Last Sunday I took part in the Longest Run Gippsland. The Longest Run is a series of unofficial parkruns (5km) at 7 different locations completed near to the shortest day of the year (usually Monarchs birthday long weekend).

Gippsland’s Longest Run 2024 started at 7am in Warragul then moved through Newborough, Traralgon, Churchill, Grand Ridge Rail Trail, Koonwarra and finally finishing on the coast at Inverloch at 4:30pm. This gives about 1 hour to complete each run and 30ish minutes to have a snack + travel to the next location.

While North Melbourne Longest run probably made more sense for me, I first heard about the Longest Run Gippsland and the concept of doing some of the parkruns that Alex had told me about sounded super appealing. The idea of getting up at 5am to be ready in Warragul did not seem like a fun idea and as Alex and Geordie would be joining in we decided to share a hotel room in Warragul for the night. Luke decided to also join us in the morning.

We would all run at our own paces. My plan was for 6min/km - much slower than many of my runs recently. I packed several pairs of running clothes however I didn’t factor in how cold it would be on the day. I really need to get a running jacket.

Myself, Alex and Geordie in the dark ready for the first parkrun


28:27 5:41/km 24m Ascent

Group photo of all the runners at Warragul - Probably around 30 people
After an introduction to the Longest Run and a quick briefing on the course we were off. I had actually completed this course officially once before during Antennapalooza. This course does a lap of the main park before turning north past the ovals towards the end of the park and returning. The northern section is performed twice before finishing near the start line.

I completed this course a little bit faster than I wanted but still kept it pretty easy. Afterwards some bananas and corn chips were consumed. My diet that day consisted mostly of corn chips.


28:33 5:42/km 25m Ascent

This was a lovely course. A simple double out and back along the rail trail. The approach to the rail trail followed a lovely flowing stream that just looked so gorgeous this time of year.

Once again ran a bit faster than I really wanted but still felt good afterwards. This is also the first time I met Liz. We happened to be going about the same pace and chatted throughout most of the run. While everyone during this event was so friendly and supportive Liz was next level supportive and got me through some of the later parkruns.


27:26 5:29/km 20m Ascent

I’ve run sections of the Traralgon parkrun before so I knew what to expect. This is another double out and back which follows the creek, however you don’t get much of a view of the creek due to the path placement. It’s a reasonably flat course. I certainly ran a lot faster than I should have, not sure if this is because I needed to go to the bathroom or because I was running with Alex.

Chomped on some chocolate along with some sugar coated nuts in the short break.


29:48 5:52/km 46m Ascent

We only just got to Churchill in time before the “official” start. It should be worth noting that as these aren’t official parkruns there are no timers, no finish funnel, no tokens. You record your own time. This means that you can start the courses early or late. Many of the people walking the courses started them early.

Churchill caught me a bit offguard. Up until this point I had been running with my very normal, not designed for running, cotton hoodie. The combination of slightly better weather and a bit more ascent on this course meant I had to remove it mid run and the some what sharp elevation changes meant that I ended up taking two short little walking segments on this one.

The course starts by heading south down the park, u-turning then heading back north towards the very top of the park. Two laps of this are completed with the exception of the very north section. When finishing I was bit confused to find that the finish line is a short distance away from the start on the grassy section, however I think under normal parkrun conditions this would be easy to identify.

We had lunch at this point, some wraps with tabouli, corn chips, salad, salad dressing and probably some other fillings I’ve forgotten to mention.

At this point I was feeling a little tired and there was a bit of pain in my knee. I think some of the aggravation in the knee had actually come from driving segments.

Grand Ridge Rail Trail

32:37 6:31/km 30m Ascent

Selfie with Luke and Alex while holding up the Grand Ridge Rail Trail parkrun selfie border cardboard

This is a fun course. Well I think it would be a fun course in the dry. It’s a single out and back course with a slight down hill grade for the entire way out. I decided before I even started this course that I should take it super easy and walk if needed to save energy and my limbs to complete all 7 courses. The approach I ended up with was run the down hill, then walk at the turn around point for about 500m then run the rest of the return. Towards the end I was feeling pretty good so picked up the pace a bit. Felt really good.

This also marks the point where you’ve completed a half marathon worth of running - and for me that also meant the most running I’ve done in a single day.

I really want to try this course again in the dry. I felt like I spent a lot of time focusing on not twisting my ankle with the slippery mud and clay rather than enjoying the track. The other reason is that this course often only gets around 20 people attending which means I’m in with a shot for getting in the top 10!

Only two more to go.


37:55 7:22/km 34m Ascent

This is a gorgeous course. Probably my favorite of all 7. I’m not sure exactly how well I would go under normal parkrun conditions as the bridges were quite wobbly and that usually makes me feel a bit unwell, but the views were amazing.

Koonwarra parkrun is an out and back starting from the town and following the Great Southern Rail Trail. The start takes you through a tunnel under the highway where you become surrounded by trees, eventually opening up in plains / farm land which great visibility across the bridges.

At this point I had pretty much hit my limit. I ran ran, walked, ran, walked, ran. Walking roughly half of the 5km. I tried to keep the walking pace fast as possible. My knee was starting to hurt a lot more. It wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t good. I didn’t want to push it.


36:53 7:15/km 17m Ascent

Looking back at the stats I find it hard to believe that Inverloch only had 17m of ascent. Every little up section felt like pain to me. I had a secret weapon though. A progress pride flag worn as a cape to celebrate pride month.

Me running in Inverloch with a progress pride flag worn as cape

I was pretty tired at this point and didn’t really understand the course at all, luckily I had people to follow otherwise I would have been utterly confused when I arrived back at the start line having only done 2km. The course starts in the middle and runs east, turns around back west past the start line for another 500m. Two laps are done to make the 5km.

The first 2km I ran eager to finish the final parkrun without walking but I realised quickly it was not going to happen and switched back to walking. When I reached 1km to go I decided to give running another shot and was able to complete the final kilometer running. Just.

With that it was done. 7 parkruns in a single day. Even though it was only 14°C I threw myself under the outdoor beach shower for a few minutes before changing into some fresh cloths.

I’m super happy with the outcome. I wasn’t sure if I could do all 7 but considering I was still running by the end that was a win for me. My knee was a bit sore for a few days after but it’s now good. 4 days later I did a reasonable 5km run (5:16/km) followed by a 10km PB (5:24/km) on the Saturday - so I think its safe to say that most of my body has recovered pretty quickly from what has been the most running in a single day I’ve ever done.

I’m pretty sure I’ll find myself doing another Longest Run in the future, I’m just not sure which one yet.