Following a record number of entrants in 2020, the Stromlo Running Festival (SRF) is returning for its 12th consecutive year, and it’s destined to be their biggest and best event yet.
SRF is an annual destination trail running event held at Stromlo Forest Park on 20 and 21 November. The event provides an opportunity for runners of all abilities to enjoy sweeping views of the Canberra region, including the Brindabella ranges, while taking in parts of the National Arboretum Canberra on the ultra-marathon course.
Course distances are 10 km, 30 km and 50 km.
SRF Race Director Mel Bingley says, “This is the trail running festival at Canberra’s back door. Every distance is spectacular in scenery and challenge. Whether you are a park runner who has never stepped off the local paths and want to have your first go at trail running, to seasoned ultra runners, this event is for everyone.”
Stromlo Running Festival’s growth has accelerated over the past few years. Entries have grown from 700 in 2018 and 1,000 in 2019 to 1,800 in 2020. Despite it being a COVID-restricted event, around 2,500 runners are expected to take up the challenge in 2021.
“We are forecasting a sell out again this year,” Mel said. “Canberrans are discovering the joys of running the trails, as are people from the surrounding regions, from the coast to Wagga Wagga and far beyond.
“We are so proud of what SRF is today – the community it has fostered and the achievements we celebrate as well as the participants’ strength, resilience and courage.”
To encourage new runners, SRF has particularly generous cut-off times.
For the 10 km there is no cut-off, taking the pressure off newbies who want to have a go but are nervous about the distance or the hills.
Mel’s top tip for beginners is to walk the hills.
“Even the elites walk the steep hills to gather their energy for the next section. There is no shame in walking. Everyone is here for fun, and you will be well supported by our wonderful volunteers,” Mel said.
The 10 km event will be held on Sunday, 21 November.
The 30 km event with a 6-hour cut-off and the 50 km with a 9.5-hour cut-off will both be run on Saturday, 20 November.
Entries are on a first-come-first-served basis and the event will start in waves. The early times will be popular, so don’t delay if you want to beat the sun.
Discounted early bird pricing is available until 18 May and includes a 2XU race shirt.
Not only does SRF have plans to encourage more of the community to try trail running and attend the 2021 event, but they also continue their proud support of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF), a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience and achievement, and create inspirational Indigenous leaders.
“We have set a goal of doubling contributions from $5,000 in 2020 to $10,000 in 2021,” Mel said.
Funds raised for the IMF will support initiatives like the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP), which was established in 2009 by world marathon champion Rob de Castella.
“Running is such a wonderful metaphor for life. You can’t stop, you can’t quit. You get knocked down, you have to get back up. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other,” says Rob, SRF co-owner and IMF Director.
Registration for SRF2021 opens today (29 March) at 9:30 am.
For more information and to register, visit Stromlo Running Festival.