Finding a city that embraces an active lifestyle is great for runners. While some places may scoff at the idea of blazing down trails on a daily basis, other cities will completely encourage it. Melbourne is one of these cities. Being one of the fittest cities in the world is blatantly obvious when you lace up your shoes, and go for a run in the greater Melbourne area.
While there are a plethora of parks scattered throughout the city, one of the best aspects of running or training in Melbourne is the trail system designed for bikers, joggers, runners and walkers. Having had a great run on the Capital City Trail, the seemingly similar, yet oddly different, Main Yarra Trail has a lot to offer distance runners.
Located directly across the river from the Capital City trail, the Main Yarra runs most of its course along the Yarra River as well. While the Capital City trail is completely uncovered, the Main Yarra runs under the cover of the City Link highway for much of the trail. This could sound somewhat abrasive, yet the noise from the traffic overhead is hardly heard, and during Melbourne’s summer, the cover from the oppressive sun is a godsend. The walls of the underpass are lined with beautiful pieces of urban art, and at one point, the Victoria Climbing Club has actually put up three bouldering walls free of charge for those who want to climb. This makes for great scenery during a long training run.
When the trail isn’t being covered by the overpass, with its location directly next to the river (a flood would drown it), a nice breeze seems to always accompany runners. During winter this can lead to ice in cold weather, but during the summer months, it is a dream. The path itself also has an interesting composition, being made out of synthetic material for much of the way, that is softer on a runner’s legs than cement and concrete. The trail also opens up to multiple other paths boasting distances up to an extra 11K. This is great for runners looking to go for a long run.
The Main Yarra Trail is accessible via the Capital City Trail, or any intersection along the City Link freeway. For those in the Toorak area, the path intersections with Glenferrie Road near Kooyong Tennis Stadium (former home of the Australian Open). Enjoy your time in Melbourne, and keep hitting the trails hard. Beware of the cyclists though, they do seem to think they own the roads.