Last year (2012), the inaugural Hume and Hovell ultra trail event kicked off in regional New South Wales, a race that set course to track in the footsteps of the eponymous explorers, the first Europeans to traipse this beautiful stretch of country .
“We heard a group of runners from Sydney area – Darrel Robbins, Andrew Vize and Terry Coleman – were running the entire length. Warwick Hull and myself joined them on a section of the track for a day. After about 5km in I said, ‘Boy, this would make an excellent ultra, 50/100 run!'”
Two weeks later Peter went to see Warwick at his office, then found someone from AURA (Australian Ultra Running Association) to advise and they were up and running.
Entries are open and the website is found at www.humehovellultra.com/
The footsteps in which runners step are heady ones. In 1824 Hume and Hovell were sent out at their own expense by Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane further inland to explore where the western rivers run, what lay between the furthest settlement and Bass Strait. A group of convict servants were provided to assist the explorers and several of the points along the track were named after the convicts. After 11 weeks of exploration they returned disappointed they had not reached their nominated destination. The actual Hume and Hovell Walking Track is 450km long and was a bicentennial project in 1988.
According to event organisers, the route features a mix of single track and fire trails and the first half is very challenging.
“The first sections are run through the old goldmine areas where you will see where the miners have cut through granite rock to get water for the mines. Then you will run along an unused water race, which supplied water to the township of Tumbarmba,” says Peter.
“Another section runs through huge trees, which stand tall – some were used for milling purposes in years gone by. There is a section where brumbies roam freely, wombat holes, fantastic bird life and a shelter used by the pioneers.
“At about the 40km mark you have climbed to around 1250 metres, then, it drops down to 450m where the 50km event joins in and at the finish you are down to 320m. The 50km run starts on the Jounama Dam wall joining the 100 km runners on the track near Ben Smith’s camp site. We all then run along the full length of Blowering dam on the edge of thousands of acres of pine forests, finishing over an 800 metre downhill section to the park/picnic area below the wall.”
For Paul Cuthbert, winner of the 50km event, entering was a last minute decision, but one he doesn’t regret.
“I love running in beautiful places, especially new places. This was a race near Tumut, which I knew from previous visits to be a beautiful place. Adding to that the close proximity to Canberra [where I live], why wouldn’t I sign up?.
“I was far from disappointed. The 50km race (and last half of the 100km) follows the eastern side of Blowering Reservoir. Most of the race is on fire trails but there’s enough single track and hills to keep things interesting. Overall it’s an excellent course, especially for the warm sunny day that we had in 2012.”
“It feels like the whole town is behind the race. Ultras usually have great camaraderie between those involved but this is something extra. The combination of the beautiful environment, small friendly town, and the race itself makes for a great experience.
Last year’s results:
Male Winner 100km Edward Donaldson (11:45:43), 2nd Malcolm Gamble (12:03:57), 3rd Mark Soalri (12:50:13)
Female Winner 100km Sarah Richardson (12:25:27), 2nd Elouise Peach (13:32:31), 3rd Hunna Watson (16:17:57)
ENTER AT: humehovellultra.com/