Home / Reports / Puffing Billy’s 29th Great Train Race 2010 – Melbourne, Australia

Puffing Billy’s 29th Great Train Race 2010 – Melbourne, Australia



Puffing Billy
Puffing Billy

And now a note from our foreign correspondents; great to hear from Alistair McDonald and Eilidh Grigg who took part in the Puffing Billy Race (against a train!). The annual Puffing Billy Great Train Race is Australia’s most unique and challenging fun run. Each year, around three thousand runners race against Puffing Billy to see if they can beat Australia’s favourite steam train. The unique course is 13.2 kilometres and sees competitors race through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park. Something a bit different from running around the Queen’s Park here! – Looks like great fun and they both improved their times from last year. Impressive times and placings – Eilidh even managed to beat her train!

The route profile - a bit humply!
The route profile – a bit humply!

The Puffing Billy Railway is a narrow gauge (2’6″) steam operated railway in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. It was restored by volunteers. Since July 1962 the Puffing Billy Preservation Society has kept this popular tourist train operating. Puffing Billy was opened in 1900 as a branch line service for the local farming and timber community. The Victorian Railways closed it in April 1954. Their last revenue train ran in August 1953. Details of the railway and the annual race can be found at Puffing Billy.

Ally said: “Hi, just to let you know I met up with Eilidh for this year’s Puffing Billy. We both both had good runs and smashed last years time. Eilidh represented the club wearing her ERN running T-shirt and managed to beat the second train (women’s target) by around ten minutes.

The first Puffing Billy was too quick for me, I guess Billy had been training, as it was only 4 minutes behind this year’s race winner. I enjoyed the race far more this year. Once the hill work is out of the way, the road winds around to the leafy town of Emerald. Then there is an inviting track for the last 2.5 Km, which everyone bombs all the way to the finish line.

Melissa and Isla watched the race from the second train. It was just a pity they were not on the first train, as it crossed over the top of me at the wooden bridge. We all had a fun packed day.”

The official times were:

Place (2729) Gender Pos Time Train Time
Alistair McDonald 399 368/1777 00:58:50 00:51:49
Eilidh Grigg 768 80/952 01:03:25 01:13:23

The website looks great, keep up the good work and I hope everyone is well back home.

Best Wishes,


Eilidh said: “I’ve attached some photos of Puffing Billy (spot Ali behind the Marshall!) and a few other randoms. You will see our greyhound ‘Mouse’ not looking too enthusiastic, and one of some of the folk from Malvern Athletics Club which I train with now.  The lassie on the right did the same time as Ali, and that was after having a serious bike accident at Christmas when her wheel got stuck in a tram track.  So with only being back to running for two months it was quite an impressive time I think!  I popped in some of Brendan making  a speech at his friends 30th last night with a ‘debonair’ theme, a biking trip to the You Yangs National Park and some views from the top of Mount Buffalo in North Eastish Victoria!  There used to be a mini ski slope up there but the Bushfires 2 years ago burnt the lodge and chair lift down and there isn’t enough snow anymore to justify rebuilding it.

Off to cook a roast dinner now, just what the doctor ordered for a few sore heads!


Some photos:

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