So what’s been happening across the country with ultra running, in particular within the AURA community for 2022? We’ve got the yearly wrap-ups from some of our state representatives to keep you in the know.
The 2022 Tasmanian ultra runner calendar ticked along seemingly unaffected.
The first weekend in February saw the annual running of Australia’s equal oldest trail ultra, the ever favourite Cradle Mountain Run. Selling out in just under 3 minutes it’s always a hotly sought after ticket. On the day the event was hotly contested, unlike the conditions which where cool and damp.
The March long weekend hosted, in its 6th year of racing, Gone Nuts 101 Adventure Run on the North West Coast starting in Stanley and finishing in Wynyard. Over 700 runners took to the start lines of either the 101k, 75k and 50k ultra distance events (and many in teams and the 25k run) for what was a perfect day to be out!
May 2 welcomed runners for the second edition of Run Narawntapu. This very special event offering a 50k ultra, 25k and 12k event, follows the trail along the stunning Narawantpu National Park coast land in the state’s north. With an event cap of 200 total this is a unique experience only to be enjoyed by a few each year.
In April we were invited to run with kunanyi at the stunning kunanyi Mountain Run. This new event was straight off the bat equal to any on the calendar in Australia. Competitors had a 67km, 27km and vertical kilometre on offer with what was a very Tasmanian trail running experience, to quote one competitor “You didn’t tell us Victorians how brutal the climbs were!” With kMR just being announced as the national short course championships for 2023 this will be one sought after ticket.
In September the North East put together once again the very popular Rail Trail Run and Ride in Scottsdale with a 52k and shorter distances on offer. This is a perfect event for fast times and those who love to snap a few scenic pics as the terrain is groomed gravel and never gets over 4% gradient.
October saw Tassie Trail Fest in Launceston’s beautiful Cataract Gorge hosting the 100mile and 100k event in the technical Trevallyn Reserve and Cataract Gorge for a lapped trail course. So brutal is the course that it’s hard to believe you’re merely a 15 minute walk from the CBD in Tassie’s second largest city.
Finishing the year for Tassie on December 3 was the Bruny Island Ultra 64k road run. The race sees competitors traverse the length of Bruny Island, from Dennes Point in the North to the iconic Bruny Lighthouse finish with a rude climb up stairs to touch the lighthouse door affirming your accomplishment.
A great year for ultra distance running in Tasmania with some very happy runners! We are all looking forward to 2023.
Trail and track ultra running absolutely boomed in the ACT this year with six superb AURA events conducted that either showcased the beauty of Canberra’s trails or highlighted the first-class track racing available at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
March 2022 was a busy month, starting with the Stromlo Running Festival 50K trail race, which had been postponed from November 2021’s COVID cancellation. This race takes runners on a scenic loop through the National Arboretum before bringing them back to some challenging climbs and descents around Mt Stromlo. The top 3 males (out of 178 male finishers) were Mike Carroll (ACT, 3h41min), Vlad Shatrov (NSW, 4h1 min) and Joseph Hughes (ACT, 4h3min). Juliette Soule came down from Sydney to convincingly win the women’s race (4h4min), with Emma Grey (NSW, 4h59min) and Roisin Armstrong (ACT, 5h15min) rounding out the podium (total of 62 finishers).
Later in March saw the staging of the Sri Chinmoy 48 Hour Track Festival, which not only included the 2022 AURA 48H Australian Championships (IAU Silver Label), but also had 6 Hour, 12 Hour and 24 Hour events as well (IAU Bronze Label). There were many AURA member participants (including Committee members) across the events that ran huge distances and personal bests. The standard of the blue ribbon 48 Hour race was once again world-class, with Matthew Griggs (ACT, 380.863K), Kevin Muller (QLD, 370.822K, new M50 Australian record) and Ingo Ernst (ACT, 304K) leading the Men while Allicia Heron (ACT, 329.392K, new W35 Australian record), Annabel Hepworth (NSW, 290.335K) and Kris Ryan (QLD, 235.629K) the top 3 in the Women’s field. It was also great to see some fine performances by younger AURA members, including a new W20 Australian 50-mile record of 8:09:12 set by Chloe Skewes-Weir during the 12 Hour race.
