Longest trail ultra in Australia announced

TrailRunMag 28.11.2018

You want ultra? Well, you got it up Nerang way with a new 500 kms trail race to be held in the Nerang National Park in September 2019. It follows the 200 miler (Australia’s first 200 miler) held there in September 2018.

Race Organiser, Ian Cornelius, a veteran of 4 x 330 kms stage races, a contestant in the 1994 World 1,000 mile championships, and director of Gold Coast Ultras, believes that “This will be the longest and perhaps most extreme trail race ever conducted in Australia and likely the longest off-road race in the world”.

AustralianAthleteFPadUTGCNov2018LowRes-2Okay – so that’s one to be verified. And unfortunately we’re not talking 500km where every step is new trail (dammit! but that would be impressive – is there 500km of contiguous (single track) trail anywhere in the world? Himalayas, perhaps…). Rather the event will be conducted on a 25 kms looped course hubbing out of the Gold Coast Nerang cycling velodrome. I think I just went loopy thinking about that… soooo, twenty loops you’re saying, Ian. Do we swap directions to stay balanced… ;).

Ian reckons that the benefit of the looped course “is that it provides ideal facilities for crew support, fluid and energy replacement, running repairs and encouragement.” And perhaps he’s to a damn good point there in that safety is at least front and centre, and access is better for any dramas had on course.

“There will be an athlete’s village comprising 50 marquees. Hot soup, food, showers, toilets etc will be available every 25kms loop for 24 hours/day for the 6 days of the event,” says Ian. “There will be a 24 hrs/day medical facility to deal with cuts and abrasions and anything more serious. Because the event involves extreme exertion, runners will be required to submit for medical check before being permitted to commence each succeeding 25 kms loop. The health, safety and well-being of our runners is paramount”. Good stuff. Still a little loopy, but good stuff.

Electronic timing will be provided with readers every 5 kms, to facilitate tracking and optimising the safety of runners. Real time progress will be available for viewing online by family, friends and other interested parties.

The run course has 895 metres of elevation gain per lap, so a lump in throat, knock of knees 17,900 metres ascent for the entire race. So the event is tough and the hills unrelenting.

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There will be supporting events of 100 kms, 175 kms (108 miles) and 325 kms (202 miles). Pacers or companions will be allowed for the last lap for the 100 kms race, the last two laps for the 175 kms event, last three laps for the 325 kms event and the last four laps of the 500 kms event.

The races will form part of the Asia Trail Master series. The events have been certified by the International Trail Running Association.

Entries for the 2019 event are now open.

For more information, visit www.ultratrailgoldcoast.com