Written by Rapid Ascent
At 9am (AEST) on Sunday, June 14, more than 450 competitors raced their own course at the exact same time together, virtually, at Race 1 of the 2020 Trail Running Series presented by MINI.
Runners from all corners of Australia joined in, with many runners hailing from various regional locations as far afield as Flinders Island and Broome; along with our fan-favourite runner Cameron Bell from Scotland, who competed at midnight to coincide with the race.
“As the sun rose in Australia it was setting here at midnight in Scotland!” said Bell.
“I ran on some great trails between the mountains and the river; but mostly I was delighted to be part of your running community – it’s a fantastic thing that you are doing to bring people together across the world in these times,” added Bell.
Competitors raced over their choice of distance – 5km, 10km or 15km – on whatever course they had access to, with Magnus Michelsson and Fiona Mathews taking out the 15km long course event in a time of 01:02:54 and 01:14:28 respectively.
All runners were able to check-in and connect with the race directors and other runners during the race morning using Facebook Live, ZOOM, Strava and Race Map live tracking.
“Seeing the trail running community embrace and engage the virtual racing concept yesterday has been very inspiring and motivating,” said Race Director Sam Maffett.
The virtual event format allowed a far broader range of people to participate compared to when conducted as physical races.
“To connect with our community and share our experiences has never been more important. And this is exactly what we saw – a supportive, enthusiastic trail community unite in a common love of running and being together” added Maffett.
It is the first time in the events’ 10-year history that the Series had to be adapted due to factors outside our control due to the COVID-19 situation, and the response from competitors was over and above expectations.
“This is the best virtual run I have done! All the others have lacked the social interaction and really fell flat; this is the closest to being at an actual event – thank you!” said Holly Bray of Lilydale (VIC).
“It felt like a real event! The live link-ups were good and pushed me to do a PB,” said Geoff Quinton of Perth (WA).
“That was a great way to change up the event and we enjoyed it all. I also loved crossing paths with others wearing their race bibs and event t-shirts too,” said Michaela Bruce (VIC).
Traditionally, the annual Trail Running Series consists of five physical events from 5km to 23km held in beautiful wilderness locations near Melbourne, attracting up to 1,500 keen trail runners at each event. Rapid Ascent plan to schedule two or three physical races to be held between October and January when the current situation has calmed down.
Hosting the first two races virtually has allowed runners from every State and Territory (and overseas!) to connect and race together, albeit virtually.
Race 2 will be held on Sunday, 12 July, with entries at just $15, which includes a range of giveaways from event sponsors.
Further details on the Trail Running Series can be found at the official event website: www.TrailRunningSeries.com.au
2020 RACE 1 RESULTS
15KM Long Course – Male
- Magnus Michelsson – 01:02:54
- Paul Todd – 01:05:14
- Bryn James – 01:06:16
15KM Long Course – Female
- Fiona Mathews – 01:14:28
- Sally Littlewood – 01:18:21
- Deidre Mattiske – 01:19:14
10KM Medium Course – Male
- David Martinez – 00:37:30
- Paul-Micah Sullivan – 00:39:24
- Jason Pontre – 00:46:14
10KM Medium Course – Female
- Emily Zaborski – 00:48:26
- Samantha Reidy – 00:49:43
- Natalie Lumsden – 00:53:16
5KM Short Course – Male
- Jared Tower – 00:18:48
- James McCurdy – 00:19:17
- Shane Bell – 00:20:27
5KM Short Course – Female
- Taryn Furletti – 00:18:50
- Georgie Mcwhae – 00:21:47
- Kym Renooy – 00:23:39
2020 SERIES OUTLINE
Race 1: Sunday 14 June – Virtual Races 5km, 10km, 15km
Race 2: Sunday 12 July – Virtual Races 5km, 10km, 15km
Race 3 and 4: Physical Races – date, location and distances to be confirmed mid-year.