Since the election at the AGM in April, the new AURA Committee of Alexis Oosterhoff, Elizabeth Bennett , Jodie Oborne and myself have been very active in implementing important new initiatives for the organisation, initiatives we believe are imperative for building a strong sustainable association and for the development of the sport of ultra running. The committee met in person on 11 August and covered a large agenda of discussion items which resulted in many important decisions being made.

To progress these initiatives we now need the support of you our members, there is a lot of work to be done, much more than can be accomplished just by the four people on the committee. In the recent survey to members it was very heartening to see that around 50% of respondents were happy to assist AURA in a volunteering role… this is your opportunity to put up your hand and help us build a very strong organisation.

Here are the major initiatives the AURA Committee is addressing:

Development of AURA Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021, subcommittee members needed

AURA is developing a strategic plan that will underpin the development and growth of our organisation and sport to 2021 and beyond. The strategy will address the following key areas:

  • Increase awareness, interest and participation in the sport of Ultra Running
  • Expanding the AURA membership base through addressing the membership value proposition
  • Assistance and support for event organisers to provide sustainable ultra running events
  • Provide leadership in terms of governance for the sport of ultra running and member well being
  • Investigation of funding opportunities outside of current revenue streams
  • Provide initiatives and pathways to improve the performance of Australian athletes in sanctioned international competition
  • Ensure AURA provides equity to all members of our society that wishes to participate in the sport of ultra running.

A full outline of the process for developing this strategy can be found here. Members cannominate to be part of a subcommittee addressing one of the above areas here. Nominations close Saturday 2 September.

Development of AURA events safety standards

Earlier this year a sub committee reviewed AURA’s event listing process, one of the key recommendations made by this committee was that AURA develop a formal event safety standard.  Andy Hewat (Great Ocean Walk), Billy Pearce (Canberra 48), Greg Robinson and Tom Landon-Smith (Ultra Trail Australia) have volunteered to develop the standards and the associated documentation.

As well, AURA member Peter Lugg will be assisting at the documentation phase, Peter has a long professional history in risk management, something that will be invaluable. Similar safety standards (AAAS) are being developed by other adventure sports in consultation with Government, and it is likely these standards will become the defacto standard Government departments will insist on being met for ultra running events.

Developing the standard will be a huge undertaking, and we thank the team for volunteering to drive this forward. This is such an important initiative for our sport that will help protect the well being of our members.

UltraMag to go online: Marketing Officer needed (paid position)

The 2017 survey to AURA members found 70% of members fully supported a move to change UltraMag from a printed quarterly publication to an online magazine.

The AURA Committee has decided to make this change and in the coming months we will see the launch of a members only magazine style website that will be updated regularly with stories of interest to our members, as well regular newsletter emails with links to these stories will be broadcast.

The AURA Committee decided it is not sustainable to rely on volunteers to generate this publication, and a decision was made to reinvest the funds previously spent printing UltraMag in paying a person to undertake the role of Marketing Officer for the organisation. The role includes additional responsibilities to the publishing of UltraMag such as the management of AURA’s social media and other tasks. To apply for this position, please see the job description here. The role will be trialled for the rest of this calendar year.

Race results stats for members, association with DUV

AURA Treasurer Alexis Oosterhoff has entered into an agreement with the German Ultramarathon Association (DUV) to act as the Australia representative to DUV, and will be responsible for the entry of Australian ultra-marathon event results into the DUV Ultra Marathon Statistics database. 

The DUV database was first established in 2004, and stores results for 4,000+ international events each year with over 700,000 individual runner profiles. As part of this collaboration, the DUV team have provided AURA with direct access to their database, which we use for automating the national ranking and points comp details.

This data-entry service will be provided to all ultra marathon events in Australia, regardless of their affiliation with AURA. Over the next few months, you can expect to see improved integration between DUV and the AURA website, along with more regular updates to national rankings. And, we will be looking at adding extensively to DUV’s database, using our own records that go back as far as the 1980’s.

Drugs in sport, anti doping

AURA has initiated discussions with IAU to establish requirements and protocols for our members to comply with the WADA code. Implementation of this will require liaison with other third party organisations, and we will advise outcomes when these discussions have taken place.

AURA merchandise

One finding of the 2017 survey to members was that there was an overwhelming wish to have AURA branded merchandise available. The committee has decided that this will be made available through an “on demand supplier”. There is still a lot of old AURA merchandise held by the association we intend to make available for sale online at very reasonable pricing to clear this stock. We are seeking a volunteer to take on the merchandise coordinator role to assist with selling the old stock and setting up the new “on demand” system. Please see the role description here.

As you can see from the above, the committee has been very active in shaping strategies and initiatives to build AURA into an organisation that offers more to its members than ever before, and make ultra running an even stronger sport than it is currently. However please remember that AURA is its ~435 members, not just the four members of the committee. Let’s refer to AURA as “us”, not “them”, all of us have a role in ensuring the future of the organisation and the sport, so please seriously consider volunteering to assist, especially as a member of one of the strategic plan development sub committees, this is your opportunity to have significant input in our direction.

As always, if you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling me on 0457 149 169 or via email at


Rob Donkersloot

AURA President