The Berowra Bushrunners was formed in 1987 by Dave McMahon, Paul Gunning and Bob McCreath and has continued with an active membership of around forty. Initially the group was an informal one until in 1990 the decision was made to join the R.S.L. as a sub-club.
In 1990 the Bushrunners applied for and were accepted as a sub-club of this Berowra R.S.L. Bowling & Community Club (Club Berowra). Berowra Bushrunners continued as a sub-club until 2011 when, due to a combination of factors, agreement was reached with the Berowra RSL Club for the Berowra Bushrunners to become a separate independent club again.
In May 2011 the Berowra Bushrunners constitution was amended and it was converted back to an independent club.
Throughout the Berowra Bushrunners club’s history it has operated at an unsophisticated level with the emphasis placed on enjoying an early Sunday morning run together. It has led to lasting friendships and members have inspired each other to improve their fitness and take on challenges that they would never have attained without the support of fellow club members.
Running in Berowra
Berowra is blessed with one of the best locations for running in all of Sydney. And, yes, despite the “welcome to Sydney” sign at the base of the big dipper on the F3, Berowra is actually part of Sydney.
A suburb totally surrounded by bush, Berowra has a variety of beautiful trails which make for perfect running. Whether it’s north to Cowan, south to Mt Kuring-gai, east to Waratah Bay or west to Berowra Waters, there is a bush track within easy reach. And of course, the regular staple being the fire trails surrounding Berowra that formed part of the Bush Bash fun run. Even a complete lap of the fire trails yields a total run of 18km around the suburb (including Berowra Heights).
The club is not limited just to Berowra locals. Many of the regular runners have come from other parts of Sydney and the Central Coast.
Every Sunday morning at 7:15 am (originally was at 7:30 am) at Warrina Street Oval will be a group of bushrunners ready for one of these runs, rain, hail or shine.
Apart from the regular training runs around the bush tracks that surround Berowra, a feature of the club for many years has been the handicap. The monthly handicap races, run over the same 10km course through the streets of Berowra have been a great way for members to track their fitness levels over time. The annual handicap trophy has been fiercely competitive, with much work done by the handicapper to fairly work out a handicap time.
Past handicap winners can be found in the archives page.
Starting at Warrina St, the “traditional” handicap proceeds up Balaclava Rd hill. Turnaround points at the end of Turner Rd and Wideview Rd mean that runners can often see the backmarkers making their way through the field. If you look closely you can still see km markings by the side of the course, as follows:
1km Koolona St, near no. 60
2km Boundary Rd
3km Berowra Waters Rd, in front of old Berowra Police Station
4km Turner Rd
5km Turner Rd
6km Turner Rd, near Woombye Cres
7km Alan Rd
8km Wideview Rd
9km Wideview Rd, opposite Wideview Public School
10km Warrina St corner
The “reverse” handicap is just the same course, but in the opposite direction (up Woodcourt Rd and down Balaclava Rd hill).
In the halcyon days of the 1990s, apparently 50 people would regularly attend the handicaps – or, maybe, that is just early stage Alzheimer’s playing tricks on the minds. Either way, the handicap is a great way to see how you are running each month, and is always the most popular run on the calendar. Way back in 1996, Bob Smith, bushrunner and sometimes poet penned his “Ode to the Handicap”.
For a number of years the Bushrunners hosted an annual fun run in Berowra, the “Berowra Bush Bash”.
Beginning in 1984 the Rotary Club held an annual Rota Run as a fundraiser, with a 10km and a 3km course through the streets of Berowra which finished at the Tavern. From 1997, Bushrunners took over with a new event. Billed as the “toughest 10k in Sydney”, it certainly lived up to its reputation. With both the start and finish at the Bowling Club, the course weaved its way through the back streets of Berowra before entering the fire trail at Ti Tree Crescent. Along the 5km of fire trails each hill was bigger than the last one. Runners came from far and wide to do this run, and they found out exactly how tough it was when they exited the fire trail and came face to face with the Berkeley Close hill – just what they didn’t want at the 8km mark.
There was also a 3km kids run as part of the event, which was popular with the local schools. From small beginnings the race grew to become one of the must-do runs on the Sydney calendar. At its peak, the Bush Bash attracted over 500 entrants including some elite runners. The event was also well supported by local businesses. After the race there were prize giveaways, which often lasted longer than the race itself.
The Bush Bash was last held in September 2001, and was cancelled due to the increasing cost of staging such events. At around that time, many local fun runs ceased for similar reasons. But where else can you get a fun run combining both road and trails, a top quality field, a free T-shirt and the chance of winning a holiday in the prize draw, all for a $20 entry fee?
For a list of past winners, and links to results on Cool Runnings, click here.
The Berowra Bush Runners have had a long history of supporting events such as the Oxfam Trailwalker, entering in most years and being successful in winning in 2004 and 2009, as well as first past the line in 2008. The 2009 team was the first time in the event’s history that a female was part of the first placed team.
Not that the trailwalker is a race, but it certainly helps that it is held in part of our backyard. Whether it is the southbound course starting at Brooklyn or another variation, the Bushrunners should not have any excuses for getting lost in parts of the course that we run each week.
The club has also been well represented in the Six Foot Track with, for a relatively small club, a high proportion of members competing. For a club of its size, the Berowra Bushrunners has punched well above its weight in these events in terms of results.
A number of social occasions have been organised throughout the year to highlight important events and seasons, including the annual Presentation BBQ / Xmas Party held the first Sunday afternoon in December.
Check out the photo gallery for some evidence of these events.
T-shirts & Track Suits
Always keeping up with the latest running fashion, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms, the Bushrunners have had a number of distinctive T-shirts and singlet available over the years. The Bushrunners logo was originally designed by local caricaturist Mick Joffe, as was the design for some of the “Berowra Bush Bash” T-shirts.
Past presidents / club co-ordinators of the Berowra Bushrunners have been:
1987 – 91 Paul Gunning
1992 – 94 Bruce Beesley
1995 – 96 Chris O’Neill
1996 – 98 Danny McCaffrey
1998 – 2000 Mark Sleeman
2001 – ?? ??
2002 – 03 Phil Stacey
2004 – 06 Katrina Gorton
2007 – 11 Noel Annett
2011 – 13 Brian Cardelli
2014 – Andrew Layson
2015 Gavin Markey