April saw the second running of the popular GUMBY Last One Standing and GUMBaby (8 laps; 53.6K) events, hosted by the Ultra Mediocre Runners Of Canberra (UMROC), and held on a beautiful, but challenging course at Blue Range Hut in the ACT’s Brindabella mountains. Canberra’s Ben Grimshaw was super consistent to take out the GUMBY (32 laps) with Brad Carron-Arthur providing a strong assist, and Eleanor Boxall (24 laps, 100 miles) topping the ladder for the women. In the GUMBaby event, while Ellen Bradley had the lowest cumulative set of lap times over 8 laps, the winners (decided by the last lap only) were Rowan Lewis (27min12s) and Georgina Beech (31min58s).
Race director and AURA VP Matthew Eckford has created the Australian 24 Hour Invitational Track Race as an elite level event for record setting and as an ideal qualifier for the Australian 24 Hour team. After last year’s COVID cancellation it was great to see this race held again this year in June at the first-class AIS athletics track. In the Invitational race, WA’s Phil Gore won the Men’s race with a stunning 250.762K from John Yoon (VIC; 240.042K) and Luke Thompson (ACT, 226.835K), with Mark Avery (NSW, 222.012) and Barry Keem (202.191K) also breaking 200K. Bernadette Benson (WA) won the Women’s Invitational race, with Chris Wilder (ACT) and Christy Lambert (VIC) winning the separate M and F Open races. QLD’s Greg Wilson set an incredible six Australian M70 records in the Open race including 50 mile, 100K, 100 mile, 6H, 12H and 24H!
September saw the 9th annual Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100 race conducted in perfect weather (unusual for 2022!). This is a challenging, urban 100K loop for both solo and relay runners which immerses participants in the scenic hills, nature parks and open spaces of the Bush Capital. The Men’s podium was made up of Dean Robinson (NSW, 9h55), James Quaife (ACT, 10h31) and Joseph Hughes (ACT 11h11) while the Women’s top three in a very closely contested race were Joelle Vandenborre (ACT, 11h49), Lindsay Hamilton (ACT, 11h57), and Allicia Heron (ACT, 12h02). Special mention must be made for the efforts of Pam Muston (NSW, 13h26; 4th place female overall, 9th finish, new F60-69 record) and to our talented running politician (Federal Member for Fenner and Assistant Finance Minister) Dr Andrew Leigh (11h55).
The final AURA event in the ACT for 2022 was a second time running of the Stromlo Running Festival 50K for this year, as it returned to its usual November slot in the calendar. The Women’s race was close, with Amelia Kerr (ACT) hanging on to win in 4:46:02 from Cecily Reid (ACT, 4:46:59) and Jordan Maki-Richards (NSW, 4:49:02). A joyous Matthew Robbie (ACT, 3:50:16) returned to peak form with a win in the Men’s event, followed by a fast-finishing Michael Daly (ACT, 3:54:45) and Christopher Bradley (4:13:46).
Thank you for the hard work, passion and perseverance shown by the Race Directors and helpers at all of these fine events. It just wouldn’t happen without you. Looking forward to an even better 2023 in the ACT!
It was great getting back into racing and have all our much loved events return.
Queensland had 14 AURA-listed ultra events and some impressive results to show. We also held 2 of the Australian Championships – the 100mile Championships held at the Glasshouse 100 and the 50km Championships held at the GC50.
1st Noelis Rheault 18:41:25 & Hannah McRae 25:43:28
2nd Ryan Crawford 20:54:35 & Eliza Brewer 26:22:07
3rd Kevin Muller 23:42:58 & Jalna Clair 27:25:49
Gold Coast 50:
Ben Maccronan 3:01:55 & Rivne Ringi 3:23:15
Wayne Spies 3:02:03 & Kristin Bill 3:34:59
Thomas Brimelow 3:11:59 & Nicola Bowker 3:38:14
We also had 3 Queenslanders represent Australia in the 24hr & 100km.
Asian Oceanic 24hr Championships, India:
100km World Championships, Germany:
Clay Dawson & Corina Black
We will also welcome back the 100mile Australian Championships to be held at the BVRT in June (50km Champs TBC). I want to thank the following events for putting on these events that we much love year after year and also to the new events popping up. Ultra running in Australia has become a lot more popular over the past few years and I hope runners find the amazing culture and love for the sport that we all share.
