates through natural green scenery west of Brisbane Forest Park. Starting at Brookfield Showgrounds, make your wa to the checkpoint at McAfee's Lookout before returning to the showgrounds via the subtropical rainforest of D'Aguilar National Park, reminiscent of the Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea!

Rock 'N Beef Bowen Trail Run

June 19, Case Park, Horshoe Bay Road, Bowen

Australias best trail running events bowen

The scenery on this trail run includes stunning beaches and rocky headlands with views to the Whitsunday Islands.

The course includes several technical trail sections with steep climbs and fast descents.

The Great Pyramid Race

August 6, Gordonvale

Australias best trail running events great pyramid

The MSF Sugar Great Pyramid Race is an extremely tough event that takes place outside Cairns every year.

Essentially a race up Walsh’s Pyramid, the whole thing began with a wager between two cane farmers over who could run up the 922m peak the fastest! The full distance is only 12km end to end but the terrain and elevation make this a challenge even for experienced runners.

Whitsunday Trail Fest

September 11, Airlie Beach

Australias best trail running events whitsundays

Previously called Run The Great Whitsunday Trail, this event includes 3 distances.

The full 58km ultramarathon course takes you from the finish line to the start line and back, starting at Airlie Beach Lagoon and heading toward Brandy Creek before returning to Airlie Beach. The 28km is one way from Brandy Creek to Airlie Beach.

Paluma Village Trail Run

October 30, Village Green, Paluma, near Townsville

Australias best trail running events paluma village

The Paluma Village Trail Run starts and finishes at the village green in the Paluma township, north west of Townsville.

There is an array of trails around the village crossing creek, passing waterfalls and lookouts. Paluma is cooler than the coastal region and it makes for great trail running during October. There is a 6km short course, 10km intermediate course, and 20km long course.

PLAN YOUR QLD RUN WITH DISCOVERY

Trail Running Events in South Australia 

Belair Marathon

May 28, Belair National Park, Belair

Australias best trail running events belair marathon

Belair National Park is one of the country’s oldest national parks, established back in 1891!

A favourite for family picnics and outings with easy access via train trip up from the city, the park remains a thing of beauty with giant trees, historic pavilions and endless kilometres of stunning trails thats make it the perfect setting for a trail marathon!

Pichi Richi Marathon

June 26, Port Augusta to Quorn

Australias best trail running events pichi richi

The Pichi Richi Marathon is a point to point road marathon celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022.

The full marathon starts on the west side of Port Augusta and takes runners across the SpencerGulf, up through Pichi Richi Pass in the picturesque Flinders Ranges toward the Quorn Oval Complex.

Sturt Gorge Trail Run

August 7, Craigburn Road, Blackwood

The Sturt Gorge Trail Run incorporates the multi-use Craigburn Farm and Sturt Gorge trails. 

There are three awesome courses, which take runners on beautifully designed and constructed single track, along river trails, and up high with fantastic views. There is magnificent scenery, beautifully designed and constructed trails featuring kangaroos, koalas, and birds.

Mt. Crawford Trail Run

September 4, Mount Crawford

Australias best trail running events mount crawford

The Mt Crawford Trail Challenge has four distances on broad tracks through the native woodlands and pine plantations of Mt. Crawford Forest.

Featuring magnificent scenery, beautifully designed trails, kangaroos, koalas and birds, the longer courses have expansive views from Mt. Pleasant summit, and the extra-long course visits Mt. Crawford summit.

Yurrebilla Trail Ultra Marathon

September 25, Belair National Park

Australias best trail running events yurebilla

This is a well-known event among the SA trail community.

Never more than 12km from Adelaide’s CBD, the entire run offers stunning views, amazing gorges, waterfalls and loads of wildlife. Check out experienced international runner David Byrne's review of the event here.

Heysen 105 Trail Ultra Marathon

October 22, Rocky Creek

Australias best trail running events heysen 105

Credit: @iomerino

This has quickly become an iconic trail running event that traverses a 115km section of the 1200km-long Heysen Trail.

Runners can experience the best of trail running conditions across distances from 11km up to the full 115km. Multiple national parks form the course with abundant wildlife and wide open spaces making this a truly Australian experience.

Cobbler Creek Trail Run

November 6, Cobblers Creek Recreation Park

Australias best trail running events cobblers creek

Cobbler Creek offers three distances (25k, 16k and 10k) along single track that includes plenty of fast, easy sections and moderate elevation.

