Our resident running expert Andy Smith is back with his top Lane Cove Running Loops. So get running Lane Cove. Take it away Andy…
With the annual Lane Cove Fun Run approaching, I decided that it was the ideal time to review the top short runs to do around Lane Cove that provide a bit of variety and will help to get you well prepared for the “ups and downs” of Lane Cove running! . The list I have come up with is therefore “the best running loops up to 5km” and for your convenience most of them are within the vicinity of the Lane Cove fun run course AND, most importantly, are within range of the Lane Cove Plaza so you can treat yourself to a well earned coffee, smoothie, juice, or meal afterwards !
I’ve tried to keep the runs within 5km and made sure that there are enough hills, but not too many (you can review my list of the best hills to run in my Top 10 Hill Runs in Lane Cove article if you crave more!).
So grab your running shoes, your kids, your dog, your friends or all of these to have a crack at my top 8 picks (In order of difficulty and suggested preparation for the Lane Cove 5km fun run):
Number 8 “Centennial Rd 7-Eleven” loop
Burns Bay Rd – Centennial – Epping Rd (3.5km with 45m elevation)
If you are new to running and want a good route to test the legs then this is a nice progressive option as there’s not too much climbing to do, at least until near the end of the run. You therefore have the choice to slow up the pace, walk the last bit (if you’re tired) or charge up the hill if you discover that you’re in much better condition than you thought you’d be!
As you head out of the Plaza and down Burns Bay Rd you have at least 1.5km of progressive downhill terrain to enjoy before turning right onto Centennial Ave. Prepare yourself for a few gentle rolling hills along here as you approach Epping Rd. The good news however is that there’s at least an equal and opposite downhill for every uphill giving you the chance to work, rest…..and play !
If you’ve made it this far with relative comfort then the good news is that the last 1km should be a great chance for you to do some leg strength training with a long grind up Epping Rd and into Longueville Rd to complete the loop.
Number 7 “Penrose St Claphams Furniture” loop
Burns Bay Rd – Bridge St – Penrose St – Burns Bay Rd (3.5km with 35m elevation)
This is another great beginners level run with plenty of downhill for the first 1km (you’ll notice that this is a common theme for almost all the runs given that the Plaza is conveniently near the highest elevation point in Lane Cove !). As you head down Burns Bay Rd you should turn into Bridge St which is the first left after the roundabout. This has a fairly steep downhill run towards Penrose St (the opposite direction in Bridge St is actually number 9 of my top 10 hills to run in Lane Cove !). As you deviate into Penrose St the gradient make a distinctive change as you look up to see the intersection of Burns Bay Rd about 500 metres in the distance. Your reward after this however is a nice flat run as you turn right onto Burns Bay Rd for about 400 metres then deviate right, just after the ambulance station, to continue up Burns Bay Rd towards the Plaza.
Needless to say the majority of your run so far has been flat and downhill so it’s inevitable that there’s going to be some uphill to get back to your starting point and here’s where it starts and, fortunately, ends !. You have a little bit of hard work to do as you climb up Burns bay Rd towards the Ross Smith Parade shops with a convenient reduction in gradient after this. As you pass the Lane Cove bowling club the gradient ramps up again and continues all the way back to the roundabout so you should be well and truly puffing as you arrive back at the Plaza ready to reward yourself for a job well done !
Number 6 “Claphams Furniture 7-Eleven” loop
Burns Bay Rd – Bridge St – Penrose St – Burns Bay Rd – Centennial – Epping Rd (4.0 km with 72m elevation)
Now that we are getting comfortable with the running and terrain, then next ideal run to do is a combination of the two above runs. Head back down Burns Bay Rd and into Bridge St for the downhill run to Penrose St. You’re now looking back up to the intersection of Burns Bay Rd but you should know the climb well by now so I’d suggest that you have some fun with this. Run up here with a big effort and try to carry the pace into the flat run as you turn right onto Burns Bay Rd. Instead of deviating up Burns Bay Rd towards the plaza (as you did with the above run), head straight ahead past the 7-Eleven and tackle the gentle rolling hills along Centennial Ave to Epping Rd.
With a few runs under your belt you should now be looking forward to the grinding climb up Epping Rd. Just remember that the gradient gradually increases the further you go so don’t go too hard too soon!
Number 5 “Longueville” loop
Longueville Rd – Kenneth St – William Edward St – Longueville Rd (4.5km with 65m elevation)
I have to admit that this is probably my favourite loop to run in Lane Cove (which I simply refer to as the “Longueville Loop”) and judging by the number of fellow runners I pass along the way I suspect that I’m not alone.
