FKT: Tim Bowman, Regan Welburn - Bowman's Track (VIC, Australia) - 2018-12-21
Growing up in the Beaconsfield area the "Bowman" name was around a bit. The track, the pub and a couple of roads. So the idea for running "Bowman's Track" had been floating around in my head for a while...probably 20 years. For the record I'm not related to them...or I'd be a lot wealthier I'm guessing!
Last week I watched the doco of Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel's FKT of the Great Himalaya Trail (https://www.redbull.com/int-en/tv/film/AP-1XHEV2NB92111/lessons-from-the-edge). After watching that I thought "it's time to give Bowman's Track a crack".
It took about three seconds for Regan Welburn to get on board, he was as enthusiastic as a green frog in a Muppet movie. So the plan was set. Unsupported FKT attempt of Bowman's Track from Basan's Corner to The Central Hotel in Beaconsfield.
My old man drove us to the starting point...after what felt like a VERY long drive..."Is this really 'only' 44kms, cause it feels like a lot longer?".
There was no signage at the start point, just lots of beautiful bush, but Garmin and Sunnto gave us the green light and off we went. We choose to run from Basan's Corner to Beaconsfield because a) it had more decent/was faster and b) it was better to finish at a pub! The original "Bowman's Track" started 30+km NE, but this section is the only modern track I could find...that might be a v2 if we can find the trail.
We were pleasantly surprised for the track from the beginning. It's about 80% on dirt road with little to no traffic and great scenery(bush and rolling hills of farm land). There's probably about 8kms where you've really got to get to the side of the road to stay clear of traffic, so I wouldn't recommend doing it as a night run. Plenty of rolling downhill made it a good run for a faster pace. I'm looking forward to seeing what some speedsters can do it in...pretty sure they'll do a sub 4 or faster.
Regan cruised the run (probably could have done sub 4 today), but did the team thing. We managed to hold 6min/kms for about 30km, but then I started to slow. Regan's official time is 5 seconds faster than mine which I'm sure won't be mentioned too much...like the older twin!
We saw a couple of signs along the way from the bi-centennial track refurbishment (1988), but there was not enough signage to navigate by. To do this run you'll need the GPX, map, etc.
Running the trail and thinking about it's history was pretty incredible. It's difficult to grasp what it would have been like to carve the trail through the bush. A human endeavour and spirit that is difficult to find nowadays, or perhaps it's expressed in different ways.
Probably the funniest part of the day was that we were denied entry to the finish line, The Central Hotel (used to be called "Bowman's Inn" and was the reason for the creation of the track!). No ID, No Entry. We didn't have any on us so we had to another pub down the road. Janet Bowman would have turned in her grave.
A cracking day.
PS: The matching tops...not much I can say about that. They are good tops and were on sales...and only in one colour. To be fair to Regan he had his first.