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In Melbourne we talk about doing The Tan. It means running a circuit of the track (although some people walk it) that circumnavigates our beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens. The path was originally a horse riding path for Melbourne's gentry.
Most dedicated and amateur runners try this 3.8-kilometre track at least once as the gardens are a place for beautiful old trees, rolling lawns and an ornamental lake.
The record for running The Tan, is apparently, held by Craig Mottram in 2006, who broke Robert de Castella and Steve Moneghetti's records and conquered The Tan in a staggering 10 minutes and 8 seconds. He was running with the Richmond Football Club during their pre-season training and gave the footballers a two-and-a-half minute head start and still managed to win.
Sometimes, however, it is not enough to conquer The Tan. With all our apps and pedometers, these days, we have become obsessed with measuring how far we go and how long it takes us.
So for those interested in making their run/walk around The Tan even more constructive they might be interested in the following activity.
On the first Saturday of every month the Victorian Road Runners offer 4 km and 8 km time-trials around The Tan. They welcome non-members into their fold and they also welcome all ages and abilities. There is no pressure to join and there are heaps of advantages.
The Victorian Road Runners was a club formed in 1982 for "non-registered runners" or, in other words, people who want to participate in fun runs and run for enjoyment rather than becoming members of competitive athletic clubs.
Their Tan time trails start at 7.30 in the morning and you can choose to do either 4 km or 8 km (two circuits) in a clockwise run which includes the Anderson Street Hill.
The exact distance is made up by doing a dogleg up a gravel path to the King George V statue shortly after Government House Drive to bring the 3.8km distance up to 4 km.
In March, June, September and December, they start at the Pillars of Wisdom on Alexandra Avenue (Melway 2G A9), about 140 m east of opposite the Swan Street Bridge.
All the 4km runners start together and the 8 km runners are divided into two grades and are handicapped, with A Grade being the fast runners and B Grade being the rest of us.
If you haven't run with them before, see the handicapper for a handicap before you start. There is a bacon and egg breakfast by the river at the barbeques across the road afterwards, which is free for VRR members and $3 for visitors.
On the other months the starting point is at the Malta George Cross Monument, opposite the foyer of the Shrine of Remembrance, on Birdwood Avenue (Melway 2F K11) about 300m east of Government House Drive corner. These are non-handicap runs with free tea and biscuits.
Victorian Road Runners Facebook
The date for their next run is Saturday 5th of April 2014. Remember it is a 7.30 am start.
Perhaps you could even start training for next years Go The Tan a famous fundraising event for charity which is held every year in February.