Once again we start from the Plaza but this time we head due south down Longueville Rd for roughly 1km before hitting the intersection at River Rd for a short rest while waiting to cross the road. As you turn into Kenneth St you pass by two of my favourite locations, the Longueville Sporting Club, “The Diddy” (for dinner) and Fitness Revelation, “FitRev” (for training). You then have a very pleasant gentle downward gradient run all the way to Kingsford Smith Oval where the start/finish of the Lane Cove Fun Run is located. You should be about 2km into the run by now and well warmed up ready to skirt around the oval into Stuart Street and into the first big test of the day, the long drag up William Edward St. Needless to say the gradient is the same as Kenneth St with 2 obvious exceptions. First of all, it’s now UPHILL and secondly there’s a great little leg tester as you crest the hill just past Christina St. If you look ahead you will see a hill that looks more like a wall but don’t panic as it is relatively short (and NOT in my list of the top 10 hills to run in Lane Cove !). After this you just need to endure about 400m more of “false flat” as you turn right into River Rd and are rewarded with another short rest at the intersection with Longueville Rd ready to tackle the last of the challenges for this run. From here you head back up to the Plaza for about 1km with a gradually increasing gradient to endure.
When I run this section I usually use the bus shelters as indicators of the distance covered and starting points to lift the running pace. Hopefully after this you will have enough energy to sprint the last flat 200m past Lane Cove Public School. You then just need to cross over the road past the library and your job is done!
Number 4 “Longueville Wharf” loop
Longueville Rd – Arabella St – Stuart St – Kenneth St – Longueville Rd (5km with 100m elevation)
This is another well trodden path for me and a good progression from the more popular “Longueville Loop” run (see above). It’s also a great run to do early in morning so you can enjoy the sunrise over the harbour. When you get down to Kenneth St, instead of heading straight down to Kingsford Smith Oval, you turn left into Woodford St and right into Arabella St. You are now travelling on the Lane Cove Fun Run course at roughly the 1km point. Seeing as you are now on the course and enjoying the rolling gradient along here, it makes sense to make the most of the opportunity and take the left turn into Lucretia Ave and right into Poole St to stay on the Fun Run course.
No run around Longueville however is complete without enjoying the scenery from Longueville wharf so I have added this into the run instead of turning into Mary Street where the Fun Run turns off. By now you will have worked out that each progression of my runs has a slightly harder hill to play with and here’s where your next challenge starts ! The climb back up from the wharf is about 400m before the gradient eases off to allow you some recovery time as you head back towards Kenneth St. After a solid climb and recovery I usually turn right into Kenneth St and enjoy a gentle uphill cruise back to Longueville Rd where you can challenge yourself with another final 1km increasing effort run using the bus shelters as your “acceleration” points.
Number 3 “Longueville Wharf and The Wall” loop
Longueville Rd – Kenneth St – Stuart St – Mary St – William Edward St – Longueville Rd (5.5km with 110m elevation)
We are now starting to add in more of the road course that you will be treading on come race day. The map below is showing me going straight down Kenneth St to Kingsford Smith oval (I must have been feeling a little lazy that day !) but I would suggest taking the Woodford, Arabella, Lucretia, Poole route to sneak in some more distance on the Fun Run course (see the above run course for more details on this section).
When you arrive at Stuart St I would then suggest doing the obligatory run down to the wharf first and then on your return up the hill, turn left into Mary Street to join the Fun Run course again. Be prepared though for a subtle kick in the teeth as you turn into this street as there is a distinctive hill to negotiate for about 150m before the gradient tapers off and you then have what I affectionately refer to as a “false flat” for 400m (it looks flat after what you just did but in reality you are still heading uphill). As you turn right into Kenneth St there’s still a little bit more work to do with a short “kicker” of a hill as you return to Stuart St. Given that this is all about progressively running further, stronger and faster, rather than continuing up Kenneth (as you would do on race day), you can turn left and then right into William Edward St. You can never grow tired of the challenge delivered to you along this stretch of road with the “wall” hill climb and of course the now familiar charge up Longueville Rd to the finish…….and coffee !
Number 2 “Gore Hill Ronald Park” loop
Phoenix St – Ronald Ave – Ronald Park stairs – Pacific Hwy – Longueville Rd (3.5km with 110m elevation)
Ok, I do admit that I am breaking the rules a little bit here as I did say that the runs would not include too many hills but I couldn’t help myself and had to throw in this loop as a final strength test before race day !
You should now be pretty familiar with the roads around Longueville so this might provide a welcome change with some difficult sections to test your confidence pre-race day.
