FKT: Jayce Nixon, Keelan Birch - Coffs Hinterland Round - 2023-03-04

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
17h 39m 39s
GPS track(s)

Some notes:

- Best approach this clockwise. Doing 1.5hrs after 75km wasn't great. Same for Peak Trail and Wedds

- Diverted from original route by taking inland path where stairs closed at Pine Brush Creek at Korora (avoids wet feet too)

- Took Gaudrons Road up to the tower #1 as Mountain Way appears to be private property

- Took Dump Track up to Mt Coramba instead of Morbid Trail. Maybe 1km longer but much better

- Took Eastern Dorrigo Road after Ridge Road. Top Trail is overgrown. Maybe 1km longer but less snakey

- Descended Wedds Road instead of Englands Road so avoided Big Boambee #12. Same distance for a better result

- Went to Ulong Community Notice Board instead of Tallowood log #5. Makes more sense as at the trail vs 300m detour

- Sealy Lookout to Swans Roads trail had some long grass

Use the GPX i've uploaded on this activity. I'll get the website to update the description/gpx.

*Recap taken from my Strava*

How the day panned out

Jayce Nixon and I started at the end of the Coffs Harbour Jetty 4am. We decided to attempt the loop anti-clockwise, which in hindsight might have been easier going clockwise. We followed the paths to Macauleys Headland and onto Diggers Beach. There were lots of crabs on Diggers Beach which was special to see scuttle off under the headlamp. Some bandicoots and wallabies on the coastal paths to Korora. Due to the steps being out of action at Pine Brush Creek, we took an inland path near Opal Cove and followed the Solitary Islands Way road to meet Chris Hamilton, Mark Kirstein and Ben at the bottom of Gaudrons Road for the first climb of the day at 5am.

The climb up Gaudrons Road was ok with new company then we were on Rover Trail. Rover Trail is very steep and rutted in sections with some grassy bits in recent times. It was quite slow but still cool to follow the Korora Escarpment and we got glimpses of a great sunrise. Lights off arriving at Bruxner Gap and it was great to see Annabelle Swainston, Tait Hearps, Tom Filippopoulos and Cooper the Kelpie. Tait, Tom and Coops ran with us up to Sealy Lookout and then we headed along the ridgeline to End Peak. It was really disappointing to see this track so overgrown in grass. The k's were ticking over quick with great company as we picked up Simon Blackburn and enjoyed the descent on Shelter Road.

We climbed up Mt Coramba via Taylors Creek which wasn't too bad. By now, it was 33km in and it was getting warm with the east side of the mountain getting the early morning sun. Jayce ran out of water and was struggling a bit and after checking out the views at the summit i ran out of water coming down Rocky Trail. Tait and Tom left us at the summit, and Simon joined us down Rocky Trail which was very slow.

We got to East Bank RFS 5hrs 30mins in for 38km with a lot of the steep and slow climbing down and relatively on par with what we thought. It was great to see lots of people at the RFS shed - Annie (again :)), Ben Happ, Samantha Birch, Peter Birchand Simon Dobson and Leanne. I dropped Coops off here who has run 20km with us like a good doggo. Ben joined us (alongside roaming dog Orche) down to the footbridge. I changed my shoes here and we picked up Annie for the next section. It was pretty warm (high 20's) as we climbed Ridge Road and Eastern Dorrigo Way. It seemed to go on for ages at a consistent but manageable gradient.

We were 50km's in with 2500m ascent when we reached the Ulong Community Board Notice at Langleys Road. My parents had lots of food out and we bumped into Anna Gaynor and Meredith Veale who ran ahead and good to know not to do Top Trail. I shovelled down some avocado, vegemite sandwiches and other food quite quick which in hindsight was a bad idea. It led to my only physical low point of the day as my stomach churned all along Langleys Road.

It was much cooler in Bindarri National Park and really lovely rainforest surrounds. We had great timing bumping into Jacqueline Nixon and the kids as we got onto Range Road and we refulled for the longest stretch of the day. I was feeling good as we got to Bangalore Falls at 67km and the waterfall looked really tempting. Loudens Road in Bindarri was the highlight for me - cooler weather, really nice creek and great surroundings to take in. We climbed up to Mt Wondurrigah - the last real climb of the day (kinda) - and it was really great to see Henry Higgins here. At 75km, we now started the hardest bit of the day - 3km offtrack to Legge Lookout. It took about 1hr 45mins for 3km and lots of little vines, big rocks and slipperly terrain made it slow going. It did feel like a slog but was to be expected as we had reccies it previously.

Towards Legge Lookout, Andrew McDonald joined us and it was quite a relieve to get back on a track and enjoy the view at the lookout. The steep descent was a bit tricky as always. Henry and Andrew had to push on along Peak Trail and even though this section is net downhill, it was very rocky and then technical so took 2hrs for 12km. It was starting to get dark along Peak Trail and hard to run due to the terrain. We peak bagged Bonville Peak and the tower on the way.

Getting to Wedds Road and seeing Jac was a welcome relieve. It was 12km of road here and i was looking forward to some actual running. We dropped all our gear off and i was surprised how well i was able to run all the way back to the jetty. Philip Viles and Trudy and my parents and Annie came out and dad joined me for the last bit along Hogbin Drive. It was fantastic to run 6.30min/km after 17hrs on feet as we arrived at the jetty at 9:40pm

For me this run was a big achievement as i haven't run 100km since UTA 2018 and have had lots of injuries since. Legs felt relatively injury free all day, partly due to a slower pace for me and not having any racing pressure. I was really happy to finish off strong running last 12km and felt pretty good at the end like i could've kept going. That's something i haven't experienced before in a 70km+ run so am very happy and i hope it only builds from there.

I didn't have any mentally low moments, except some frustrations with my phone wanting to dial 000 all day leading to the beacon stopping! The route was really epic but very slow terrain in places. It was a culmination of years of scouting and dreaming and i'm so glad it came together.

Food: Trail Brew first 6hrs to Coramba. Some lollies, zooper doopers + trail brew to 7.5hrs. Avo, vegemite sandwich and maybe some other stuff at 7.5hrs. Chips, clif block, museli bars and more zooper doopers at 9.5hrs. Ginger Beer at Legge Lookout and another on Peak Trail. Only coke last 12km. Generally water throughout and trail brew.

Shoes: Topo Ultraventure first 40km then On Cloudsurfers next 60km which worked really well for me. 2 x Injinji socks changed at 40km. Carried poles for the whole day.

So many people came out to support us!! And also followed us on the tracker and sending best wishes online. That was amazing and made the k's fly by. Thankyou to everyone who ran a section - Chris, Mark, Ben, Tait, Simon, Tom, Ben, Anna, Meredith and Andrew. Simon and Leanne for some lollies, Henry Higgins for the hardest bit and at the start. Annie for being my #1 supporter all day. Mum and dad who supported us in Coramba, Bindarri and the finish. Jac for supporting us in Bindarri and Wedds. Phil and Trudy for watching us finish.

We wouldn't have been able to complete this without all your support. THANKYOU!

And also thanks to Jayce for sharing the day with me. Very impressive effort after getting covid two weeks ago. Great company and great day.




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I did this run with Jayce but the FKT admin hasn't added my name to it yet