Watch for ‘roos as you climb Porosa Hill and enjoy views to the coast on the way back down past the old Teake ruins. A great way to explore Cobbler Creek National Park.

PLAN YOUR SA RUN WITH DISCOVERY

Trail Running Events in Tasmania

Tasman Run

May 22, Tasman National Park

Australias best trail running events tasmania

The Tasman Run is an 18km trail run from Tasman Arch to Fortescue Bay in Tasmania.

The event starts at the impressive coastal formations of Tasman Arch/Devils Kitchen and traverses the clifftops via Clemes Peak through to Fortescue Bay. Along the way be spoilt by spectacular views over Eaglehawk Neck to the north and Cape Hauy and the Candle Stick to the south. 

Launceston Running Festival

June 12, Launceston

Australias best trail running events launceston running festival

The McGrath Launceston Running Festival, one of Tasmania's premiere running events, is back in 2022.

Distances include the half marathon, 10km, 5km and 1-mile run and walk for all ages and ambitions. The flat, fast and fresh course takes in many of Launceston's highlights. 

Flinders Island Running Festival

September 2-4, Flinders Island

Australias best trail running events flinders running festival

Flinders Island is a special place to run. Beyond rolling farmland hills there’s a world of natural wonders to explore, from pristine coastline to the rugged mountain ranges of Strzelecki National Park.

With four different runs to choose from, this is a real community weekend, making it the perfect excuse to spend some quality time in nature.

Triple Top Mountain Run

November 13, Near Sheffield

Australias best trail running events triple mountain top

Credit: @milnerjase

Not an event for the faint-hearted, this 19.7 km course takes on the three Tasmanian peaks Mt ClaudeMt Van Dyke and Mt Roland before finishing at Claude Road Hall.

With over 1,100m of elevation, and almost 1,000m descent over the final 5km, runners will need to conserve their energy for the end! 

PLAN YOUR TAS RUN WITH DISCOVERY

Trail Running Events in Victoria

Mornington Running Festival

May 1, Mornington Peninsula
Australias best trail running events mornington

Held on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, the route takes runners along the esplanade from Mornington towards Mount Martha.

Set in one of Australia's most stunning courses, this is a unique experience to run or walk.

You Yangs Trail Running Festival

July 16-17, You Yangs Regional Park

Australias best trail running events you yangs

Credit: @jedouglas73

Created to introduce all levels of runner to trails, this festival of running has grown to be a very popular course.

With fantastic winding trails, technical granite single tracks and steep climbs with steps, there's something for everyone. The distinctive granite peaks of the You Yangs rise from the flat volcanic plains between Melbourne and Geelong.

Surf Coast Wonderfalls Trail Run

August 20, Cumberland River

Australias best trail running events wonderfalls

Set in the majestic mountains behind the seaside town of Lorne on the Great Ocean Road, this run offers scenic mountain trails with challenging single trails that pass multiple waterfalls on the longer distances.

Surf Coast Century

September 17, Anglesea

Australias best trail running events surfcoast

This is an iconic ultra-marathon event that takes place annually along Victoria’s most famous stretch of coastline and through a diverse range of incredible landscapes.

With distances of up to 100km available, runners can perform individually or as a team.

GSER100 - Great Southern Endurance Run

November 11-13, Harrietville 

Australias best trail running events great southern endurance

This 100 mile endurance run is like no other in the southern hemisphere.

Taking runners on a journey through the rugged and picturesque mountains of the Victorian Alps. Three distances of 28km, 50 and 100 miles are on offer for solo and team competitors. 

PLAN YOUR VIC RUN WITH DISCOVERY

Trail Running Events in NSW

Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon

May 15, Hyde Park, Sydney

Australias best trail running events sydney half marathon

The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon will return to its world-famous course in 2022 for the 29th running of Australia’s largest and most iconic half marathon.

The 21.1km course showcases Sydney’s stunning landscape, including views of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and Pyrmont Peninsula.

Mountain Designs GeoQuest Adventure Race

June 10-13, Shoal Bay

Australias best trail running events eco quest

This  48hr enduro beast race tough, so don't expect much sleep because this is certainly not your average weekend!

Taking place at rotating locations on the NSW North Coast, teams of 4 can enter in one of three categories, Mixed (minimum 1 female), All-Female, or All-Male and you must finish the race with the number of team members you start with.

Teams choose the 110k or 220k course and have the option of racing "supported" and bringing one additional person as support crew (this person may not race) or racing "un-supported" and have the GeoQuest team handle logistics. Good Luck!

