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The trail running events we're looking forward to this year.

January 02, 2023 4 min read

The trail running events we're looking forward to this year.


As we all start to look forward to the year ahead, we thought we’d look at the increasingly busy trail running calendar here in South Australia (io home turf) and give you a quick summary of what’s on, including some of the events we're most looking forward to.

myponga trail running

1. Great Southern Runs: The Myponga Loop

Let’s start with a new one in 2023 because it ticks all our boxes. First time. Tick. Run somewhere you can’t usually. Tick. Not too far away. Tick. Run by someone who puts on great events. Tick. Yep, The Myponga Loop in March is right at the top of our list for 2023. 7 or 19km course and a 1.2km FREE kids dash!

Great southern bolt half marathon

Worth checking out Great Southern Runs other events including the Great Southern Bolt which launched last year and includes a VERY fast first 10kms downhill Main South Road! 

 Wonderland trail run grampians

2. Adelaide Trail Runners: Robe Run & the new Winter Series

Another new one for 2023 - the 13km, 21km and 42.2km Robe Run on SA’s Limestone Coast - somewhere we don’t traditionally get many events. This one’s on Feb 11 so you’d better get in quick if you want to do it.

ATR also just announced their new Winter Series on June 11, July 16 and Sept 10 with locations yet to be announced. And although it’s a bit further away, ATR has also now taken over the Wonderland Run in the Grampians - some challenging courses with a lot of vert in a great location. (Don't be fooled by the distances, some of the courses are extra tough!)

Trail Running SA Mt Crawford trail run


3. TRSA Series. 

Five Peaks on April 16 might be the jewel in Trail Running SA’s crown, (and part of the Five50 Series), but the regular series over Winter hits some great locations. We’re still waiting to hear which locations they’ll be in this year but it usually includes places like Sturt Gorge, Cleland, Mt Crawford, Cobblers Creek and Mt Misery. Always great events, with very affordable entry fees.

 Adelaide Ultra Trail Running

4. Ultra Series SA: Ultra Adelaide

Some of their events are ultra insane, like their Backyard and Frontward Ultras, Irrational South 100/200 miler and Sink or Survive 500k stage race. Most people might be more inclined to tackle one of the distances at Ultra Adelaide - with 21/34/50/100km options ending smack bang in the city. 2023 will be the second running of this one. We should also mention the Heysen 105 (Which is actually 115km!) for those who’d prefer to run down South. This one’s been on the calendar for a few years now, but the new(ish) format finishing in Victor Harbor has taken this event to the next level. 

 Federation Ultra Trail Run

5. Murray Multi Sports - The Federation Ultra 

Morgan and his crew run what we believe are genuinely some of the more under rated events in South Australia. The Federation Ultra (part of the Five50 Series) which usually starts inside the Monarto Safari Park is always a highlight for us and probably one of the only trail runs in Australia where you’re a chance to see rhinos and lions! And meerkats! 

We happen to think the Murray Bridge Marathon Festival is a great race as well which, subject to floods, usually runs along the banks of the Murray River and is definitely worth a look. While for those who like to mix it up a bit, it’s worth checking out their Rockleigh 105 Gravel Grinder event and dusting off the treadly.

Barossa ROAR Adventure Race 

6. ROAR Barossa Adventure Race

This one’s gone under the radar a bit after launching in 2021, but ROAR Barossa is a goody for sure. Paddle, ride and run your way around Warren Reservoir and Mt Crawford Forest on the edge of the Barossa. If you don’t have your own Kayak you can usually arrange one for the race and it’s definitely great fun if you want to try something a bit different.

Tower Trail Run Mt Gambier

7. Tower Trail and the Naracoorte Megafest. 

Another two events on the Limestone Coast theatre are firm favourites with the crew here at io. 

The Tower Trail Run, (part of the Five50 Series), in Mt Gambier is a winner, taking you around the volcanic lakes in Mt Gambier, and depending on course changes, up and down a few challenging climbs. You’ll usually find the io pop up shop at the start/finish line of that one - and it’s usually prime io-wearing weather down there!

Naracoorte Megafest Trail Run

Another favourite of ours down that way is the Megafest in Naracoorte. Such a great trail in a great location in the Naracoorte Caves National Park. This one’s usually later in the year (mid November) so usually a bit warmer. Or could also be hailing like it did a few years ago. *shrugs*

Cleland parkrun

8. SA’s more adventurous parkruns 

For those looking for a shorter distance, there’s a few parkruns that are a little more adventurous than your regular run on the park, worth shouting out. Cleland has a big dipper, Anstey Hill is a proper trail run that include the appropriately named ‘Torture Hill’, the park runs at Myponga and South Para Reservoirs are both great trail locations, and if you’re looking for something further afield, there’s the new parkrun in Coober Pedy!