Best Melbourne Running Tracks by Good-Sport Magazine's Ben Clement
Ben Clement is the brilliant Melbourne-based creative director and photographer who publishes Good Sport — a semi-annual magazine dedicated to beautiful and original photography exploring the world of sports and athleticism, with contributions from photographers, athletes, and writers around the world. As a photographer, he also works with a really huge roster of clients, including Nike, Louis Vuitton, Acclaim Magazine, and Hypebeast. (Also, he shot one of our favourite culinary books of all time — Fat Brad, a cookbook that explores and provides recipes for the meal choices of all Brad Pitt’s best film characters.) In his spare time (how does he even have any) Ben runs, and as part of that he organises the AM:PM.RC running crew. We asked him to share his favourite Melbournian running areas.
1. Yarra Boulevard
This can be either a 5km or a 10km run depending on your preference, starting in Abbotsford by the Yarra River. Then you head up the hill — along the Yarra Boulevard — and you’re running along this road on the hillside that a lot of bikes go along, and you end up getting this pretty wild view of the city. You feel like you’re out of the city cause you’re surrounded by trees and can’t see houses. On the way back through you run through the Abbotsford Children’s Farm, where there’s horses and... Well, it’s a full farm! You get to cross a couple of bridges and it’s pretty epic. Do that first thing in the morning to get the best view and when it’s nice and quiet.
2. Royal Park in North Melbourne
Start at any point in North Melbourne, go along the Capital City Trail, which is under the big highway. It feels epic running under there. You head up to Royal Park, which is hands down the best park in Melbourne. It’s ginormous and empty, and you get a cool view of the city. No one goes there except for people walking their dogs, and it’s all native trees. That’s a really cool six or seven km run. This run is probably my favourite.
3. Princess Park
This is more of a dedicated running area around this huge park, and the compressed dirt path is kind of designed for people to do laps. Run the loop then cut down underneath the road and you can run around the zoo. Sometimes you can hear gorillas and monkeys! It’s pretty awesome. Don’t run with headphones or you won’t hear them.
4. The Tan
This one is similar to the Princess Park run. The Tan is Melbourne’s most famous running area. I think it’s called The Tan because it’s The BoTANical Gardens. But also the path is tan-coloured. It’s so close to the city and goes right around the Botanical Gardens, and a lot of people will just park their car at any point around it to run a loop. Sometimes running in loops gets boring, so I’d say run halfway around and then you can cut across the river and go around the MCG and then go over the historical area Birrarung Marr and you end up in Federation Square, and then cut back across the river and end up back at The Tan. It’s a cool track because you’re running in the city but you don’t really have to cross any major roads.
5. Choose Your Own Adventure
One end of the city to the other, starting in Federation Square and weaving through the city — you can pretty much zig-zag without going on any roads by sticking to the laneways and you’ll end up at the top of the city near Victoria Market. You have to figure it out because there’s multiple ways you can go. You’ve gotta be street smart, haha. It’s just a zig-zag through the city so you can choose your own adventure. Follow Ben's running adventures on Instagram.
Article written by Zac Bayly
Images supplied by Ben Clement