Run Larapinta 2019 came to a close yesterday afternoon at the famed Glen Helen Gorge, in the Northern Territory’s Red Centre. The gorge and rustic Glen Helen Lodge lies 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs on the Finke River in the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Trail runners from interstate and overseas tackled everything from extreme heat, to cold weather, and howling winds across four stages of tough desert mountain running.
The racing kicked off on the outskirts of Alice Springs for a relaxed Friday twilight run from the to The Telegraph Station on 16 August.
But it was an early start the following day with runners going point-to-point from Simpson Gap to Stanley Chasm. This was easily the toughest day with the mercury soaring to 31 degrees. A couple of runners were treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion but nothing more serious. Many water points were manned by event officials along the course line. Runners were able to fuel up on lollies, fruit cake, glucose syrup, sunscreen and plenty of water.
Day three began at the Ochre Pits before a majestic finish in Ormiston Gorge. Day four commenced at the car park for Redbank Gorge where runners headed straight for the summit of Mt Sonder. Runners set off before dawn making for a spectacular view of bobbing head torches heading up spine of Sonder in the pre-dawn darkness. A turn around at the summit, a thundering bolt back down for those brave enough to test their technical running prowess, and then it was a final bolt into a raucous crowd at Glen Helen Lodge.
The food and drink was flowing all day at Glen Helen and trail war stories were shared. An emotional presentation ceremony capped the night with some runners sharing tributes to friends and family who lost their lives to cancer or mental health.
General Manager of Rapid Ascent, Sam Maffett, said he was impressed with the times posted by runners despite the challenging conditions. But he was more moved by the camaraderie the runners showed both out on the trail and at the finish line.
“It has gone incredibly well, there have been positive vibes the whole time, and I was elated to see each runner cross the finish line happy, relieved and incredibly satisfied with their running efforts,” said Maffett.
“A big highlight was watching the last competitor cross the line. Everyone was there to celebrate with a human corridor clapping and cheering—it was a really touching moment. The sheer enjoyment the runners get, and the sense of pride evident in completing the race makes it such a satisfying event to be part of,” said Maffett .
Irrespective of speed, Run Larapinta is about the accomplishment and the journey. Every participant handled themselves and the conditions with gusto. Some broke through personal and mental barriers they never knew they could. And some are already making plans to return in 2020.
The race has become a drawcard for runners due to the powerful allure of the West MacDonnell Ranges. It’s incredible terrain for trail running and gives an unusual spirit of adventure and oneness with a wild landscape.
For more information about Run Larapinta head to RunLarapinta.com.au.
Series Winners – General Classification
Overall Simon Duke 14:37:31.2 69
Masters (60+) Female Cerina Meredith 27:27:50.7 1
Masters (60+) Male Peter Kingston 21:12:56.5 5
Prime (18-39) Female Holly Ranson 16:56:49.9 11
Prime (18-39) Male Simon Duke 14:37:31.2 8
Veteran (40-49) Female Kate Cush 18:17:49.8 18
Veteran (40-49) Male Dale Linaker 18:10:39.8 10
Vintage (50-59) Female Karen Buckley 23:03:22.1 11
Vintage (50-59) Male Ali Grigg 19:34:11.8 5
Overall Daniel Janes 9:02:40.5 142
Junior (Under 18) Female Jazmyn Fyvie N/A 1
Junior (Under 18) Male Thomas Hackett 14:28:09.8 2
Masters (60+) Female Barbara Kelly 13:11:36.1 7
Masters (60+) Male Bob Smale 10:40:04.0 6
Prime (18-39) Female Kimberley Robson 9:54:57.7 20
Prime (18-39) Male Daniel Janes 9:02:40.5 10
Veteran (40-49) Female Jane Parrett 10:55:58.1 33
Veteran (40-49) Male Hansie Muller 9:25:05.2 14
Vintage (50-59) Female Nicola Spurrier 10:44:22.9 26
Vintage (50-59) Male Joe Mclean 9:28:03.0 23
For more results CLICK HERE