Trail runners will embark on an adventure to remember when the Wonderfalls Trail Run hits Lorne this Saturday.
Not just any trail run, Wonderfalls is an experience and an adventure, offering scenic mountain trails set among the picturesque Otway National Park.
Brett Saxon, the founder of the event, was burnt out in the corporate world and decided to pursue his passion of running and fitness by starting his own company.
“I’m a broken runner. That’s how I got into trail running,” Brett says.
“I went into some rehab from an injury and got myself fit, and from this created a running events company.”
Brett’s trail running company, TrailsPlus, has been operating for more than 11 years, while the Wonderfalls Trail Run is entering its fifth year.
The event kicks off at Cumberland River Holiday Park, offering five running tracks with distances ranging from 5, 13, 25, 42.2 and 52km.
Participants are also invited to a pre and post event dinner, encouraging everyone to spend time with running friends.
Brett’s passion lies within the community involvement behind the event, so it is ultimately a “really good experience for the runners”.
“I’m pretty passionate about that because, as a runner, even though I’m broken and not doing much at the moment, you’ve got to enjoy the place, the way it all flows, the before and the after – they’re really important things in the trail running community,” he says.
“We try to make the whole event a real vibe and experience for the people.”
All distances includes three river crossings over 2km, with single trails among the mountains and up to six waterfalls.
Throughout their runs, participants will visit pristine locations such as Garvey Track, Castle Rock, Sheoak Falls, Swallow Cave, and Kalimna Falls.
Runners are encouraged to stop and take in these views, setting Wonderfalls apart from typical road running and other marathons in the area.
“Wonderfalls is much more of an adventure than it is a race. It’s really all about the adventure and the journey, and that’s partly because of where it is,” Brett says.
“We send you into any waterfall that you’re very close to. Whether you choose to go in 100m or 50m is up to you.”
As well as fitness and building a running community, the event’s other purpose is to bring off-peak tourism to Lorne. About 450 runners will take part this weekend but Brett hopes to reach the 500 mark next year..
Wonderfalls also supports charitable causes by donating $1 of each participant’s race entry fee to CanTeen, an Australian organisation for young people living with cancer.
“We do that with all (TrailsPlus) races, and we’ve just surpassed $50,000 in our total donations,” Brett says.
“It’s very much an adventure, and it involves the greater community as well.”
For more information, head to https://www.trailsplus.com.au/wonderfalls/.