0km - The Start
Watching the start is easy. You will need to park at the official parking area and catch the shuttle bus with your runner (no charge). There is no space at all for parking at the start line and parking on the Great Western Highway near the start is strongly discouraged as it is very unsafe with minimal off road space and traffic moving at 100km/hr. People who attempt to park near the start not only endanger themselves but also the future conduct of the race.
Note that you will see the runners dash off into the bush and over the cliff into the valley below, so you don't see a lot, but the atmosphere is worth it. The smart spectator will walk down the track a little and find a tucked away spot and watch the runners come towards them and go past, but not where it becomes narrow. Once you have seen your runner depart you have 3 choices.
- Catch the official shuttle bus from the start to the finish
- Catch the official shuttle bus back to the car park and either
- Head into Katoomba for coffee/breakfast and then catch the official shuttle buses from the Carrington Hotel to the finish
- Drive out to the various spectator points detailed below (knowing that you then will not be able to spectate at the finish line unless you have been able to pre purchase a parking voucher due to limited race day parking at Jenolan Caves.
8km - Megalong Valley
Drive from the parking area at Katoomba to Blackheath, and follow the Megalong Valley Road to almost the every end. If you have gone to the start line and watched your runner start then you will not have enough time to get back to your car and drive to the Megalong Valley spectator point. Your drive is very much the long way round. Expect the first runners through here approx 30mins into the run, and the slowest about 1hr 20mins. Unless you are desperate to see your runner, you can give the Megalong Valley a miss. The runners cross the road (there is no thru traffic here). They leap over a stile, cross the road, leap another stile, and are gone. There is an aid station here, but as its early in the run, many runners don't stop here, or if they do, its not for long.
You should not attempt to walk along the track in either direction, as it becomes narrow and you will obstruct the runners.
With the consent of the track manager (Department of Primary Industries – Lands), and to ensure the safety of runners and public on race day, public access to the Six Foot Track from Megalong Road through to Coxes River will be restricted and controlled between 7am and 9 am on Race Day. RFS and Race Management personnel at Aid Stations between these locations will enable access during this period, only to issued and displaying numbered race bibs.
After the Megalong Valley, you can't easily see your runner for a long time, so a stop at Blackheath for coffee & breakfast is pretty much mandatory.
34km - Black Range
The next spot to view runners is along the Black Range. To get here you need to turn into Black Range Road opposite Boggy Creek Road, this is about 33km along Jenolan Caves Road from the Great Western Highway. This is a dirt road and about 1km in there is an intersection near a campground where the runners go past, along with an aid station. This is a great spot to cheer and encourage your runner as they have been continously climbing for about 12km with only aid stations and fellow runners for support. NRG typically set up a loud cheer squad here equipped with numerous cowbells.
38km - Jenolan Caves Road
The route crosses Jenolan Caves Road, and at this junction there is a small amount of parking (always follow instructions from Rural Fire Service Staff who man the aid station here). The location is close to where the road drops down to Jenolan Caves - it should be easy to see as there will be RFS and other vehicles parked on the left, and someone to stop the traffic as runners come thru. Expect the first runners through here approx 2hrs 45mins into the run, and the slowest about 6hrs. All runners are totally stuffed when they get here - it is not far to the finish. Feel free to walk back along the course to see runners or take photos. But do not cross the road, as the track is very narrow on that side. If you chose to spectate here, you will not be able to get to the finish line in time to watch your runner finish.
45km - The Finish
You will experience the joys and sadness of this great event just by hanging around at Caves House. It is possible to walk back along the track to the top of the nearby hills and watch runners come past, but please try to do this before the bulk of the runners come through, as the path is narrow with steep drops!