Course and Maps
The run follows the established Great Ocean Walk track which is well signposted.
While the official Parks Victoria distance for the walk is actually 105km, previous race measurements indicate this is closer to 100km. In the spirit of running the official GOW track from end-to-end, there are no deviations or add-ons. This might mean the distance traveled is slightly less than 100km. Or it might be slightly more than 100km. Being a true trail race there will always be variations in measurements and the distances listed below are to be used as a guide only.
There are numerous junctions and camping grounds along the Walk that are generally very well signposted. Stop and look: you do not leave the trail to go into any Hike-In Campgrounds. Be aware that you should never be on a beach after Milanesia (65km) and never on bitumen apart from in the Otway Lighthouse carpark and the 12 Apostles carpark at the finish line. Do not run on a bitumen road. You are in the wrong place.
While there will be some supplementary course marking, GOW100s is essentially an unmarked course. The course marking will be very minimal and mainly for the first section which is run in pre-dawn light. Runners are expected to be able to navigate the course following their map, and the Parks' signage and any electronic nav they so choose. There are almost no junctions that are confusing anymore. Given that the course follows the coast fairly closely for most of the way navigation is relatively straight forward. The trail does pass through areas of dense rainforest and getting off course could pose considerable dangers here so stay on the track. If you miss a beach exit at any stage and find yourself on rocks at sea level going around a headland, go back as there are no dangerous places like this on the course.
This is a closed course. This means that the established trail must be followed. There should be no cutting the course, no cutting switchbacks, and no detours that would shorten the course. If you get off course you need to retrace your path until you return to the official course before continuing under your own effort i.e. do not accept a ride in a vehicle back onto the course as this will lead to disqualification.
Follow the yellow arrows on the timber posts and check the green metal distance signs and you can't go wrong. The green signs have the GREAT OCEAN WALK clearly labelled. The signage looks like this:
NO CREW are allowed into Blanket Bay and runners do not go through the campground anymore (following complaints from campers). Instead, you will traverse the beach to the southern end of the beach where there will be signage and hopefully a marshal to direct you up a ramp straight into the new checkpoint in the day visitor car park and picnic area. Do not go up a ramp unless you see the race ribbons or are directed by the marshall. There are toilets adjacent to the aid station if needed.
The finish line is at the back of the 12 Apostles carpark. This means you need to swing hard right as you pass the kiosk (there will be a marshall here during daylight hours when there are tourists about) and follow the markers and road cones staying on the right-hand shoulder of the carpark all the way to the back. You must take care when moving through tourists and be aware of cars. You must wear your high-viz vest through the carpark. At the back of the carpark you pass through the gate onto the grass and run across the helicopter entrance (be careful of tourists here) to the gantry.
With ongoing track realignments some of the distances below will be slightly inaccurate. This is a trail race and not a certified measured distance. Track upgrades mean more primo-singletrack and less gravel road so we encourage more of that.
There are great navigation Apps that you can download for free onto your phone and download the .gpx file on this page to these Apps. This allows you to check your position on (or off) the course at any time. These Apps do not require network coverage and can be used with your phone in flight mode to save batteries. The course is already loaded onto the Trail Run Project app. Another great one to use is the Gaia app.
The following link provides information from Parks Victoria on the details of each of the course sections, as well as information on the 'decision points'. At each of these the inland route must be taken (except on the final descent into Blanket Bay and this will be marked). Runners are responsible for familiarising themselves with the course. Failure to complete the full course will result in disqualification.
Course Distances and Cutoffs
Total elevation gain is measured at 2,950m.