Bright Running Festival
IAU World 50k
Runners at UTMB
Six Days in the Dome

There’s no other word to describe the weekend but ‘exciting’! And whilst this week’s report may not necessarily focus just on AURA-listed events, we had a big number of AURA members running across both days, which makes for spectacular reporting.

Bright Running Festival

In order of appearance, the Bright Running Festival kicked off on Saturday, August 31 with a 50km trail event in Bright, Vic.

For the men’s event which saw 31 entrants, Matthew Crehan took top honours with 1st Male in 4:35:32 whilst Jonathan Fearn claimed 2nd in 4:41:06 and AURA’s very own Kevin Muller, who has had a successful 2019 in the ultra scene, held on for 3rd with a finish time of 5:04:05.

Ruby Greig-Hurtig claimed 1st for the women out of 11 participants with a time of 5:52:49, Naomi Ramsay took 2nd with 6:36:57, and Victoria Rebbeck held for 3rd with 6:48:36.

IAU 50k World Championships

The ever anticipated IAU 50k World Championships were held in Brasov, Romania on Sunday, September 1 and we had three AURA women compete in the race in a field of 67 women, doing Australia proud as they donned the green and gold.

Clare Palmer from Glenreagh, NSW secured 30th place after completing the 50k distance in 3:39:25 whilst Burwood (NSW) runner Larissa Tichon,  who raced in last September’s IAU 100k World Championships in Croatia, took control of 42nd place with a finish time of 3:50:37. Karen Pienaar from Kidman Park, SA bowed out after 8 laps of the 11-lap course and ran it in 2:51:12.

The winner of the women’s event was (GBR) Alyson Dixon, who set a new Worlds Record time of 3:07:20 (read more here). 

(GBR) Helen Davies took 2nd with 3:09:16 and (ESP) Alicia Perez held on to take 3rd with 3:15:09. 

For the men the podium finish consisted of (ESP) Iraitz Arrospide in 1st with 2:47:42, (RSA) Lungile Gongqa in 2nd with 2:48:26, and (GBR) Daniel Nash in 3rd with 2:49:01.

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

Although not an AURA-listed event, a lot of eyes were on UTMB over the weekend with various live feeds and social posts from all over the country. Four AURA members took on the 171.62km challenge in Chamonix, France including Stephen Redfern from Engadine, NSW; Kellie Emmerson from Kilsyth, Vic; Piera Kohout from Cremorne, NSW; and Alan Wheat from Cammeray, NSW.

Emmerson crossed the finish line in 31:31:01 and finished 19th Female whilst Redfern was right on her heels, his time at 31:32:21 and ranking in at 157th.

Kohout finished her event with a time 40:57:29 and a ranking of 51st Female, whilst Wheat completed UTMB in 41:29:52 and an 804 ranking.

A stellar effort by these four Aussies!

Six Days in the Dome – The Redux

Meanwhile, the ever-enthusiastic ultra runner we’ve all come to know, Mick Thwaites, was racing in Six Days in the Dome – The Redux in Milwaukee, WI, USA; a race held at an ice rink from August 25 to September 1. AURA president Rob Donkersloot was also there to provide support, photos and updates on how Thwaites was travelling.

Thwaites held strong despite a previous stress fracture injury in the months leading up to the event, and finished in 10th Male after completing 1406 laps totalling a distance of 623.4980km and a time of 143:52:57.

According to a social post, Thwaites said despite a great start, there were some issues he had to take control of in the days following.

“To cut a long story short, I started off great on Day 1, had big stomach issues on Day 2, came good and pushed too hard on Day 3 which resulted in a shin/tendon injury for Day 4, took a big rest, and nearly sacked days 5 and 6,” he said.

“Running is my happy place and I decided to go back and complete the race in damage control mode.

“I’m so glad I did, because the medicine I gained from that was better than any prescription; there were so many fun experiences that were had, and memories made, this event will be engrained in my soul.”

Well done AURA members!

Our AURA members took on a few more races at the weekend, so the action didn’t stop with the above amazing events! The Wingello Trail Festival 50km was held on Saturday, August 31 between Sydney and Canberra and member Karen Hayward did a spectacular job, crossing the finish in 5:58:58 and coming in 10th Female.

The Surf Coast Wonderfalls 50km was also held on the same day but in Lorne, Vic. Congratulations to Tim Kacprzak who took 3rd Male with a time of 5:30:02, Alex Keys who finished with 5:55:17, and Mark Falls who completed the distance in 7:59:59.

If you’re an AURA member racing this weekend, please let us know! We would love to hear how you go – head to our Facebook page and write up a post, or email us at 

Coming up

The next events on the AURA-listed calendar are Birdy’s Backyard Ultra in Toodyay, WA from Friday, September 6; the Great North Walk Ultras in Teralba, NSW on Saturday, September 14; Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra in Acton, ACT on Saturday, September 14; and Run the Great Whitsunday Trail in Airlie Beach, Qld on Sunday, September 15.

Pictured: Clare Palmer, Larissa Tichon and Karen Pienaar who made up Team Australia at the IAU 50k World Championships. Photograph – Facebook.