By Kate Dzienis
If there’s a new 48-hour event you’re looking to enter, look no further than the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team’s inaugural 48 Hour Track Festival which will be held in early 2020 in Canberra.
Conducted on a certified 400-metre floodlit track at the Australian Institute of Sport, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team have humbly taken over the event from race director Billy Pearce who founded the CBR 48 Hour and who has run it since 2016.
During discussions for the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team to run the event, it was decided that it would be a brilliant idea to add it to their repertoire of 24-hour and 6-hour races.
Race director Prachar Stegemann explained that in the end, it was decided to incorporate the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team’s existing 24-hour into the structure that Pearce had set up in Canberra for the 48-hour.
“It’s inaugural for us, in that sense – we’ve never put on a 48-hour before but we will following in Billy’s footsteps and hopefully continuing the great work he has done with it,” he said.
“I love track races of all distances, it’s a real community, you’re on top of each other the whole time – you certainly establish a camaraderie, a family feeling in a way that you can’t quite in any point to point event.
“A track race like the 48-hour is great in terms of providing services to athletes all the time in terms of equipment, nutrition, timing, crew support, and all of that, and it’s wonderful to also see slower runners mingling with the faster runner – you don’t get that with a point to point.
“Sure, some people will say it’s boring, going around and around in a circle but let’s face it – after 10kms or 40kms, who’s looking at the scenery? Ultra running is really an inner journey, it’s really about finding about your inner demons rather than looking at what’s around you.”
Stegemann said it was important to put the 48-Hour Track Festival to the highest standard because and like any other event, the costs are relatively high for a track event, especially when it was being held at world-class facilities like the AIS.
“No one puts on a track race to make money, but you also don’t want to be losing a large amount,” he said.
“In the end, if participants enjoyed the event then there are bigger chances they will come back and run it again. At the moment, we have actually seen an increase in numbers for our 24-hour event over the past three years.”
For those yet to do a 48-hour track race, it’s an attractive timed event due to the fact you don’t have to think about the course – there are no extreme variables to contend with, only the weather and time of day. You also don’t have to contend with holding out on nutrition or hydration as there are aid stations within arm’s reach all day and night.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team worldwide is very closely associated with ultra running, putting on some of the world’s longest races like the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race in New York and six to 10 day races.
Stegemann explains Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy is self-transcendence through meditation and sports, and that there is a close connection with that notion of the mental and spiritual side of ultra running being a great forum and great journey of personal discovery and fulfilment.
The Sri Chinmoy 48 Hour Track Festival will be held from 20 to 22 March, 2020 at the Australian Institute of Sport in Bruce, Canberra, ACT and registrations are now open.