Elephant Trail Race

July 15-17, Cairncross State Forest, Port Macquarie

Australias best trail running events elephant trail

The Elephant Trail Race follows a 25 - 27km course, with approximately 1455m elevation per lap. The 217km & 100 mile distances start on Friday night and are 2 laps anti-clockwise, then changing direction every 2 laps.

The ETR Race is only a short distance from Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Telegraph Point in the beautiful Hastings Area. All racing will take place in Cairncross State Forest.

Rumble in the Jungle

August 7, 2022

Australias best trail running events rumble in the jungle

The Rumble in the Jungle is a new trail run in Coffs Harbour with 50km, 30km and 15km courses to choose from.

Formerly known as The End Peak, the Rumble in the Jungle will take on a different course with waterfalls, lookouts and rainforest all on offer.

Beach to Brother

October 2, Port Macquarie

Australias best trail running events beach to brother

The Beach to Brother Running Festival offers competitors the chance to compete in the full marathon, a half-marathon, a 10km dash, a 5km fun run, or a team relay marathon finishing at the peak of North Brother Mountain in Dooragan National Park.

PLAN YOUR NSW RUN WITH DISCOVERY

Trail Running Events in WA

Busselton Festival of Triathlon

April 29 - May 1

Australias best trail running events busselton

The Busselton Festival of Triathlon in Western Australia has fun runs, triathlons and includes the Busselton 100 long course triathlon.

The Busselton 100 includes a swim alongside the iconic Busselton Jetty, a ride through the Tuart Forest and a run along the Busselton Foreshore. There are also a range of festival events for upcoming athletes looking to kick start their running or triathlon careers!

Kununurra Half Marathon

June 19, Kununurra

Australias best trail running events kununurra

The Sandalwood Sanctuary Kununurra Half Marathon is held on an off road 5.25km course at the Kununurra BMX Track.

There are entry options for solo runners (running the full 21.1km), teams of 2 (covering 10.5km each) and teams of 4 (covering 5.3km each).

Lake Argyle Adventure Race

August 27, Lake Argyle Resort

Australias best trail running events lake argyle

The Lake Argyle Adventure Race in East Kimberley, Western Australia has solo, team and junior adventure races.

The team adventure race can be entered as a relay team of 2, 3 or 4 members. The order of  the adventure will be: swim, paddle, run, mountain bike - all conveniently transitioning from the Lake Argyle Resort.

Mighty Jarrah Trail Run

September 10, Dwellingup 

Australias best trail running events mighty jarrah

Explore some of Western Australia’s finest trails through the forests of Dwellingup between Bunbury and Mandurrah.

Held in combination with the Dwellingup 100, WA’s premier 1-day 100km MTB event, there are 3 distances to choose from including a 6km doggie dash!

Feral Pig Ultra

November 6, Mundaring

Australias best trail running events feral pig

Run among the beautiful trails of the Bibbulmun Track in the Perth Hills where there are distances to suit all levels - solo and in teams.

Including the fantastic Darling Range jarrah forest and some of the area's local orchards, each 25km lap includes about 500 meters of elevation. 

PLAN YOUR WA RUN WITH DISCOVERY

Trail Running Events in NT

West Macs Monster

May 20-22, Larapinta Trail

The iconic Larapinta Trail in the West McDonnell Ranges in Australia’s Red Centre is a bucket list hiking destination for thousands of people around the world.

This event gives ultra runners the chance to test themselves on 231km of spectacular single track in a new full length end to end, non-stop supported ultra event put on by the Alice Springs Running and Walking Club (ASRWC).

Australias best trail running events nt west macs larapinta

As well as the full length 231km ultra, there will be a 128km ultra marathon from Ellery Creek, a 65km from Standley Chasm, a 25km distance from Simpsons Gap and a family orientated fun run of around 5km, all finishing at the Historic Alice Springs Telegraph Station.

Run Larapinta 2022

August 12-15, Larapinta Trail

Australias best trail running events nt larapinta

Run Larapinta is a 4 day, 4 stage trail running race along the most spectacular sections of the iconic Larapinta Trail in Australia’s Northern Territory. 

Australias best trail running events nt larapinta finish

This race attracts trail runners from around Australia (and overseas) – from the recreational to the elite. You don’t need to be fast but you do need to be determined! An amazing location and an amazing race.

PLAN YOUR NT RUN WITH DISCOVERY

For more Australian trail running events near you, check out Running Calendar and remember to ensure that any event complies with the latest health advice.

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