FKT: Daniel Marshall - Kilkivan - Kingaroy Rail Trail (QLD, Australia) - 2023-01-02

Route variation
One way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
11h 23m 14s

I have been wanting to do this one for a while and would have preferred to run it in the cooler months as most of the trail is very exposed. It coincided with a family trip camping so it was now or never. As it was the middle of summer, I decided to run through the night to stay out of the heat. Planned on starting at 4pm however it took longer to pack the van and drive up then we expected so I didn't end up starting the run until 7pm. We also didn't realise that most establishments in little towns are shut on a public holidays so dinner ended up being a Mcdonalds' Quarter Pounder and Chips on the start line. 

The plan was to go unsupported and I managed to stay unsupported the whole run. My wife dropped my off at Kingaroy then drove to Kilkivan to sleep the night while I ran. The first half of the trail is easily runnable as it's a sealed bitumen trail. The moon was out which allowed me to see the mountains in the distance. It wasn't quite bright enough to run without a headlamp. I passed one person walking their dog about 10 minutes into the run, then didn't see another person on the trail.

I was planning on topping up my water bottles at Tingoora however I couldn't see any taps near the trail. I didn't look too hard as I had enough water to make it to Wondai. There is a tap on the side of the trail at Wondai near the playground. Here the moon dipped below the horizon and I was in my own little bubble of light for the next 4 hours.

Ran into Murgon and looked for water as there is 13km to the next town and I had already been rationing out my water between Tingoora and Wondai. In Murgon, there is a tap next to the trail, at the skate park, however the handles have been removed. I walked around the town looking for another public water tap however they all had there handles removed. I ended up finding a tap at a park on the other side of town however this cost me half and hour or so looking for a park with a working tap. I started to hit a low point here as I had lost a fair amount of time looking for water. Here is where the trail turns from sealed bitumen to a more traditional rail trail path (gravel/sand/dirt). 

The last town was Goomeri, it had a water tap in the park near the train station. The last section from Goomeri to Kilkivan is 27km between towns so need to fill up with water before leaving. 

The first 44km of the trail are great. The bitumen path however is starting to get grass growing through it and without maintenance is starting to break down. The last 44km have been damaged and are in need of significant repairs. None of the trail felt dangerous to run, however a lot of the river crossings were very washed out. There has been great infrastructure put in place for cyclists/horses, however most this has been washed away from the floods in early 2022. Nature has also reclaimed a lot of this trail. Expect a lot of running through high grass, some over 6 feet tall. Some sections it was hard to tell if you were still on the trail as the grass has almost fully reclaimed it. Standing on a snake in this section was a bit of a concerned as you can't see the ground but I was fortunate enough not to see any. 

I ended up carrying 2L of water with refills at Wondai, Murgon and Goomeri. I carried gels and fruit to eat. It would be a good idea to visit the towns first to establish where the water sources are located as there isn't much information online. All the toilets are locked during the night and there are no late night/24 hour service stations on the route so if you plan on running through the night, make sure you carry enough to be unsupported. There were so many large spiders with really strong, sticky webs across the trail so plan to look up a lot to avoid running into them. It was a great adventure. Wasn't quite the manicured rail trail that I was expecting but still a fun run.