Location: Bridport, NE Tasmania
Distances: 2km, 10.8km
The label “The Bridport 10” fails to encapsulate the true nature of the course. This is not a race where you will be setting personal best times. Nor is it even 10km – it is closer to 11km. However, this is one of my favourite courses on the fun run calendar. I highly recommend it.
The event is usually around the 26th of October as part of the North-East River Festival. The festival is held over a two week period and incorporates numerous activities and events including the locally famous Derby River Derby and Duck Race.
I would advise those new to the event to not set off as if it were the Launceston 10 – you will inevitably crash and burn with your quads screaming at you for your early fast pace. I overheard someone tell another competitor at the start that there were a “few hills”. I think this was a bit of an understatement! The event starts at the Bridport Village Green and heads along the coastal foreshore track. This is flat and well-surfaced. At about the 2km mark, the course hits the trailhead and you are soon onto some rougher terrain. The trails are generally fairly tame but there are plenty of roots, stairs, rocks and sand to keep your mind occupied while the trail climbs relentlessly for the next 5 km or so. I would also advise runners to check the course map before and, although generally well-signed, there are a couple of spots where one could get lost.
The trail winds through the scenic bush hills behind Bridport. The only sounds are the birdcalls, the cracking of sticks as you push the pace and your inevitable deep oxygen-deprived breathing. Do not let this put you off – it is not extremely difficult – anyone can run the event at their own pace. The course is hilly and expect to add about 9-10 minutes onto your general 10km flat road times. Once you crest the Bridport hills, it is a relatively downward 3-4km stretch of running. The trail eventually connects back onto the coastal foreshore track as you complete the full loop, past the caravan park with bemused campers already sitting back for the day and cracking their first beer, through some more bushland before finally emerging back onto the Village Green and onwards to the finish line.
This is one of the few races where you may not have a sprint finish in the legs – mine felt like lead at the end. However, it is an extremely enjoyable course, well-organised and you will relish every moment out on the trails. I would take this course over a flat road 10km any day! Footwear-wise you will be perfectly fine wearing your general training shoes or racing flats. However, if you feel inclined to wear your trail shoes these will be an excellent choice as well. For place-getting there is generous prize money awarded as well as spot prizes.
Event profile by David Bailey