Hello Road. Hello Solitude. Hello Ross Marathon.
One week to go until Louie and I line up at Ross Marathon, marathon number five for both of us.
What can I tell you about Ross Marathon?
- It’s a small event. Less than 50 men and less than 15 women completed the marathon last year with all up 450 runners across the different distances (half marathon, 10km and children’s challenge 1-2km).
- It is one of only two road marathons in the state of Tasmania.
- This year is the first year that the Launceston Running Club has taken over as organiser.
- The event started in 2004 in memory of a 1956 Olympian who died of cancer the year before (I didn’t know that until I looked up the history page).
- The marathon is 4 x 10.55km loops.
- It’s flat apart from one small hill that runners get to enjoy four times on the marathon, two times on the half and one time on the 10km.
Hello Solitude? With such a small field, runners mostly run on their own. At times faster marathoners will lap the back-of-packers. At times the half marathoners who do two laps will be out and about and provide some company (the half marathon starts an hour and half after the marathon). The 10km runners/walkers will be out in force also providing a brief break from the solitude. The fastest time at Ross is 2:06:02 while last year the final person to cross the finish line did so in about 5:45:00.
The course starts at the town hall, then goes out into the country side along the rather straight Toombs Lake Road, then back track into town where the course goes around the other side of town. Then it’s the same again four times over. The positive thing is that say you are Louie and you are running like the wind and you miss something… Not to worry, you’ll be back again in just under an hour and you can look again!
And what is there to see in Ross? Ross is an historic town pretty much smack bang in the middle of Tasmania. Along the marathon course are several historic points of interest. The course goes by the site of the Ross Female Factory where female convicts were housed from the 1840s to 1850s. The state of Tasmania was built on convict labour; the state of the prison system in Britain back in the late 1700s was such that a new place was needed to send the huge number of convicts, mostly petty criminals. Hello Australia, the new discovery on the other side of the world, the poor things were shipped off to the great unknown. Conditions were harsh but many of the structures that convicts built over 200 years ago are still around and in use today, their legacy is experienced everywhere, even most of us Tasmanians come from convict stock and we are proud of that.
The course doesn’t go over the famous Ross Bridge but it’s a short stroll from the finish and would be a good cool down walk (that’s if you had any energy left). Runners run by the old Man O’Ross Hotel four times, great for that post-marathon beer/bubbles, so that might be a better option for the cool down. There’s also the Tasmanian Wool Centre complete with museum that tells the story of wool in Tasmania, a major primary industry right from the time of settlement to today. And of course there are a couple of bakeries housed in historic buildings; the atmosphere is quaint and the food delicious. Ross is a lovely old town to stop over and visit.
Solitude yes, but as runners come into the main street of Ross spectators and supporters are lined on both sides cheering. And we get to do this four times. I’m thinking that by the time I’m finishing most of the crowd will have headed for home. Ross is about an hour from Hobart and about an hour and 15 minutes from Launceston.
Lots of reasons to come and run a marathon in Ross Tasmania. Tempted? Best of all this marathon costs just $40! Online entries have closed but don’t fret, entries can be taken on the day for just $50.
As my mind focuses on marathon number five I’m filled with gratitude that I can run. A week of being unwell reminds me that health is not something we should take for granted; health is a treasure beyond all others. I’m not quite 100% yet, but getting there. I had thought I’d like to be sub five hours, but now I just hope to finish.
Hello Solitude. Hello Road. Hello Ross Marathon. I’m looking forward to running those four laps but especially the final one when I (hopefully) cross the finish line of marathon number five. Another step closer to Bruny Island Ultra.
Happy running 🙂