Woronora Pipeline Run 

Posted by Nick Monday, February 28, 2011 8:52:00 PM

On Saturday I got out for a great trail run with Justin Low and Mark Williams, who are two other ultra runners from the Shire, and both are in the final stages of training for the 6ft Trail Marathon in 2 weeks.  Despite living in the Shire most of my life, my travels around the Woronora Pipeline and Heathcote National Park had been pretty minimal, and the few times I had gone over there I’d got lost.  As Pipeline veterans, Justin and Mark graciously allowed me to join them for a training run, and we meet at the end of Thorp Rd, Woronora at 6:15 on Saturday morning to begin our run just as the dawn was making the track visible.  The gate at the end of Thorp Rd gives ready access to the pipeline track, and navigation is generally not too difficult – the side tracks are clearly marked, and with some knowledge about the intermediate destination locations indicated by the various signs, avoiding wrong turns is generally quite easy.  The reassurance of the near-constant visibility of the huge pipeline that leads from Woronora Dam also provides a clear indication that you’re on the correct track.

Running with other makes the time go by a lot quicker, and we set off at an even, steady pace over the undulating terrain.  The footing was decent, and we clipped along at around 6 minute kilometres.  Mark was returning from a badly twisted ankle and Justin was also overcoming an ankle tweak of his own.  Saturday’s run was the second ‘B’ in my back-to-back (B2B) longer training days, with a 28km run from Miranda to the Sydney CBD as the first ‘B’ on Friday morning, so we were all happy with the comfortable pace.  As the sun came up, the day became hot with a predicted 32 degree maximum resulting in temperates at 8am in the mid-20s.

At the 8km mark, the track crosses Heathcote Rd, and its a nervous sprint across the road as cars hurtle down the hill towards the Woronora River bridge around a blind corner at 80+ km/h.  After 13km, the undulating trail conditions gives way to a solid climb towards the dam, with a 200m elevation gain over 2.5km.  After the climb, the dam becomes visible and its only a few kilometers to reach the dam wall.  The scenery is spectacular (images below) and we went for a run across the dam wall and had a chat with the security guard who informed us that the dam area was closed due to the detection of asbestos in an old building in the picnic area, and the lift that we were expecting from Mark's dad back to the cars at Woronora wasn't going to happen.

 That left us with a 7km run back out to the Old Princess Highway to meet the transport.  After mentally clocking off on reaching the dam, getting the legs going for the 7km run out to the Highway was a bit of a challenge, and the chat dropped off as we knuckled down and headed up the road under hot skys.  By the time we got to the intersection, we were drenched in sweat,  but the timing was great as Mark's dad arrived almost simultaneously as pulled up happy after clocking a total of 27kms.  Overall it was a great run, and its great to have a new trail running location close-by. 

The MapMyRun route from the run to the dam is at the end of the post.

Thanks Mark and Justin for the enjoyable run!


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