Hares & Hounds, Noosa Ultra Trail, Cairns 50 Ultra, Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra, BUTTER 24, Western Branch Ultra, Brisbane Trail Ultra, 3 Marathons in 3 Days, Kuranda to Port Douglas Ultra, Cairns Port Douglas Trail Ultra, Glasshouse 100 (Aust. 100 mile Championships), Old Mates Backyard Ultra, White Rock Trail Festival and the GC50 (Australian 50km Championships).
And finally to all the ultra runners out there, congratulations! You all rock. You make these events what they are. I can’t wait to see what you bring to 2023. Happy running!
The ultra running community in WA is alive and kicking and has finished off another amazing year!
Some very notable and memorable wins this year include Margie Hadley’s Women’s Record and Phil Gore’s win (again) – just phenomenal achievements by two incredible people.
We are almost spoilt for choice here in the West with USWA events including Delirious West, Kep Ultra, Yaberoo, Herdy’s and Birdy’s, and Light Horse Ultra (one of my favourite events) and doing it in my army unform this year was such a privilege.
Other great events included David Kennedy’s Lark Hill and the punishing but so rewarding WTF. Sadly, WTF was held for the last time this year. Transcend Trails had its second outing and looks to become part of the regular ultra running program and there’s the magnificent Margaret River Ultra which always has a great level of participation along with the ever-popular Australia Day Ultra. The absolutely worst thing that happens over here is two magnificent events scheduled on the same day – awful!
I have to give a shout out to the USWA Great Trail Relay because my team, Trail Tortoises, came in last with only 27 seconds to spare and we were awarded our very special DFL trophy.
Then there’s Feral Pig….which gets its own special mention as yours truly fell over in front of the Mt Dale Aid station and broke her wrist. Anyhoo, my redemption run is booked for 2023!
Some great runs for 2023 include the usual suspects plus the Delirious WEST 100 Miler which proved so popular in 2021.
One of the things that I love so much about the ultra running community in WA is the camaraderie – I sometimes only see folk once or twice a year at running events but it’s always with a big hug and welcome greeting! The other aspect that means so much to me as a tortle runner, is that the slowest runners are just as welcome as the fastest. I love chatting to the sweeps because I’m usually at the back or near the back and this acceptance of everyone is brilliant. No one is excluded and as long as you give it your best, that is good enough.
I’d also like to give a huge thank you to all of the vollies at all of these events – these events cannot operate without the selflessness of volunteers who do so much behind the scenes leading up to event day as well as the small (and sometimes large) army of volunteers on event day – beautiful folk who man aid stations, put out flagging tape, sweep, check in, medal presentation, medal-makers, pack-away-ers and occasional rescuers (ahem, thank you Jennifer Young for driving at the speed of [safe] sound to get me to hospital after falling on Feral). I hope you all know how grateful runners are for what you do.
I wish everyone a very happy Festive Season, I hope Santa fills your sacks with great trail shoes, hydration packs, head torches and event entries! Stay safe and see you on the trails in 2023.
With races being significantly impacted by lockdowns and other Covid measures over the last couple of years, it was great to see the return of many events…so numerous that you could have raced a couple of times every weekend!
The year started once again with Two Bays Trail Run, always a sunny and warm start to racing. Other races followed…Hut to Hut, the Coburg 24 hour, and Down Under 135. All tough races in their own rights. The Great Ocean Road 60k event is a great race for the road running ultra runners amongst us.
Winter is always quiet in Vic due to the generally cold and miserable weather, but August saw the Wonderland Run in the Grampians, the Bright Running Festival, then races like Surf Coast Century, Marysville Marathon, and GSER (the Great Southern Endurance Run), as well as numerous last one standing events throughout the year.
GSER was once again dealt difficult weather, but that is part of what makes this event such an awesome challenge. The organisers have been keenly advocating for increasing the numbers of women in ultras, implementing the innovative idea of providing women with sanitary products at aid stations. This is definitely something long overdue and of immense relief to the female runners out there!
In regards to the AURA Vic State Reps, Nikki Wynd represented Australia in India at the World 24 hour Championships, as well as racing in the prestigious Coast to Kosci and finishing final female at the Clint Eastwood LOS event.
I flew to the US with a plethora of Covid rules and regulations to race at Barkley’s, which was, unsurprisingly, bloody hard. After running many races throughout the year for fun, Isobel tried her hand at running the roads, completing Coast to Kosci. She has a newfound respect for road ultra runners, and a burning desire to hit the trails again!
All Victorian runners are looking forward to the possibility of having a summer and enjoying the trails and roads even more!
