Set in the picturesque and historical town of Ross, the Ross Marathon has been traditionally held on the first weekend in September coinciding with Father’s Day.
Ross is a country township in the Tasmanian midlands approximately 1-5-2 hours drive north of Hobart along the midlands highway.
The event offers a range of distances for the whole family from the more challenging marathon, half marathon, 10km, marathon teams, and shorter events for the children. The marathon course is a set of four 10.5km loops. With each loop finishing at the starting point. This makes it a brilliant marathon for spectators and the support given to runners as they pass through is incredibly valuable with each lap becoming mentally and physically more challenging.
Commencing outside the Ross town hall the course heads out of Ross on a mostly flat road towards Tooms lake. It turns at approximately 4 km, returning along the same road before diverting up and over a steep pinch behind the cemetery. Runners then recover on the other side of the hill running through the flat back streets of Ross; before turning to head back up the Main Street to cheers of support to the start/finish precinct. Three drink stations offering water and one with additional electrolyte were spaced appropriately apart.
The Tasmanian midlands are notoriously windy and this years Ross Marathon was no exception. Runners battled a strengthening headwind throughout the morning for more than half of each 10.5km loop. Upon reflection, the wind is not a negative attribute to the course for a well prepared runner, it simply adds another challenge no different to a hill, sand or trail.
The big marathons of London, New York and Tokyo have all the hype, glitz and glamor to match the city in which they are held, but I urge everyone to not discount the small country marathons. They have so much to offer. From competitor camaraderie, to friendly and supportive volunteers.
Each runner receives a finishers medallion and plenty of fruit and refreshments are on offer upon completion.
Personal account of this years event. I do not like wind, but knowing the location and the trend for wind to occur I prepared and ensured my ears were covered and ran with my gloves. I loath cold extremities. The wind was a challenge and altering body position to accommodate head winds can cause strains which it did in my case so try an relax and settle as best you can. Despite the challenges of one of the strongest and most relentless head winds I have ever had to run into I came away with a second place and although not a PB time I am happy with the performance on the day.
In true country style I did have to giggle when a farmer herded his cows across the road in between runners just in front of me. Nicely timed though so no runners had to alter their paces in any way.
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Written by: Bonnie Davies