2017 Gone Nuts 101 Tasmania

On announcement of this event, starting at Stanley on “The Nut” in Tasmania,  I was instantly attracted to this event. Given this is where I started my first XPD race some 10 years ago at the same location.

Training leading up the “Adventure Trail” (more on this later) event was mixed, only lots of small runs, a overseas work trip 2 weeks before and a busy week leading up to it didn’t really help – but Pete and I had grand plans of finishing at a reasonable time, whilst enjoying the event as much as possible.

The event started on Saturday morning, given its remoteness to a major airport, Pete and I decided to fly down on Thursday and climatise.

Getting up at 3.30 from our motel at the finish, and then getting a bus at 4am to the start was probably the easiest option, I’d rather be on the bus before the event rather than end.


At the 100km start point there didn’t seem to be that many starters, but either way we were all in relatively good spirit given the cold temps. But before we knew it, the starter gun had gone off and we were running up towards ‘The Nut’. The running quickly turned to walking given the gradient and it was only 500m into the race. I managed to start with Pete and BJ (another QLD MGTR).

After ‘The Nut’ was a section through a town, trying to follow the markers (I think we took a wrong turn a couple of times) but managed to keep finding the right path.

Then along a long section of beach running. Was a fast way to get some kms out of the way, and also appreciate the sunrise along the coast. Met a few running characters along this social section as it was a long and straight 15ish kms. We were warned of 1 creek crossing that might go up to our knees if we were early. I thought we we early enough, but managed to find approx 5 waist deep creek crossings. Nothing like a chilli Tasmanian deep water dip. Some went to the effort of taking shoes off, but gave up after the second crossing.

Alter this was a single rail section that was starting to get into some thicker bushland, more cheer squads and diversity of trails through this section.

Managed to trip on a tree across the rail track, which started to flare up my hamstring (not that normally have problems with it), but enough to cause a solid twinge in the leg. The twinge gradually got worse from 20-25km, but happy to see the first checkpoint and food station.

Probably my second favourite section of the course


Struggle street section. With my leg causing a little hobble, and running stride altered, the logging roads and their hills were giving me major grief. Cramps on the downhills but ok to keep going. There was a couple of steep downhills on slippery gravel that involved being on all fours, but once these steep downhills were gone the body felt better, but not fast.

Thankful to see the halfway checkpoint. Appreciated Pete for staying with me, but let him go without me given that I was a bit slower than him.

The medics think it was over hydration but I only had 3 litres since the start – and were encouraging me to reduce my water intake. If only they knew how much I had sweat!

Logging Trails = worst section


Alter recharging, and now solo, took off again at reasonable jog and finally rejoined the coastline. This section was spectacular with the coastal edge and mountain lines of trails. Some sections were only walkable but that was fine by me for this section.

After the mountains was another beach section, and then some coastal rock hopping. So far the marking tape had been ok to keep us on the path, but now getting g dark, the reflective marking tape was NOT reflective at all. This made the rock hopping along the coast and trying to find where the next marker was – really tough. Fortunately I was with some other runners and we could share the search for the markers.

After the coastal section, we ventured though private property which apparently had great views (not in the dark), but also had a welcome road section. With about 5 kms to the next checkpoint all was good. After being in the road a while, we were overtaken by some running at speed ladies, impressive. Although they also forgot to take the correct turnoff, and were forced to turnaround at the checkpoint to go on the correct track (I didn’t see them again – I think they had to do an extra 7km on top). Reaching this checkpoint was a feeling of home straight and actually feeling good again.


From the lighthouse, along some roads and again in some private land, was a diverse almost urban off track path, with a lot of teamwork to find the next marker in the dark.

One final lookout, and around the river the the bridge to get to the finish line. A dedicated small crowd cheering on the finishers. Got my medal and straight to bed.


Shoes: Asics Fujitrabuco (forst 50km) – Felt hard on feet at 40km+ (given all the logging roads), so I swapped to the Brooks Adrenaline GTS for the rest and felt better with these.

Pack: Usual Salomon One


Overall a mentally challenging event for me (with the cramps) but with no idea of the course content – which was great. Enjoyed it all except for 25-50k logging trails and the non reflective  marking tape. Good work Gone Nuts team and all the fantastic volunteers and supporters and medics! Hope to see this event being run again next year!

XPD Tasmania

Starting on the 20 Feb was the 2nd Edition of the XPD race, held in Tasmania.

 Craig Edwards, Carl Hilford, Jon Gooding, Justin Francis

Craig Edwards, Carl Hilford, Jon Gooding, Justin Francis

Team Neverest Bio

Our team is group of 4 friends who recently made the switch from competitive lawn bowls and curling, as the feeling of further mental challenges brought on a switch to adventure racing. A warm summer stroll though the bush and lakes of Tasmania sounded like a good idea. Bring it on.