From the Plaza you can choose your own route down to the Pottery Green oval and across to Phoenix street where you head south down towards the golf course. Shortly after crossing over Dorritt St (look right and you will see number 5 on my list of the top 10 hill runs to do in Lane Cove !) you will get to your first sharp hill to run up as the road feeds into First Ave. After about 300m of false flat you will get to your second “kicker” leading up to the right and left dogleg into Ronald Ave. From here you finally get a break with a sharp downhill before winding your way around the backstreets below the Pacific Highway. Make the most of this relatively easy stretch of road as the biggest challenge is now just ahead of you. Instead of following the road around to the right, look to your left Into Ronald Park and you will see the very best set of stairs for agility and strength building ! If you’ve trained well and feeling strong, why not head back down a do it again ! (as I did on the map below). If you’ve done a great job of multiple stair repeats you can then enjoy a gentle recovery run back down the Pacific Highway to Longueville Rd and back to the Plaza.
Number 1 “Lane Cove Fun Run” 2018 5km Course (5km with 89m elevation)
So, this is the course that you may have been training for so I’ll do my best to give you a detailed explanation of each turn and hill to give you an idea of what to expect !
From Kingsford Smith oval you head north up Kenneth St which starts with a gentle incline increasing gradually in gradient to a deceptive 3% as you approach the roundabout at Christina St. This should get the legs working pretty quickly and you can now enjoy a flat to “false flat” run up to the highest point of the course at Woodford St (at around 52m above sea level). As you turn right into this street you will be glad to see that you are running down it (rather than up !) however you need to be careful not to over-stride going down here and overload your legs with high impact foot strikes. Turning right into Arabella St you are now at the 1km mark and at about 36m above sea level (roughly the same as the start line). You do have to deal with an uphill initially however by the time you reach the left turn into Lucretia St you have happily dropped about 10m closer to sea level (we’ll worry about the climb back up to the start line elevation later !).
You continue to loose elevation as you turn left into Lucretia but after about 200m you will reach the right hand turn into Poole St and have a gradual climb of about 4m to negotiate. Good news, you have just passed the 2km mark and are now in Stuart St heading down towards the wharf and the lowest elevation point on the course (at the intersection with Mary Street). Bad news though, it’s now all uphill from Mary St starting with a nasty 150m long and 10m high “kicker” with no opportunity to recover as you continue for another 400m with another 7m of climbing back to Kenneth St. It sounds like the climbing is over given how close you are now to Kingsford Smith oval but I’m afraid that the fun isn’t over just yet. We still have 6m yet to climb before crossing over Stuart St and up Kenneth towards the start line and the completion of the first 3km lap. We now only have 2km left to do so that can only mean one thing, a shorter second lap !
Instead of continuing all the way up to Woodford St you instead turn right into Christina St (at the roundabout). Keep in mind however that the bulk of the climbing on Kenneth St is on this section so there’s still plenty of work to do. Like Woodford St, Christina St also has a pretty sharp drop that eases off as you turn right back into Arabella St. Halfway into Lucretia St you are now at the 4km mark and ready to lift the pace for a charge to the finish line, how I hear you say ? The answer is simple, no Mary St to negotiate this time around !. Instead you turn right into Stuart St from Poole and have a much more friendly gentle gradient run up here towards Kenneth St where you turn right and will see (and hear) the activity at the finish line on the oval. Hopefully you’re ready to lift the pace a little more as you leave the road just before the tennis courts and make a sharp left turn onto the oval and head clockwise around the oval until you reach the grandstand and the finish line, congratulations !
Read more from Andy here:
Do you like a challenge? Andy has put together a list of top hill runs in Lane Cove. Find out all about some great hill runs here.
Bush Trail Running
Do you want to run along some of Lane Cove’s beautiful bush runs. Andy has put together a list of bush trail runs here.
A little bit about our Running Expert Andy Smith
Andy Smith has been a Lane Cove local resident since 2000 and recently made a career change moving away from the corporate life to pursue his passion for fitness and running. He recently attained his Master Trainer credentials and took on the role of running coach for the locally based North Shore Running and Fitness Group and Personal Trainer at the Sydney Performance Lab.
Whilst heavily immersed in the running concept of “longer is better” with over a dozen marathons completed (pb 2:54:55) and a recent switch to ultramarathons, Andy still loves to test his performance with races of any distance and loves to share his passion for running with everyone around him! He has competed in the Lane Cove Fun Run every year since it began and ITC loves being at the finish line to greet him (ITC puffs more walking over to greet him than he does when he finishes his run).