Mama loves a good run and with so many great fun runs coming up what a great time to rug up and start training and exploring some different locations around our beautiful city.

Here are Mama’s top picks around town.

1. The Tan.

Probably the city’s most popular and well known running track, The Tan consists of a lap of the Botanic Gardens and Kings’ Domain. You’ll catch glimpses of the city, jog past The Shrine of Remembrance and journey along the beautiful tree lined Alexandra Avenue alongside the Yarra River. The track is made from compacted granitic sand, so a little softer under foot than paved footpaths. Most people run this track clockwise, but beware of the Anderson Street Hill. If you can run to the top of that baby without stopping you’re doing amazingly well!

Distance: 3.82km per lap

2. Albert Park Lake.

The perfect run for some swan spotting (or pretending you’re an F1 car on foot!). Albert Park is a flat surface wrapped around the famed Albert Park Lake. There are 500m signs dotted around the track which makes it easy to know how far you’ve run and how long till you can stop! Perfectly picturesque, the lake makes a stunning backdrop for a run with the towering buildings of Queens Road and the city looming in the distance, although it can get a little windy at times.

Distance: 4.69km per lap

3. Bayside/Port Phillip bike track.

Always mama’s go-to, there are so many options along the beach running/cycling tracks, and lots of sneaky spots to grab a coffee along the way! Pick a spot and just start running. I like to start at the bottom of North Road, Brighton (handy parking) and head to Point Ormond, Elwood, such a treat to take in the view from the top shown below (4km return) or take it a little further along to St Kilda Pier (10km return). Further down in Port Melbourne you can take in the sights of a cruise liner or two a the docks or the kite surfers at St Kilda. The possibilities are endless. You can run as far as you like, just remember you need turn round and go back again, so factor this into your plans.

Distance: Varied

4. Yarra Bend Park and Abbotsford Covent.

The twists and turns of the Yarra River are certainly highlights on this track but the stand out for me is the beautiful peaked roofs and decorative windows of the historic Abbotsford Convent where we start (and finish off with a yummy lunch!). Following the Main Yarra Trail the running track winds along Merri Creek before crossing then looping around and back along the Yarra River. Leafy trails and the occasional views of the Melbourne skyline make this longer run a stunner. Meet hubby and the kids afterwards and pop into the Collingwood Children’s Farm to make it a family affair.

Distance: 11km approx.

5. Princes Park.

We love a nice flat track and Princes Park, just north of the city, certainly fits the bill. A great beginner track, it’s super flat, easy to get to and it’s not too long. It’s well lit if jogging after hours is your thing and there are 500m makers along the route so you can mark your progress as you go. Try and race the trams heading along Royal Parade before heading up and around Melbourne Uni (we turn off at Tin Alley) before looping around along the cemetery.
Up your kms with a double lap if you fancy.

Distance: 3.2km per lap

6. Solar system trail – Port Phillip

The Solar System Trail from St Kilda Beach to Sandridge Beach, Port Melbourne combines both art and exercise with sculptures of the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and our old friend Pluto, scaled down to the length of this seaside path. The accurately distanced markers keep you inspired as you try to reach the next one.  Step it up a notch and get in some sand running around the Middle Park area without even missing a planet!

Distance: 10km one way

7. The Dandenongs.

It doesn’t get much more picturesque than The Dandenongs, but it you don’t like hills, this might not be your spot. There are a number of runs to chose from including the infamous Kokoda Memorial Walk best known as the 1000 Steps (which let’s be honest you are more likely to walk than run!). This 1.4 km flight of stairs is a testament to the tenacity of Australian soldiers who trekked the Kokoda Trail in World War II. Your calf muscles will be screaming, but the views will make you forget pretty soon. The foothills of the Dandenong Ranges also have a wide variety of scenic trails — take your pick! Mama loves the 4.8 km Sherbrooke Trail.

Distance: Varied

8. Maribyrnong River Loop.

The Yarra isn’t the only river in Melbourne worth following. The Maribyrnong River is bordered by a lovely paved shared use path which is separated from the water by nothing but a row of trees. Clyde Street and Raleigh Road is a great place to start out — allowing you to explore first the west, then the east bank of the river before returning on a set of footbridges. This route encompasses the Maribyrnong Reserve, Aberfeldie Park, Fairburn Park, and Pipemakers Park, but the highlight is the stretch of path known as “The Boulevard” along the east side.

Distance: 6.8km

Great up-coming fun runs to get involved in:

The Bloody Long Walk: August 26
YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run: September 2
Sandy Half Point: September 9
Connor’s Run: September 16
Melbourne Marathon: October 14
Carmen’s Woman’s Fun Run: December 2

Find more local health & fitness here!