The “AURA Ultra Performance Of The Year Award” is now open for voting by AURA Members. Nominations were received from 1st to 7th of February, and these were shortlisted to the top five nominations as judged by the AURA Committee. The “AURA Ultra Performance Of The Year Award” will be announced on Wednesday 17 February. Voting will close at 11:59pm Tuesday 16 February.
All 5 choices must be made for the form to be valid and submit.
Nomination 1: Annabel Hepworth, Across the Years 10 day performance 2019/2020
Nomination: Annabel Hepworth for her win at the 2019/2020 across the years 10 day race in Arizona USA. This was an amazing performance from an Australian who not only became the 1st female finisher for the race but also was able to win the event outright with her total distance of 1192.156km
Along the way Annabel was able to achieve some amazing milestones at this event with joining the 1000km club. She also achieved during the race a 6 day split of 471.459miles (758km) which was a PR for Annabel and which gave her the best distance over a 6 day distance for the year.
A fantastic achievement and a great ambassador to the sport of multi-day racing for the Australian ultra community.
Nomination 2: Chris Murphy, Big Dog International Last One Standing performance
Nomination: In a year that was turned upside down for most, Chris’s performance at Big’s International in October stood out for so many reasons.
Just two months earlier, Chris was in the last three at the same venue for the Clint Eastwood, pulling out after a freak injury while looking fresh after 27 hours. The challenge to go longer was even greater at Big’s International with a much smaller field that consisted only of the selected Australian team (18).
With Ryan Crawford having to pull out at 30 hours, after a huge few months leading in (including winning at the Clint Eastwood), it didn’t seem that it could go much longer with only Chris and the irrepressible Barry Loveday remaining. What we witnessed for the following 16 hours was nothing short of incredible. Barry was clearly in deteriorating shape but hour after hour, he got out of his chair to facilitate Chris’ continuing. Barry’s part in this, given the LOS format, cannot be overstated. But the camaraderie Chris showed toward Barry throughout this time was admirable and certainly helped Barry immensely, while also maintaining his own condition and form.
The end result, as we know, was that Chris managed to finish the last lap when Barry was finally spent and was timed out. He broke the Australian record of 41 hours (set at The Clint Eastwood in 2019), setting a new mark of 46 hours/laps.
While the numbers are impressive and the format very different from most events, it was the manner in which Chris conducted himself through the last third of the event that stood out. His empathy and concern for Barry, while drawing the very best out himself, was humbling to watch and a credit to Chris’ integrity as well as his ability.
Nomination 3: Michael Hooker, Birdy’s Backyard Ultra performance
Nomination: Michael not only completed a whopping 40 laps (40 hours) of the 6.71k loop, but his average loop time of under 34 minutes over those 40 laps is undeniably the best consistent average over 24 hours on the Backyard Ultra circuit anywhere in the world. His efforts were absolutely world-class.
Nomination 4: Stephanie Auston, Australian Women’s Open record at Gold Coast 50km
Nomination: Australian Representative and previous 6ft Track Marathon winner has shown once again that she is a demon on both mountainous races trail as well as the fast flat stuff. Nailing the GC50 to secure the win as well as the female Australian 50km record in a blistering 3:17:26, placing 3rd overall.
Nomination 5: Stephen Redfern, Hong Kong 4 Trails performance
Nomination: The Hong Kong 4 Trails Ultra Challenge is a 298km ultra across Hong Kong’s 4 long trails with an accumulative elevation of 14,500m. Taking place over Chinese New Year, athletes race the clock to starting at 9am on the first day of CNY to finish before 9pm and #Breaking60 hours.
The 2020 edition was the most competitive yet with a total of 7 finishers under 60 hours and 5 survivors under 72 hours out of the 33 competitors. Stephen Redfern completed the event in 54hours 46mins, the fastest known non Hong Kong runner to finish the event.
Stephen brings a terrific attitude and an infectious passion and love to the sport. He completed this event using his ever-evolving mindset and strong will to be the best he can be!
I believe this event plus all the other runs such as his Garage Ultra, FKTs and more that Stephen completed in 2020 during a tough year, make him a very worthy contender.