The year 2022 brought with it hopes and tantalising promises unfulfilled from years past. Though SA had managed to get through many of the COVID-induced difficulties fairly unscathed and had continued the majority of its events post-2021 lockdown, 2022 brought with it a fresh promise – one of state border openings and increasing enthusiasm in event atmospheres due to the returned presence of our interstate ultra friends.
Boy, did we have our pick of events to chooses from! SA seems intent on making a name for itself as the ultra marathon capital in Australia. We might not have earned that title, but we’re certainly coming close! One of the event providers – Ultra Series SA – is focused almost exclusively on ultra marathons. Ultra Series SA provided us with a new country-to-city ultra, a 200 mile race, a 500km stage race, and the Australian Long Course Trail Championships.
The first event from Ultra Series SA this year was its continuing Irrational South (in its second year), which offered a 200 mile race – the first of its kind in SA and the last link in the Ultra Series 200 mile Triple Crown. Next year, the race’s location will change to the more breathtaking (but, oh so arduous) Flinders Ranges – and have a 100 mile option. Ultra Series SA’s next ultra was its debuting country-to city ultra, Ultra Adelaide, which started out along the Heysen Trail, followed past not one, not two, but three difficult mountains/hills, and ended in the heart of the CBD. Ultra Series SA also offered both a frontyard and backyard ultra (No Time to Die Frontyard Ultra and Hysterical Carnage Backyard Ultra), with the winner of the frontyard completing 221.298 km – and the winner of the backyard ultra none other than ‘mother nature’, who decided to create so much rain and thunder as to pose a safety hazard for the event continue. The Hysterical Carnage 2022 will go down in history as an event so great that even Mother Nature couldn’t resist getting in on the action! Between the two back/frontyard ultras was another landmark Ultra Series SA ultra. In fact, the event (Sink or Survive) was a landmark in the southern hemisphere, earning its status as the longest stage race on this half of the globe – a whooping 500km along the Walk the Yorke trail in the Yorke Peninsula. Ultra Series SA had another event go down in history – Australian history, that is – with Heysen 105 (offering a maximum distance of 115km), an event which secured its place in 2022 AURA history as the Long Course Trail Championships.
Other iconic events happened in SA in 2022, as well. The two main iconic ones were the Adelaide 6 Day and the Adelaide 24 Hour Festival (also known as the Adelaide 6/12/24). The Adelaide 6 Day race was on its rumoured-to-be last year in 2022. With unprecedented winds knocking over every marquee in its path on days 2-3, there were certainly some doubts the weather would even let it continue until the final day. However, fate (and the hardened spirits of ultra runners) prevailed and the event not only reached its 2022 completion, but, a new organiser (Justin Brock) has taken up the challenge of its continued existence for 2023 and beyond.
Another iconic SA event which happened in 2022 was also a traditional event whose baton was taken up by a new organiser (Dawn Parks, one of AURA’s very own state reps), with all reports suggesting the event takeover went along smoothly – too many pleased participants. And, as for iconic events… what could be more iconic in SA than Yurrebilla? Happening for more years than most SA runners can recall, Yurrebilla is certainly part of the SA running scene – and, this year, its ultra runners earned AURA points! With five different peaks and even a tunnel, Yurrebilla is known in SA as one tough race.
Other AURA-listed ultras in SA included the Sun Run, the City Run, and the Barossa Run – 3 ‘GoodRunnings’ events aimed at enabling runners to have affordable options to test out their long-distance abilities.
The SA 2022 ultra calendar isn’t complete, though. There’s still one more event to come – the GoodRunnings 6/12, an IAU-labelled 6 and 12 hour dusk-to-dawn style event.
SA runners also took some standing in this year’s AURA points competition! David Billett was the most notable of these. As one of SA’s most consistent distance-prone runners, he is currently ranked 8th in the points competition, nabbing three first place positions and one second place spot. He also set an age record for a centurion and a national walking-based record for a 6 Day event.
As to myself, I’m doing great! I’ve enjoyed my role as state rep. I’ve hosted and run in a few ultras this year, sampling a little bit of everything. I’ve enjoyed what SA has to offer – and added some of my own offerings into the mix. I’m looking forward to the various ways I can continue contributing to the running scene.
It’s hard to believe the year of 2022 is nearly done. We in SA are excited by all we’ve managed to accomplish – and are even more excited to see what new barriers we’ll break in 2023!