A wee drive out from Melbourne, but definitely worth the trip, is the Coastal Trail that runs down the Mornington Peninsula.
Many people walk along this trail, usually choosing to walk a section at a time. The trail officially starts at Cape Schank, and follows the coastline all the way to Point Nepean National Park, which ends up at almost 40km long. But this is also an ideal spot for trail running in Melbourne (only an hour out of the city), with some of the most epic coastal views you can get near town.
Visit the official Coastal Trail website for detailed information about each section of the trail. This is ideal for two or more people, as you will need to park one car at your final destination.
Note: you must love sand. A lot of the trail, such as between Gunnamatta Beach and Rye Ocean Beach, runs along the actual shoreline. These are not flat beaches by any stretch of the imagination, and you have to choose between either running on the harder wet sand which runs at a near 30-degree angle up from the water, or on the flatter soft sand, which will have your quads burning within ten minutes. Despite this challenge, nothing quite beats looking back and seeing Cape Schank lighthouse gradually shrink in the distance as you make your way south.
Capital City Trail - 29km
One of the longest trail runnings spots in Melbourne, the Capital City Trail is a combination of many of Melbourne’s best running tracks, all linked up to form an excellent (and challenging) 29km jaunt.
Most people tackle the Capital City Trail in sections, focusing on parts like the Yarra River, Moonee Ponds Creek, Merri Creek and Inner Circle Rail, to explore some of the unique neighbourhoods of Melbourne.
There’s no shortage of places to stop along the way for a break either. Abbotsford Convent is filled with great cafes to grab a drink or a bite to eat, and by the river has lots of lovely spots to sit down and stretch.
If you’re training for a marathon doing the entire trail is a must-do, plus you’ll get bragging rights with all your fellow Melbourne runners.
Cathedral Ranges - 11km/18.2km