25.11.2022 | Great Forest Trail Marathon

Nov 25, 2022 12:01 am

We protect what we love


FRIDAY . 25.11. 22.

Happy Friday, FWP community! It’s been another wild week here at FWP, both in terms of weather, and wild places! Down here in Victoria, we are getting ready to head to the polls tomorrow for the State Election. NSW will be up next, with a state election in March 2023. State elections are an important opportunity to advocate for new policies, that go further and faster to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis, and ensure we have trustworthy, caring people in government that advocate for what is best for their electorate.

Whilst For Wild Places is a non-partisan group, the same doesn't go for our team. It's been a busy few months for me (Hilary!) as I've put my hand up again to run for the Greens, this time representing the electorate of Polwarth on Victoria's Surf Coast. Spending the past two weeks standing out at early-voting centres is an incredible insight into society, and some days leave you feeling a bit down, and others fill me with hope for our future! Getting involved in politics has been an incredible experience, and I have learnt so much about grassroots organising, public speaking, how politics shapes our world and how complicated it all is! Once the election is over, I'd like to share some more lessons and insights, as people who give a shit, our voices are needed in this space more than ever. If you'd like to get an idea of what being a candidate is like, check out @hilarymcallister_greens.

In other news from the FWP team, Board Member Lauren was recently part of the Lonely Mountain Ultra, an inaugural trail event in Orange on Wiradjuri Country. This was a wonderful community event, with runners summiting Mount Canobolas and ringing the bell at the top. Despite UTA moving their event dates, the event had over 700 runners competing in a range of distances, up to 100km. Lauren was a part of the hardworking event committee, and on the day was in charge of health and safety. You can check out the event video here.


Lauren on course at the Lonely Mountain Ultra

Lauren has also been busy fundraising for the Blue Mountains Gutsy Challenge GI Cancer Fundraising trek, which was unfortunately postponed at the 11th hour due to ongoing rain and risks of landslides in the Blue Mountains. Despite this, almost all participants went out and completed a solo effort close to home - Lauren enjoyed a very wet hike on Mount Canbolas. The event has been postponed until February 2023 and Lauren’s team has so far raised over $20k. You can donate to Lauren here.

In this week’s newsletter, we are recapping our weekend at the Great Forest Trail Marathon, and inviting you to join Trail Chat #8 with Simone Brick. 

Read on for tales from the trail!


A run to protect the Central Highlands of Victoria


44km runners getting ready to run!

Last weekend, some of the FWP team and members headed out to Healesville on Wurundjeri Country to volunteer at the inaugural Great Forest Trail Marathon. After an evening of thunderstorms and heavy rain, things were looking pretty soggy on Sunday, but the 120 or so runners were not phased! Runners signed up to participate in either the 22k or 44k events, which travelled through Toolangi State Park and Yarra Ranges National Park. With the recent rains, the trails were going to be W.E.T! 

Organised by Callum Ross and friends with the support of a Patagonia grant, the Great Forest Trail Marathon’s goal was to raise funds and awareness to establish the Great Forest National Park, a 335,000 hectare park that would encompass the already existing Kinglake National Park to the west, Mt Baw Baw NP to the west, Lake Eildon to the north and Bunyip State Park to the south. So far runners have raised an incredible $57,000 and counting, to support the ongoing work of environmental groups Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) and Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum and the Great Forest National Park Campaign.


Left: Existing National Parks

Right: Proposed Great Forest National Park

For Wild Places were hosting Aid Station #2, on the cusp of the National Park, in Toolangi State Forest. Surrounded by the tallest flowering tree on earth, the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), we set up in the sometimes wet, sometimes sunny weather and got ready to welcome the runners through. From our location, runners would either be coming or going from the Tanglefoot Loop, which as we soon discovered, was home to an abundance of leeches! (Most) runners were unperturbed by the harmless but icky suckers, with many bloody knees and ankles passing through. Despite the rain, and occasional hail, runners were having a blast, inspired by the lush, wild surroundings and the fantastic atmosphere on the trail.


Runners setting off into the misty forest!

Jelly snakes seemed to be the preferred snack of the day, with some people hoping a handful of pretzels would sort out their cramps after the epic hill just a few kilometres away from the Aid Station. As is the case at all good events, a few runners were too busy chatting to see the course markings and added an extra little loop to their day; but their smiles and laughter made it clear, it wasn’t about the PB, it was about soaking up the experience!


Lollies and pats make everything okay!

A huge thank you must go out to Callum, Kim, Lachie and the whole event crew who did an amazing job putting on this event for the first time, in what has been a couple of trying months weather-wise! Unfortunately, we weren’t around to soak up the finish line stoke, but we are sure there was an abundance of high fives and hugs as people shared in the joy of spending a day experiencing, and protecting wild places.

We are hoping this event will become an annual event – if you’d to join in the fun next year, follow @greatforesttrailmarathon on IG. Donations are still open, so if you want to support these awesome runners, head here. We recommend throwing a few dollarydoos Mads Ruffino’s way, who did the 44k course not one, not two, but FOUR times! Mads clearly gives a shit about protecting these incredible forests, so show your support by donating today! 

Another way you can show your support to protect this precious place is to subscribe to the campaign’s newsletter, purchase some goodies from the Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum online store or donate to WOTCH. If you’re voting in Victoria, check out Vote Climate One to see how your candidates rank on climate policies and if stopping native forest logging is your thing, this graphic from Friends of the Earth Melbourne. You can check out our photos from the weekend here.

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with Simone Brick


Image: Jordi Saragossa

We are excited to have Simone Brick join us next month for

Trail Chat #8. Simone is currently enjoying some well-deserved downtime in her hometown of Melbourne after a very busy few months, competing in the Golden Trail World Series in Europe and North America, as well as representing Australia at the World Mountain Trail Running Championships in Thailand.

Simone is enthralled by the human body and is a trained nurse, registered exercise professional, and intermediate running coach has an advanced certificate in sports nutrition, and is currently studying Biomedicine! Supported by an incredible team of coaches and sponsors, including Salomon, Simone is just getting started on her mountain and trail running journey. 

Simone will be joining us on Thursday 15th December at 12pm AEST. RSVP now to get the Zoom link, and we’ll catch you on the 15th!

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That's all from us this week folks! Happy voting Victorians, and have a wonderful weekend exploring and appreciating wild places. And as always, thank you for taking the time, for wild places. ✌🏽

Hilary & the For Wild Places team




15/12 Trail Chat #8 with Simone Brick | register

11/02 Trail First Aid Course, Arthurs Seat | register

25/02 takyana Trail, Waratah, Tasmania | register

We acknowledge the the First Nations people who have been custodians of land, waters and culture for tens of thousands of years. We pay respects to First Nations Elders past, present and emerging.

This email was written on the lands of the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. To these people, we pay our respects.

Always was, always will be.