Media Alert – Local News Editors – Health & Fitness – Tourism – Corporate Social Responsibility
The LUFT is about to lift off with the Great Lonnie Stomp!
Launceston Urban Fringe Trail – The LUFT – Approved by Launceston City Council
- The Launceston Urban Fringe Trail (LUFT) was recently approved by the Launceston City Council and will be rolled out under the guidance of the Infrastructure Services Directorate.
- The LUFT is a 102km completely connected urban trail around Greater Launceston
- Designed by Dr John Ralph founder of walking fitness company, Ascent Fitness
- Over 200 waymarking signs are currently being made by Rotary Men’s Sheds and will be placed around the circuit
- To celebrate the opening of the LUFT, Ascent Fitness is holding a community fundraising challenge – The Great Lonnie Stomp – from 5 April to 7 April, 2019.
- The Great Lonnie Stomp is a walking, running, and riding 49-hour challenge, where participants will raise funds for Guide Dogs Tasmania by completing as much as they can of the LUFT
- The further participants go, the more they will raise. Ascent Fitness will donate 20 cents per kilometre registered per person, plus 100% of any dog registration fees to Guide Dogs Tasmania.
Two years ago, the idea for the LUFT was born. Dr John Ralph, proprietor of Ascent Fitness, a Launceston-based training company specialising in walking fitness, saw tourism potential, plus a preventative health and social connectivity need, to develop a 100 kilometre pedestrian and cycling trail around the urban fringe of Launceston.
In early 2017 he approached the City of Launceston seeking Council approval to install small wayfinding signs along a 102 kilometre walking route that he devised using existing infrastructure in the Launceston, Meander Valley and West Tamar Council Areas. Each Council has been part of the process through their respective Recreation Planning Officers.
In March 2018, Dr Ralph gave the same presentation to the Northern Regional Sport and Recreation Committee (seven Northern Councils), which also unanimously supported the LUFT proposal. While the LUFT signs along the trail will be standard, individual municipalities may have their own default style of directional arrows.
In October 2018, Dr Ralph, along with Alderman Hugh McKenzie and Launceston City Council’s Recreation Planning Officer, Roger Faulkner, jointly-presented the LUFT proposal at the combined Northern Tasmanian Rotary Clubs dinner with the District Governor, Assistant District Governor and many local club members in attendance. The LUFT proposal was very well received and Rotary indicated support for the manufacture of the LUFT signs.
In January 2019, the Launceston City Councillors supported unanimously a Council internal proposal to waymark the LUFT.
On 7 February, 2019, Dr John Ralph from Ascent Fitness presented a community report to the City of Launceston Council Meeting on the Launceston Urban Fringe Trail (LUFT).
The initiative was approved by council and Mayor Albert Van Zetten said to John regarding the LUFT “…thank you for your passion and initiative” and of the Great Lonnie Stomp “…I hope the 6th to the 7th of April goes extremely well.”
What is the LUFT?
The LUFT stands for ‘Launceston Urban Fringe Trail’. It’s a 102 kilometre completely connected pedestrian and (mostly) cycling circuit through and around the Greater Launceston area, utilising existing infrastructure (mainly trails and urban footpaths).
It will be a permanent, signposted trail that will be accessible all year round. The route has been carefully planned to optimise access for all abilities and is, of course, free of charge.
The LUFT travels through three Council areas as follows:
– City of Launceston approx. 61km
– West Tamar Council approx. 21km
– Meander Valley Council approx. 20km
- Local runner, Lance Beament, holds the record for completing the LUFT non-stop the fastest in 15:29:41 (according to Strava)
- Four walkers from Ascent Fitness – Ian Hunter, Karen Lovell, Tracey Orr and John Ralph – hold the record for walking the LUFT non-stop in 22:48:22 (according to Strava)
- The course has over 1,600 metres of elevation. That’s equivalent to walking 102km and also walking up Tasmania’s highest peak – Mt Ossa from sea level!
- The highest point on the LUFT, 223m above sea level, is on the Powerline Track in the Trevallyn State Nature Reserve.
- The highest urban point on the LUFT, 220m above sea level, is in Zenith Court, Blackstone Heights
- Most Easterly point: 147°12’34.063 E Glenwood Road, Relbia
- Most Northerly point: 41°22’39.426 S Tallentire Road, Rocherlea
- Most Southerly point: 41°30’20.613 S Relbia Road, Relbia
- Most Westerly point: 147°3’1.71 E Ecclestone Road, Riverside West
Maps & Signage
The LUFT symbol is in a similar, plain style to the Australian Epic Alpine Trail at Mount Buller, Victoria and the colour scheme is from the famous ‘Great Glen Way’ in Scotland.
In addition to hardcopy and pdf maps available via the Ascent Fitness website, Ascent Fitness has also developed a digital map of the LUFT that can be viewed by GPX map-reading apps. The digital map is very easy to use and instantly tells people their location, which allows the user to navigate the LUFT.
The City of Launceston have approved the use of existing infrastructure such as fence posts, light poles and street signs to hold the signs.
Local Men’s and Community Sheds will be producing the signs. It is anticipated that around 200 signs will be required along the 102 kilometre trail.
Future Plans – Hobart & Other City Walks
Dr John Ralph is considering developing more urban fringe trails around other Tasmanian cities, such as Hobart, Devonport, Burnie and later interstate and overseas.
”Everyone is talking about creating “smart, tech-connected cities”. I’d like to see cities that are connected, not just in a digital way, but also connected by walking trails, with as many healthy, active people as possible out exploring and enjoying cities in real life.” Dr John Ralph, Ascent Fitness
The Inaugural ‘Great Lonnie Stomp’ 5-7 April 2019
To experience the LUFT firsthand, Ascent Fitness has organised the inaugural Great Lonnie Stomp, an ultramarathon walk from midnight on 5 April to midnight 7 April 2019.
Within the 49-hour fundraising period there is no set starting point or time. Participants can start anytime over the weekend and from anywhere on the LUFT they wish. They can also start and stop as often as they like. Registered participants need to record and report how much of the LUFT they covered to add to the fundraising pool. Ascent Fitness is aiming to raise $10,000 for Guide Dogs Tasmania.
‘If 1,000 people register and walk 50 kilometres each, $10,000 will be raised for Guide Dogs Tasmania.’ Dr John Ralph, Ascent Fitness
Guide Dogs Tasmania will receive 20 cents per registered kilometre per person, plus 100% of any dog registration fees.
The dog registration fee is a flat rate so that dogs are not overwalked. Mowbray Veterinary Clinic will also be on call the entire 49 hours to assist any dogs registered in the Great Lonnie Stomp who might need assistance while out on the LUFT during the challenge.
The cost of registration is $70 per person and dogs are $10 each. Runners, walkers, cyclists, corporate teams, individuals, families, companion card holders, guides, and carers are all welcome.
The LUFT is a walking trail that everyone in Launceston can enjoy and share, and the Great Lonnie Stomp will celebrate the whole of Launceston.
Let’s get walking Launceston! How far can you go?
Great Lonnie Stomp: https://ascentfitness.com.au/fitness-challenges/great-lonnie-stomp/
Dr John Ralph, Ascent Fitness: 0409 412 590
Anne Lee-Archer, 8VA Marketing: 0418 353 327