FKT: Keelan Birch - Coffs Hinterland Round - 2024-04-06

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
15h 49m 1s

Total: 109km, 4,000m climbing, 15hrs 49mins (1hr 50min PB)

Last year I completed this loop for the first time anti-clockwise and with no races for the first half of 2024, I thought I'd give it another go but clockwise and a bit quicker.

Left Coffs Jetty at 4:05am with Dan and ran around 5:30's for 14km to the bottom of Wedds Road under headtorch. I was hoping that if I could run this pace at the end then I would have paced the day well. Felt a bit tired in this section.

Thanks to Dan who left 5L of water at the bottom of Wedds Road and I spent 5mins refilling as it was about 5hrs to next water point (carried ¬3L Trail Brew/water). We met Justin here too who then ran 52km with me back to Coramba - legend Climbed up the singletrack to the tower with about 1,000 leeches on me. It was quite humid too. I was feeling pretty ordinary. Mostly just tired, it was still dark and my stomach was a bit off. Remember thinking it could be a long day if this kept up so I had a caffeine gel, went to toilet and when the sun came up at Bonville Peak, I felt much better and stayed better the rest of the run.

Dan turned around at Bonville Peak and Justin and I continued on. Disappointing to see so much grass and lantana on Peak Trail. Looks like it barely gets used anymore. Climbed up to Legge Lookout, which felt easier than previous times, and got a great view over the Bellinger Valley with a double rainbow. A sign it was going to be a great day!

We then started the off track section. Initially wet rocks, with some sections opening up better as we passed Tuckers Knob but I got scratched up a lot (worse than previous times). My legs look bad. Navigated the ridgeline ok following pink tape.

Started running low on water off Mt Wondurrigah but it was only 20mins until Bangalore Creek where we refilled. Met Annie, Matt and Elize at Bangalore Falls Picnic Area and ran down to the falls viewing platform. A tree had fallen over and damaged some of the guardrail at the viewing platform. We then continued on through the lovely forest roads in Bindarri NP running with Annie. Crossed the halfway mark (53km) at the top of Eastern Dorrigo Way (first half: 8hrs 11mins, last half: 7hrs 37mins).

Happy to consistently and comfortably run 5:20's down Eastern Dorrigo Way and met Eli and Kieran halfway down who ran the next 52km with me back to Coffs Jetty - amazing. Spent 10mins changing socks, shirt, hats and refuelling at Coramba as well as picking up Cooper the Kelpie!

Started getting a bit warm as we went up Rocky Trail to the top of Mt Coramba. Tried to keep it easy down the forest road and 4WD track to Taylors Creek on the long descent. Then onto an undulating Shelter Road and up and over End Peak to Sealy Lookout. This section is a bit of a grind with steep pinches towards the end.

Took 5mins at Sealy Lookout to resupply with lots of people coming out to support me. That was really nice and appreciated! I arrived within 1min of my predicted time to Sealy Lookout which was great too. I realised after that I had said it would take me 2hrs from Sealy Lookout to Jetty which was a typo as I actually planned for 3hrs (I ended up doing 2hrs 45mins).

With new company, kept it easy down Sealy Lookout Road knowing there was a few steep pinches on Rover Trail, including walking down the final 25% descent. Sunset as we went down Gaudrons Road and back to the coast. My stomach was being a bit funny through Sapphire as we crossed paths, rock platform and boardwalks so kept it easy even though I had more in my legs. Happy to run the last 3.5km from Macauleys back to finish at the jetty at 5:30's or quicker, ticking off my goal of running first/last k's similar. I was great to finish in the middle of the jetty area after a day in the bush.

Overall, really enjoyed my day out and grateful to everyone who ran or supported me - Dan, Justin, Annie, Matt, Elize, Kieran, Eli, Chris G, Janelle, Dad, Ben, Maaike, Michael, Andrew, Chris H, Karl, Greg and Adam. I was really fortunate to have running company the entire way which made things easier. Love our running community!

Some people were concerned about the rain but it didn't rain a drop the whole time. If anything, I wish it did rain and made it cooler.

This is a really tough, but epic loop. Some sections are much more rocky/technical than they look on the map. I'd love to support anyone who wants to attempt it in the future!

Total time spent running: ¬9hrs
Total time spent hiking: ¬6.5hrs

Coffs Jetty to Wedds Road
13km road, 1hr 14mins

Wedds Road to Legge Lookout
13.5km rough trails, 2hrs 39mins
Includes 5min stop at Wedds Road (refill water only)

Legge Lookout to Mt Wondurrigah
3.8km off track, 1hr 32mins

Mt Wondurrigah to Bangalore Falls viewing platform
7.7km forest roads and singletrack, 53mins

Bangalore Falls viewing platform to top of Eastern Dorrigo Way
15km forest roads, 1hr 49mins

Eastern Dorrigo Way to Coramba
13.3km downhill road, 1hr 12mins

Coramba to Sealy Lookout
22km, steep trails and forest roads, 3hrs 33mins
Includes 10mins stop at Coramba (refill water/food + change socks and, shirt)

Sealy Lookout to Coffs Jetty
20km road, steep trails, road, 2hrs 45mins
Includes 5min stop at Sealy Lookout (refill water/food)