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The Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge is planned for Sunday 26th March 2023 


Registrations are now open ( December 2022)


Please register early, numbers may be limited 

A full refund (less a small (10%) service charge) will be given to all registrants should the event have to be cancelled for any reason


 Description of the GVMC, 11 km race route 

The Great Volcanic Challenge is an iconic mountain trail run of medium length over three peaks and through beautiful forest. These notes are intended to give potential participants an idea of the race route and its challenges. The accompanying map can be used by those who might like to try the route or part of it before the race. On race day, the route is well marked with tapes and barriers. 

The race route starts about 300m along a track heading in a SW direction from the Pinnacle Picnic Ground. The first section of the route is fairly level, then climbs steadily to about the 1.5km point through pine forest where it reaches a saddle and a major track junction. Take the SW track which climbs fairly steeply until the 2.5 km stage. From here it undulates before it starts climbing again. Rounding a bend towards the 5km stage, there is a fine view of Mount Towac, the first volcanic peak of the race. At about 5.5 km there is another significant track intersection. The NW track enters the Mount Canobolas Conservation Area. After a downhill section on Towac Way, a fire trail heads west through a large iron gate. A drink station will be located here. After 300m, a small footpath to the south winds up to the summit of Mount Towac. The path is quite narrow and can get congested with runners ascending and descending this peak. The general convention is to keep to the left side of the track. On the top of Mt Towac, there are fine views of the surrounding countryside including Mount Macquarie to the SE, the Cadia Valley and gold mine to the south and Mount Canobolas to the north. 

The route then descends along the same path to Towac Way and the drink station. Turning left, the route then follows the road north for just over 1 km to a right turn into the Walls Picnic Ground, there is an aboriginal sacred site which is protected from traffic by large posts. The last drink station will be at this junction. After about 100m, turn north onto a nature trail that leads through some beautiful native forest. After about 900m, at a junction on a saddle, take the path to right, east, follow this to Young Man Canobolas, the second volcanic summit. The latter part of this trail, leading to the summit, is steep and rocky. From the summit, the track returns to the saddle. Continuing in a westerly direction on a well-marked trail follow signs towards the summit of Mount Canobolas. (This last section is steep and challenging, when you are tired.)

It is a challenging run/walk, hence the name but very satisfying. We hope you take up the challenge and join us on race day. 

NSW Mountain Running Championships

Athletics Australia has selected Orange for the 2023 National Mountain Running Championships. 

The course is challenging and most importantly, it is located in the western Region of NSW which encourage the coastal athletes to travel out and provides a local venue for all the distance runners.

We have seen over the years many Olympic & Commonwealth Games representative athletes come and challenge themselves to the high altitude and tougher uphill course in Orange as part of their endurance training.

As mountain running and trail running have limited venues this has been a long established well conducted event thanks to the Orange Rotary Club and Goldseekers Orienteering Clubs.

The championships is an opportunity for registered athletes  to compete in the National Mountain Running Championship and maybe to go on and compete overseas with the Australian Mountain Running team.

Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge Entries Including Registered Athletes eligible to participate in the National and NSW Mountain Running Championships

Entry Fees 

Individual Senior: over 18-years of age – early Bird $60, then $65 (after26th Feb2023)

Individual Junior: under 18-years of age – early Bird $30, then $35 (after 26th Feb 2023)

Entry Classes

Age categories are based on a participants age on the date of the event. 

  • Under 15-years of age
  • 15-19-years of age
  • 20-34-years of age
  • 35-39-years of age
  • 40-49-years of age
  • 50-59 years of age
  • 60-69-years of age
  • 70 -79- years  of  age
  • Over 80-years of age

Age categories relate to both male and female participants. 

