Hello AURA Members, 

I am pleased to be writing to you as the newly appointed AURA President, to announce the new Committee, our State Representatives and to also thank the hard work of our out-going Committee. For me personally, I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to represent AURA and the running community who have given me so much encouragement and support throughout my running career. I am excited as President to help shape the way ultra running is presented, supported and developed in Australia.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate and welcome our new Committee Members – Mathew Eckford as Vice President, Simone Hayes as Treasurer and Julia Mackay as Secretary. Together we cover a range of experience with committee involvement, international representation, race direction and as a part of our running community. As a new Committee, we plan to have a fresh take on what part AURA can play to support and promote the wide range of ultra running in Australia and our Members. We love and respect the history and heritage of the association and know it has an important role to play for many more years to come.

We each spoke to our star writer and editor Kate Dzienis who has put together a short bio of the new Committee:

Simone Hayes, Treasurer
With decades of experience behind her, Simone Hayes lives and breathes the sport of ultra running, having represented Australia at previous World Championships and being a podium finisher in numerous events. Living in NSW, Simone has put her hand up to represent AURA as its Treasurer and has expressed great enthusiasm to help promote ultra running and our community. 

Julia Mackay, Secretary
Julia has a special place in her heart for ultra running, always putting in the extra effort to make participants smile or laugh with her creative costumes at almost every event she attends. Hailing from WA, Julia started in long distance in 2018 and since then has gone on to race in nine ultras. As AURA’s new Secretary, she is excited about the year ahead and contributing her time to the sport as part of the Committee.

Matthew Eckford, Vice President
Matt from Queensland has an abundance of experience when it comes to ultra running. He has represented Australia not just once, but three times at the World Championships and twice at the Asian Championships. Now wanting to play a larger role in the growth and promotion of the sport, Matthew will apply his strategic skills, passion and knowledge as the new Vice President of AURA. 

Ewan Horsburgh, President
As an ultra runner who has represented Australia countless times in long distance events across the globe, Ewan Horsburgh from NSW has now taken it one step further and will guide AURA into the future as its new President. His resume is unmatched, having led the Aussies as Team Captain in last year’s 24-hour World Championships in Albi, France following participation in World Championships in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as captaining the Aussie team at the 2018 Asian/Oceania 24-hour Championships in Taiwan. Ewan is truly looking forward to promoting AURA and the sport of ultra running and looking after our community. 

AURA State Representatives also play a big part in promoting our association and communicating the achievements of runners and events in their individual state. I would like to congratulate and welcome our new State Reps – Susannah Harvey-Jamieson and Dan Symonds for Qld, Chris Glacken for SA, Martin Fryer for ACT, Stephen Redfern for NSW, Karen Mickle for VIC and Doug Bartlett for WA. We look forward to collaborating with them on some important initiatives which focus on their unique events. 

AURA also comprises of invaluable Volunteers who find time in their busy lives and training schedules to support and advance ultra running in Australia. Our tasks and activities are done by Committee, State Reps and Volunteers, so we are always on the lookout for passionate people to help. It could be writing articles for our online AURA Magazine, sharing race updates or continuing the development of our website.

Even more so now that I have an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes, I would like to offer a massive thanks to our previous Committee. Rob Donkersloot, Alexis Oosterhoff, Pam Muston and Ness Hartge. They have done a fantastic job, leaving AURA in a great place financially and introducing a range of strong policies and new strategic initiatives. As our new Committee have not held previous positions within AURA, a smooth handover has been essential. After discussions with Rob and Alexis on the direction of AURA – its wins and challenges, it became clear that we had a good rapport and a smooth hand-over has been made possible. 

Australian ultra running finds itself in a similar position to other countries around the world in that we have been cancelling races for the last 2 months. We are now looking ahead to the second half of the year, easing of restrictions and what that means for future races. Entrant limits, how events are run and interstate travel are still unknown at this time. With overseas travel restrictions in place, we look to a strong second half of the year with a lot of rescheduled races and plenty of great domestic options.  

Our Committee would love to hear from you, our Members. Feel free to contact us on our Facebook group or please email me directly at president@aura.asn.au

Ewan Horsburgh
🇦🇺  AURA President