The Course was as follows:

Full Course

Full Course

Course Description:

Leg 1 Mountain Bike 52 km – Undulating ride through rural areas and forestry

Teams will start the race at 0700 hours on top of the iconic “Nut” in the historic town of Stanley. Teams descend the volcanic plug on foor prior to getting on their bikes. From here teams ride via the historic home of HIghfield prior to heading south through rolling pasture to the Arthur River at Tayatea Bridge.

Leg 2 Kayak 27 km – Remote flowing Arthur River

The Arthur is one of the State’s seven major rivers, but it is the only one which is completely wild, having never been logged, dammed or had a hot fire through the rainforest for almost 650 years. Teams skills will be put to the test as the river has consistent rapids. Teams will travel to Kanunah Bridge.

Leg 3 Mountain Bike 26 km – From Forest Button Grass Plains

Teams will exit the river and proceed south through the forest to the gohst town of Balfour. This leg is reasonably straight forward..

Leg 4 Trek 73 km – Remote Coastal Walk

Teams will proceed on a huge trek from Balfour to the Pieman Heads. This leg is the most remote part of the event. Very few people venture into this area. Teams will be trekking along a stretch of coast that is one of the most isolated coast lines on earth and often referred to as the edge of the world.

It is a wild piece of coast line which takes the full brunt of the famous roaring 40s wind. The seas can be treacherous with waves in winter reaching 16 metres. The coast has seen many ship wrecks – the ruins of which they will pass.

Leg 5 Kayak 18 km – Pristine River Paddle

Teams kayak from the Pieman Heads up stream to Corinna. The Pieman river is one fo teh most pristin in Tasmania. Teams will wind their way up stream surrounded by dense rain forest and the famous Huon Pine. The transition at the end of this leg is again located in a ghost town, but unlike Balfour, this one has seen some of the buildings restored to form a wilderness get a way.

Leg 6 Mountain Bike 153 km – Huge ride encompassing many types of terrain

The sixth leg of XPD will take teams on a mammoth journey across varied terrain to Gowrie Park. On teams you will ride past thick west coast rain forest, exploring old mines, ghost towns and railways and pass by towering peaks and canyons. Teams ride north to Savage River, then through Magnet Mine to Waratah, over the Surry Hill Plains to the Leven Canyon then finally across Mt Jacob to Lake Gardiner, Lake Cethana and onto Gowrie Park.

Gowrie Park is the mid camp of the race where teams must have a compulsory 6 hour stop.

Leg 7 Trek 23 km – Over the iconic Mt Roland and ridge line

The seventh leg of XPD will take teams over one of the most spectacular ranges in Tasmania. Teams climb up the front of the iconic Mt Roland and pass by Mt Van Dyke and Mt Claude to the next TA located at the Claude Mtn Lookout.

Leg 8 Mountain Bike 51 km – Ride through the forests into the heart of the state

Teams pedal south, heading into the rugged mountainous centre of the state. Teams will need to navigate through forestry trails prior to heading along Lake Rowallan to the next transition area.

Leg 9 Trek 44 km – The famous overland track including Mt Ossa.

Initially teams follow the old stock route through Leighs Paddock, joining the Overland trail at Pelion Hut. From here teams walk south collecting a check point from the highest peak in Tasmania – Mt Ossa.

Leg 10 Kayak 14 km – North to South on the glorious Lake St Clair

The tenth leg of XPD will be a kayak along the magnificent Lake St Clair. This lake is the deepest lake in Australia and has been carved out by glaciers.

Leg 11 Mountain Bike 87 km – Taking in Lake King William and onto Meadow Bank

Teams start to head for home in this leg. Teams will negotiate the trails along the banks of Lake King William prior to speeding up as they ride along the Lyle Highway to the Meadow Bank causeway.

Leg 12 Kayak 62 km – Along the fast flowing Derwent River (Grade 2)

Teams begin this leg with a 13km flat water kayak on Meadow Bank Dam. From here they must complete a compulsory portage around the dam wall, prior to entering the Derwent River. From here teams have a great ride down the fast flowing river which has several rapids. Teams may need to use stratergy prior to arriving at this leg as there is a dark zone in place on this river. Teams are given the option of being able to portage at night..

Leg 13 Trek/Abseil 39 km – Across the back of Mt Wellington including a 100 metre descent on ropes

Teams will be faced with one final hurdle prior to reaching Hobart, a trek over the towering Mt Wellington. Once at the top, teh descent will be made quickly as teams are required to abseil down the “Organ Pipes”.

Teams continue down the mountain to Cornelian Bay,

Leg 14 Kayak 3 km – Quick kayak on the famous Hobart harbour

Teams will kayak under the bridge and onto the finish line at Race HQ which is located at Huon Quays.