Saturday, 21 February 2015

My tour of Melbourne #citytrailmelbourne style

     Last Saturday the running gods aligned – it was wet, work got cancelled and I was excited! Melbourne had massive rains forecast, I was due to help out at school in the morning and I had been inspired by the new event from RapidAscent #citytrailmelbourne run to go out and explore my capital city.
     The #citytrail concept is a corker, simply find the most iconic places in your city, throw in some parkland, and add some quirky little alleys and you have an amazing run – it beats the City Circle Tram!
     So at 6:15 am and in pouring rain, I left work in Kew and ran the 1k down to the Yarra River Trail before hitting Victoria St and heading into the city. Just running along Victoria St brought back memories of our holiday in Shanghai. I know Victoria St is very heavily populated with Vietnamese businesses, but the smells took me back to China.
     From there I hit Hoddle St and turned left to run up the hill to the ‘G’ or the MCG. This was my first stop of the morning, Melbourne’s sporting heartland. Just after I got here I got the call from work to say the swim meet was cancelled. “By the way, where was I? You’re where? You’re bloody crazy mate, but enjoy it!”
I'm at the G!
After a quick happy snap and lap of the surrounds, I crossed the walkway to Rod Laver Arena, the home of the Australian Open. In the steady rain it was the Australian Closed.
Rod Laver Arena - hiding from the rain
 From the front of the Arena, you can see the city and my next stop, The Arts Centre with its famous spire. There is an amazing story behind this spire, including one about some protesters that chained themselves to it in the 70s. I was also planning on taking a detour past the Eureka Tower – Melbourne’s tallest building. 
Love #Melbourneweather

     To get there I ran along the iconic Batman Avenue before crossing the Yarra River and cruising past the rowing clubs – the busiest place I’d seen this morning. I had to duck and weave past the boats as they were ferried to the river and I hit Southbank and the Arts Centre for my next stop.
Its the spire you want to see!
I got slightly lost here, (believe it or not) and did a loop around the top grassland and external floor of the building. This would make a great little Strava section for those into it.
Getting arty here...
     From here it was a very short run along Southbank to the Eureka building, before an 800m or so run further down Southbank, past the world famous Crown Casino and over the river to the Melbourne Aquarium. I had to stop by and touch base with the fish that can swim!
Hello fishesthatcanswim
     My next stop was to be the Melbourne Museum, IMAX and old Exhibition Building. I chose to run up King St, famous for its nightclubs. I must say, I was chuckling away as I misjudged the gutters and ended up calf deep in water, while the staggering drunks just leaving the night clubs gave me heaps. So I gave them as good as I got knowing they wouldn’t catch me. At the top end of King St I detoured through the Queen Victoria Markets. At 7:30ish they were positively pumping already. 
     The outdoor stalls were being set up, the livestock was noisy as and I loved all the spruiking in the meat and fish section.
You get the picture...
     I made my way up Victoria Parade for a few blocks before a left turn up Swanston St towards Carlton. A couple of left and rights had me cruising up Lygon St – Melbourne’s Italian and restaurant capital. At this time of the morning it was just another street. I went down Gratten St and made my way to the Museum. I love this place, especially the old Exhibition building. It’s such a beautiful piece of architecture. As I took it in I grabbed a quick drink of Nuun and changed my socks for a dry pair. The Nike Lunarspiders drained well, but I just had to change socks. I must be going soft…
My favourite picture!
     Next icon on the tour was Spring St and Parliament House, so I headed straight down Nicholson St. At this stage I was loving it. The streets were eerily quiet, the rain was still falling and I had all the time in the world. What more could you want? I let out more than a few whoops and manic laughs, especially when I got caned with wash when a large truck drove through a well blocked drain just as I was passing.
Capital Hill anyone?
     As I ran past Parliament and crossed into Collins St I enjoyed a bit of speed window shopping in the ‘Paris End’ of Melbourne. At this stage the city was just starting to wake up and more and more people were hitting the caffeine as they slowly meandered to wherever they were going. As I turned down Swanston St to make my way to Flinders St Station I stopped at a Footlocker to see why there was a 50 strong queue of people. ‘Nike Jordan 15s’ was the response I got. Ah, the old Air Jordan. I was an Air Max Force fan myself.
This is Melbourne!
     Finally I made it to Flinders St and after a quick selfie with the iconic clocks I crossed the road to the love it or hate it Fed (Federation) Square complex and ran the lovely stretch of the Yarra along Birrugung Marr and back past the G before returning back to school.
#citytrailmelbourne and still hiding from the rain!
     All up I had covered a total of 25ish km from school to the CBD and back. I had about two hours forty on my feet and a massive smile on my face. I loved the concept and highly recommend entering the #citytrailmelbourne event on April 19th, I have! My course was more than a little different, but it’s a brilliant way to take in the sights of Melbourne and a great run to boot.

Till next time my friends.