EVENT PROGRAM: Here is the official Event Program for the 2023 Great Southern Stage Run. This fully explains the event with confirmed schedule, course details, checkpoint details and much more. This is essential reading for all event attendees before the event. READ IT HERE.
The Great Southern Stage Run delivers a life changing odyssey for all runners with a challenging 200+km course through a wild and untouched landscape.
Starting amongst the Tingle and Karri trees at the Valley of the Giants in Walpole, runners will traverse an incredible array of Great Southern landscapes en-route to the spectacular finish line on the Torndirrup Peninsula at Albany. From windswept beaches and cliff top tracks, to picturesque bays and quiet coastal hamlets – this is a journey that you’ll never forget.
- 3 days of racing
- 4 legs each day
- Designated checkpoints as team change-over spots
Day 1 – Thursday 16th November
- Race start at Valley of Giants, Walpole, WA.
- Leg 1 – 17km : Valley of Giants to Conspicuous Beach
- Leg 2 – 17.8km : Conspicuous Beach to Peaceful Bay (35km total)
- Leg 3 – 22.5km : Peaceful Bay to Boat Harbour (57km total)
- Leg 4 – 12.3km : Boat Harbour to Parry’s Beach (70km total)
- TOTAL Day 1 = 70km including 1,259m ascent
Day 2 – Friday 17th November
- Race Start @ Parry Beach
- Leg 1 – 14km : Parry Beach to Lights Beach carpark
- Leg 2 – 14.6km : Lights Beach carpark to Wilson Inlet Ferry (28km total)
- Leg 3 – 22km : Nullaki Ferry to Lowlands Beach (50km total)
- Leg 4 – 23.8km : Lowlands Beach to Cosy Corner (74km total)
- TOTAL Day 2 = 74km including 1,419m ascent
Day 3 – Saturday 18th November
- Start @ Cosy Corner
- Leg 1 – 20km : Cosy Corner to End of Sand Patch Rd
- Leg 2 – 12km : End Sand Patch Rd to Panorama Caravan Park (30km total)
- Leg 3 – 16km : Panorama Caravan Park to Frenchmans Bay Rd (46km total)
(* May change as we hope to go onto Bald Head in 2023.)
- Leg 4 – 10km : Frenchmans Bay Rd to Camp Quaranup (56km total)
- Race finish at Camp Quaranup, Tornidurrup Peninsula, Albany, WA.
- TOTAL Day 3 = 58km including 927m ascent
GRAND TOTAL: 202km
“Your inner adventurer and freedom seeking runner will be totally satisfied with the Great Southern Stage Run” Dorothy Roe, 2022 participant
Overview course map
EVENT PROGRAM AND LOGISTICS
The very detailed event program that explains all aspects of the course and event logistics is now uploaded and can be read HERE.
Daily course maps
PUT THE MAPS ON YOUR PHONE: Scan the QR Code above OR CLICK HERE to download the terrific CAPRA mapping app and receive the Day 1 map on your phone. (Follow the prompts to create an account and you’ll find the map in the app’s ‘Library’). This is our NEW and RECOMMENDED way to have the maps on your phone.
DAY 1 COURSE MAP
>>CLICK HERE<< for an interactive map of day 1 course on Plot a Route
DAY 2 COURSE MAP
>>CLICK HERE<< for an interactive map of day 2 course on Plot a Route
DAY 3 COURSE MAP
>>CLICK HERE<< for an interactive map of day 3 course on Plot a Route
Course Highlights and leg preview videos
The course described on this page is provisional and is still subject to some (small) changes. All distances +/- 2km
Leg 1 – Valley of Giants to Conspicuous Cliffs Beach carpark – 17km
Starting in the Valley of the Giants tourist attraction amongst the giant Karri and Tingle trees, all leg 1 runners do a circuit around the treetop walkways and then runners make their way towards the coast on the Bibbulmun Track before arriving at the picturesque and dramatic Conspicuous Cliffs Beach carpark. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 2 – Conspicuous Beach carpark to Peaceful Bay boat ramp – 17km
Runners continue on the Bibbulmun Track and then divert off the trail for a spectacular adventure run along the wild and un-touched coastline, along the beaches and spectacular rocky headlands below the dunes to Rame Head before turning north for the calm waters of Peaceful Bay. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 3 – Peaceful Bay boat ramp to Boat Harbour – 22.5km
This leg has a bit of everything as it follows an inland route that includes a canoe crossing of Irwin Inlet and long sections of double track through the hinterland. The course returns to the coast for more spectacular coastal views on approach to Boat Harbour. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 4 – Boat Harbour to Parry’s Beach (campground) – 12km (70km Total).