National Junior Mountain Running Championship

Entry Fees 

Individual Junior: under 20-years of age = $35 (EB $30)

Entry restricted to Registered Junior Athletes who are eligible  to participate in the National and NSW Championship

Event Information


  • Online entries accepted up to 4 PM on Saturday 25 March 2023
  • Enter as an Individual only
  • Entry fees for the main race include shuttle bus return to Registration area at Towac Pinnacle Picnic Ground.
  • The buses operate until 12 noon

Race Packs

  • Race packs will not be posted to participants.
  • Race pack pick-up will be available at ‘Southcourt which is near the Orange Visitors Information Centre, on Saturday 25 March 2022 between 12:00PM to 4:00PM. Where possible please take advantage of the Saturday pick up to reduce the rush on race day morning
  • The packs, including Race No. bibs and any shirts ordered, will also be available at the Registration Area from 7:30 am on race day.

The Start

  • The Start times will be 9:00AM the fastest runners going first. Further staggering of the start may be necessary to meet any COVID restrictions current at the time
  • The objective  is to allow top runners to complete their descent of Mt Towac before slower contestants commence their ascent
  • With electronic timing  at the Start and Finish, there is no handicap in starting a little later.
  • With growing numbers in the event, safety, especially Covid19 safety becomes more important.
  • Please respect the special start procedures to assist with this goal.


  • There is no public transport to the Registration/Start area
  • Portaloo toilets will be available near the Registration area, please respect social distancing.  There will be toilets at the finish point of the race
  • A ‘Clothing Return’ will probably be available, a box will be placed near the Start and taken to the Finish area at the summit during the run (put your clothes in a garbage bag)
  • All finishers will receive a commemorative medallion, and a certificate citing their name, time and category placing will be available online.
  • Please note that dogs will not be permitted on the course or any associated area, e.g. Registration, Start and Finish areas.
  • What to wear?  That depends on your ability.  Trainers that fit firmly on the feet are important to deal with gravel roads and bush tracks. Consider sunscreen, hats, and water.
  • Pinnacle Physiotherapy who normally offer massage services before and after the event we hope will be available this year.

Food and Drink

  • Coffee van at Registration Area from 8am is planned
  • Water stations (3) along main course
  • Water available at the Finish


  • At the Registration/Start areas parking will be over three or four areas.  Please assist by following directions from the Parking Marshals to achieve maximum efficiency with the space available.
  • Spectators may not be able to park at the finish as space is extremely limited,

Getting There

  • The start is just 12km from the centre of Orange NSW. There are signs at all turns.
  • Approaching Orange from Bathurst, Cowra or Dubbo, follow the Great Volcanic Mountain
  • Challenge signs from the large roundabout, corner of Summer Street (Mitchell Hwy) and Woodward Road, Orange.
  • Head south on Woodward Rd for 1km, turn right into Racecourse Road, cross a railway bridge and continue south. The road becomes Pinnacle Road and winds its way to Towac Pinnacle Picnic Ground assembly area. (Coordinates: -33.3465, 149.0295)
  • Please take your time on this road, it is narrow with some tight turns.
  • Allow 30 minutes for travel from Orange, parking and walking to Registration Area.

Course maps

  • The main race starts near Towac Pinnacle Picnic Ground on Pinnacle Road, Orange and takes in spectacular views from the volcanic range, passing through changing vegetation on little used forest roads and bush tracks. The course is 11 km.The second half of the course takes in Mt Towac (1350m), some beautiful forest area then Young Man Canobolas (1330m) via bush tracks before ascending to the summit of Mt Canobolas, at 1397m, a climb of 520m and the finish point.
  • The Main Course on Google Maps
  • This is NOT a training map but could be useful for those wishing to get familiar with the course.


Medals will be presented to the three fastest female and male competitors for each age category at the presentation ceremony back at Pinnacle Reserve. In addition to the Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge, there will be special awards for the overall male and female winners of that race, the fastest female and male in the junior category (under 18-years of age) and to the oldest female and male competitors that complete the course within the race time of 150-minutes.


Race Packs: Orange Regional Museum 

Event Registration and Race Start: Pinnacle Picnic Area

Event Organisers

Event Sponsors

Charity Partner - PanCare