Spectating at the Six Foot Track Marathon
0km - The Start
Spectating at the start is easy. Just follow these instructions. 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.
8km - Megalong Valley
You need a car to get to this location. Drive from Katoomba to Blackheath, and follow the Megalong Valley Road to almost the every end. It is a mega-long road indeed. If you are slow to leave the start area you will miss the front-runners, as they have been running downhill and are all excited. 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.
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. The Six Foot Track Lodge on the Coxs River always has spectators, but you will have to organise to stay there. People can hire the Lodge (28 beds) for before/after the race. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 9810-3695.
37.9km - Black Range
The next spot to view runners is along the Black Range. The route crosses 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 hopefully 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. Some will be lying on the ground cramping or vomiting. 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.
The adventurous can take their mountain-bikes and ride back along the course all the way to the Cox's River (that's almost 20km one way!) The track is 4WD-able the whole way and so there should be enough room for runners and bikes (but don't plan to take a 4WD along there on race day!) - always please make sure you give runners lots of room, especially if they are in small groups. They may be fatigued and not know what the hell they are doing !! The smart and knowledgeable mountain-biker will actually park their car a few km back towards Katoomba at the junction of Caves Rd with Black Range Rd (a dirt road - where the course used to cross Caves Rd) as it is only a short cycle back to meet the course and you will miss all the very steep hills and its an easier pedal.
45km - The Finish
Spectating at the finish is easy. Just follow these instructions. 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!