Another mixed and varied leg with some more spectacular cliff-top running to begin with before runners meander behind the coast and finish with superb views to the east at Parry’s Beach campground. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 1 – Parry Camp to Lights Beach – 14km
This leg commences with a long beach run through to the spectacular Greens Pool and then on to a newly constructed section of trail to Waterfall Bay before arriving at Lights Beach. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 2 – Lights Beach to Wilson Inlet – 14.6km
This leg is quite different to most others as it heads inland to climb through the Karri Trees to Mt Halowell for brilliant views over Denmark and the surrounding coast before descending to Denmark where it meanders through the streets to the Rivermouth Caravan park. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 3 – Wilson Inlet to Lowlands Beach carpark – 22km
Runners commence this leg with a 4km crossing of Wilson Inlet in a power boat (!) after which you follow the Bibbulmun Track through some remote hinterland country, winding your way through the dunes to the coast at the stunning Lowlands Beach carpark. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 4 – Lowlands Beach carpark to Cosy Corner – 23.8km
A challenging (and long) leg along the Bibbulmun Track to West Cape Howe (WA’s southernmost point) providing spectacular views across the Southern Ocean to the south and to the pristine beaches such as Cosy Corner, Shelley Beach and Dingo Beach to the east. Finishing at the protected Cosy Corner beach. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 1 – Cosy Corner to Albany Wind Farm – 20km
Starting with 6km on the beach before a rock hopping section past Mutton Bird Island, the leg then provides some dramatic clifftop run with a wild ocean on one side and majestic wind turbines on the other. This leg is seriously “atmospheric”! PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 2 – Albany Wind Farm to Panorama Caravan Park – 12km
After 3km along the cliff top, the course leaves the ocean and crosses the Torndirrup Peninsula to the protected waters of Shoal Bay before following the bayside coastline to Panorama Caravan Park. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 3 – Panorama Caravan Park to Frenchman Bay Rd – 16km
This is a varied leg that starts with some kilometers on the road before dropping into the spectacular Salmon Holes beach and then ‘Australia’s Best Beach’ – Misery Beach for some coastal rock hopping near the Albany Whaling Museum before finishing at the end of Frenchmans Bay Rd. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Leg 4 – Frenchman Bay Rd to Camp Quaranup – 10km (59km cumulative)
The last hurrah to the finish takes in pristine and sheltered beaches with white sands and granite outcrops as you run along beaches and over headlands to the long sought finish line at the old quarantine station at Camp Quaranup. A rewarding conclusion to an epic journey. PREVIEW VIDEO BELOW.
Table of leg distances and times.
Trail textures and terrain
The course provides a remarkable variety of terrain from start to finish, from sandy trails winding through the dunes to rock hopping around the coastline – and everything in between.
Nearly the entire course is ALL SINGLE TRACK. If you are not running on single track then you are on firm sandy beaches or, on occasion, 4WD tracks with just the a very small amount of asphalt across the 12 different legs.
There is a moderate amount of sand on the course but on the whole the sand is A LOT FIRMER than the sand on the Margaret River Ultra Marathon course. There are some sections of soft sand on beaches but the sand on the single track is very runnable and provides for good going.
The course will NOT BE MARKED. Competitors must navigate their own way along the course by following the GPS route downloaded to their phones whilst racing (GPS route and clear instructions how to use it will be provided below).
This is no where near as daunting as it sounds, the vast majority of the course is along the Bibbulmun track which is very well marked, and where the race course deviates away from the Bib track it will be easy to follow using your phone and some common sense.
It is the runners responsibility to ensure you follow the designated race route. We recommend either the Maps.ME or Gurumaps free apps and encourage you to get familiar with these apps before race week.
Checkpoints and on course support
Checkpoints will be established at the start / finish of each leg and will provide relatively basic foods for runners like fruit buns, sandwiches, fruit cake, fruit, lollies, sports drink, bars and more (exact menu tbc). These items are available for all runners but priority will be given to solo runners given that team runners finish (or start) their run at each checkpoint.
There will be no other water points on each leg other than at the checkpoints. So runners must be self sufficient for hydration / nutrition / equipment for the entire length of the leg they are running.
Teams and/or support crews can only provide physical assistance and support at the designated checkpoints at the start / finish of each leg. No other assistance (other than verbal encouragement!) can be provided between checkpoints.
There will be very few, if any marshals mid-way along each leg so runners must be self-sufficient and able to run independently for the entirety of their leg. Having said that, we will be supervising all sections of the course, we will have sweep runners and we will ensure that all runners get through and are accounted for.
GPS Course file – MANDATORY FOR ALL COMPETITORS
All competitors MUST have the map for ALL 3 DAYS loaded into a mapping app on their phone. THE COURSE WILL NOT BE MARKED so this is ESSENTIAL FOR ALL RUNNERS. We recommend using the CAPRA mapping app which automatically downloads the maps and race route to your phone. See instructions above.
If you have a GPS enabled watch then we also recommend having the maps on your watch for easy reference (this does not change the need to have the maps on your phone). The 2023 mapping files below have been provided for your reference and research.
GPS MAPPING FILES:
The Bibbulmun Track
The Great Southern Stage Run follows large sections of the Bibbulmun Track between Walpole and Albay. The Bibbulmun Track as a whole is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills all the way through to Albany, winding through the heart of the scenic South West of Western Australia.
The course does not follow the track exclusively as we deviate off the official route on a number of occasions where we think there is a more scenic option and to break things up.
We are proud to be Bronze Level sponsors of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation and Rapid Ascent will donate money to support them. We strongly encourage entrants to also make a donation to help preserve the track and it’s surroundings.
Points of interest on the Bibbulmun Track