Run Larapinta, NT
The GUMBY Backyard, ACT
Belair Marathon, SA
Run Larapinta Stage Race
The Run Larapinta Stage Race brought the Red Centre in the NT alive as trail runners completed four stages of racing over four days through the West MacDonnell Ranges, starting on Wednesday (21 April) and finishing on Saturday (24 April).
A great number of 130 participants raced on the trails each day in the event, which was postponed from 2020 due to COVID-19 last year.
Featuring two different course lengths, the Malbunka had two stages of between 20km and 41km, whilst the Namatjira had stages of between 11km and 26km.
In the Malbunka long course female standings it was Erika Lori (WA) 1st with 14:55:16, AURA’s very own Hayley Teale from Tamborine, Qld taking 2nd with a finish time of 16:27:47 and Victoria Cole (Vic) in 3rd with 16:38:49.
For the male results it was John Robinson (Vic) 1st with 15:10:10, Gavin Green (Vic) 2nd with 16:23:43 and Thomas Cartledge (NT) with 3rd in 16:45:45.
Well done to all our AURA members who finished the Malbunka long course including Ina Schapiro (17:19:14), Andrew Ross (20:47:22), Darian Cairns-Cowan (20:53:44) and Lonneke Kefalas (22:13:49).
In the Namatjira short course female standings podium finishes went to Georgina Beech (NT) with 10:40:47, Kimberley Robson (NT) with 11:02:44 and Amy Stockwell with 11:04:47.
For the male standings in the Namatjira short course winners were Hansie Muller (NT) in 9:29:00, Thierry Morin (Vic) in 10:33:23 and Laurent Rossignol (Vic) with 10:34:51.
The GUMBY Backyard Ultra
In the ACT across the weekend was the inaugural GUMBY Backyard Ultra, a last one standing format event to see who can last the longest doing 6.7km laps on the hour, ever hour. The standard Canberra cold began to hit participants as they did their laps on Saturday, and there was also a GUMbaBY version – with runners doing 8 laps of the course, and the first over the finish line on lap 8 declared the victor.
In the GUMbaBY event, Ellen Bradley was consistent all day long and took line honours for the women with a brilliant final lap of 32:31 ahead of AURA member Allicia Heron (from Theodore, ACT) on 37:16.
Only 36 seconds separated the top 3 men. Jin Kato crossed first with a blistering 27:54, narrowly edging out Cian Gray (28:10) and Matt Shadwell (28:30).
Congratulations to our AURA members who ran in the GUMbaBY event including Stuart Munro and Tracy Watson.
In the main backyard event, Chris Wilder took the victory with 32 laps of the course (the last lap completed in 45:37), whilst AURA’s Matthew Griggs from Torrens, ACT assisted (31 laps).
Griggs’ last lap was completed at 51:11 and he said despite feeling battered and bruised on Monday, the day after, he was thrilled with how the weekend panned out.
“The downhill and rocky trail really took it out of me; after 200 kilometres the only thing I enjoyed was going uphill!” he said.
“I was really pleased to run over 200km (208km in total) with 5580m of ascent.
“This was a totally different challenge to my furthest ever run of over 240km in a 24 hour race; this time I set a time PB. I’ve never run over 24 hours and running 31 hours was huge for me.
“In the end, backyard ultras are really a mental game. I convinced myself I didn’t want to go into the second night with sub zero temperatures, and turned back to camp just after starting the lap at 3pm Sunday afternoon to officially DNF.”
Griggs said he was absolutely happy with his achievement.
There were a total of six of AURA members who ran in the GUMBY Backyard Ultra including Sabina Hamaty (21 laps, average lap time of 52:02), Justin Hiatt (18 laps, average lap time of 50:18), Joffrid Mackett (12 laps, average lap time of 53:12), Ingo Ernst (10 laps, average lap time of 52:23) and Michael Thompson (5 laps, average lap time of 51:47).
It’s worth noting that 13 out of the 62 runners who signed up for The GUMBY and GUMbaBY had never done an ultra.
In the Belair Marathon, held in SA at the weekend, we saw for the men’s podium standings Tom Elfenbein 1st (4:06:40), Rurik Symon 2nd (4:14:35) and Brett Merchant 3rd (4:39:58).
For the women, it was Lauren Rooke 1st (4:26:57) and AURA’s very own Amanda Meggison from South Melbourne, Vic take 2nd Female after crossing the finish line in 4:42:46. Third Female went to Jasmin Mallon (5:12:05).
Congratulations to all our AURA members who entered the Belair Marathon including Geoffrey Langhans (5:03:48), Dawn Parks (5:53:49) and George Mihalakellis (7:54:03) – Mihalakellis who just last week completed AURA’s 100km Australian Track Championships at the Coburg 24hr Carnival.
Because AURA members love to know what’s going on with national and world records, we thought it significant to note that over the weekend two new records were made (yet to be ratified) – a new 100 mile World Best and a new 12hr World Best.
According to one news site, Lithuanian runner Aleksandr Sorokin ran an 11:14:55 (unofficial) World Best for 100 miles at the Centurion Running Track 100 Mile in England and carried on to complete his 12hr race entry, where he broke another World Best and ran a total distance of 170.309km.
The World 24hr Champion (2019 IAU World Championships, Albi, France with 278.972km) beat the previous records of 11:19:18 for 100 miles and 168.7928km for 12hrs, both set by Zach Bitter in 2019 at the Six Days in the Dome race in Wisconsin, USA.
The Centurion Running Track 100 Mile was a 15-person, elite-invite-only event held at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford, England.
The highly anticipated Lighthorse Ultra hosted by Ultra Series WA is due to be held this coming weekend 1-2 May in Woodvale, WA. A private dawn service is held in the fields of Perry’s Paddock before runners tackle the 24hr, 12hr, 6hr, 3hr or 1hr events on a 2.5km circuit of limestone, boardwalk and asphalt.
The Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra was successfully rescheduled and will take place 2-4 May in country Qld, featuring runners who will tackle 6.7km on the hour, every hour until there is only one left standing.
One of the biggest ultra events in the country, Ultra-Trail Australia will be held from 13-16 May in the serene town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Over 4 days, runners will tackle a distance they choose from the UTA11, UTA22, UTA50, UTA100 and the elusive invitation-only field of 30 athletes who take on every one of those distances for the UTA951.
The Down Under 135 will also be held the same weekend as UTA from 14-16 May in Lerderderg State Park, Vic. Covering 217km in a single stage non-stop race from start to finish, competitors venture across the trails of the Lerderderg and Wombat State Forests.
The Great Ocean Road Running Festival is due for 16 May in Lorne, Vic offering 60km and 44km events for ultra runners along the Southern Ocean coastline.
Pictured: Matthew Griggs during the final few laps of the weekend’s Gumby Backyard Ultra. Photograph – Brendan Codrington/Facebook.