The Tan

Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne’s most popular running route: no visit to Victoria’s capital is complete without a walk or run around The Tan Track!

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What is The Tan?

The Tan Track, known colloquially as The Tan, is a 3.827km track that circumnavigates the gorgeous Royal Botanical Gardens, in Melbourne, Australia. It consists mostly of compacted gravel but does have a short bitumen footpath along Anderson Street, which is also where the relatively flat gradient inclines steeply to form the 30m ‘Heartbreak Hill’.

Constructed in the early 1900s The Tan was originally a tanbark horse-riding track. Depending on who you ask, this may be the origins of its name. Although some people believe it derives from the track’s close proximity to the BoTANical Gardens. And others; the tan colour of its gravel.

Today The Tan, being suitable for all athletic abilities, has grown into Melbourne’s most iconic running route, popular with locals and tourists alike.

Digital Clocks at The Tan

In 2011, two digital locks were gifted to the City of Melbourne by the Bennelong Foundation. Once installed, the clocks helped runners, joggers, and walkers monitor their lap times.

The clocks also record the official top 10 fastest laps for men and women. Elite athletes train hard to get their names up on The Tan Digital Clocks and their times inspire the public to take to the track themselves.

As part of its key focus, the Foundation wanted to encourage people to lead active and healthy lifestyles by stirring up a little fun competition at The Tan.

Run The Tan

Upon its creation in 2019 Run The Tan set up a central database of all the official times around The Tan. It also established a set of rules and regulations as to what is considered an official time around the track.

These procedures keep everyone informed of the top 10 and 100 times and showcase all official recorded run times around the track. They can be found on the Hall of Fame tab on the Run the Tan website.

Run The Tan’s Mission

There are several motivations driving the Run The Tan Mission. These include:

  • Promoting the City of Melbourne, The Tan Track, and raising awareness of some of the fantastic running groups in Melbourne – who are often training at the track.
  • Providing a ‘central source of truth’ for all the official run times and other interesting statistics concerning The Tan.
  • Celebrating the times achieved by Australian and international athletes and seeing how they compare to idols in other areas of sport.

Ultimately; “[promoting] a healthy and active lifestyle for all Australians and [raising] awareness of the positive impact that exercise has on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Run The Tan for Mental Health

As part of its mission Run The Tan hosts an iconic event at The Tan Track each year for mental health awareness.

Competitors seeking to enter the event and run The Tan Track complete fundraising for local charities supporting Australian mental health.

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What you need to know

The Tan
Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne Victoria 3141
-37.832024, 144.977859
Official Website
Tips before you visit