Records tumble at Brooks Trail Run Festival

It was a matter of a student overtaking master and a road runner showing up her trail cousins on home turf at the Brooks Trail Run Festival, which took place atop Mount Baw Baw in Victoria over the March long weekend.

Brooks Mt Baw Baw Trail Run Festival


The three day festival invited off road runners to battle it out for King and Queen of the Mountain titles across multiple events ranging from a marathon to 13km and 1.4km ‘technical running’ competitions.

In the women’s category, Australian champion 50km roadrunner Natasha Fraser showed that while her specialty may be on bitumen, she loses no speed running on single track through the mountains. Fraser easily took the Queen of the Mountain title winning the marathon, registering third in a 13km event and winning the uphill outing in the technical run sessions.Brooks Mt Baw Baw Trail Run Festival

In the men’s, it was odds-on favourite Blake Hose, who showed why he is being touted as an international trail champion, despite only taking up trail running one year ago following a successful period spent in the cycling and triathlon worlds. Hose dominated the event, registering course records in the marathon and technical running competitions to take out the King of the Mountain title. In doing so, the 21 year old also surpassed his current mentor and coach, NSW-based Matt Cooper, who set the original course records and won the KOTM crown in 2013.

Hose, from Geelong, Victoria, registered a course record marathon time of 4:02:13, running from the historical gold mining town of Walhalla to Mount Baw Baw, taking on a vertical ascent of more than 2500 metres.

Brooks Mt Baw Baw Trail Run FestivalHis win over highly regarded trail runner, Joel Fitzgerald, who placed second 18 minutes in arrears, and South Australian Sean Sweetman (04:38:36) set Hose up for the KOTM title early on for the three-day festival, which is touted as ‘Australia’s biggest celebration of the trail running lifestyle’.

Hose went on to win Sunday’s 13km day run (01:05:55) , before registering the fastest descent and ascent on Monday’s ‘Free Mountain’ technical course (00:04:57) for the 1.4km / 300 metre ascent/descent) to ensure his crown was never in doubt.

A winner of the Great Ocean Walk 100 trail run and one of only four runners ever to record a sub-seven hour for the brutal Bogong to Hotham ultra trail, is regarded as a rising star of the growing trail run scene. Meanwhile Queen of the Mountain winner Natasha Fraser heads of to Doha, Qatar, to represent Australia at the 50km road World Championships. Both runners came away with a $1000 winners’ prize courtesy of Brooks and Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort.

LM_140309_MBBDayRun_0002_MEDres (logo)The festival also hosted Round One of the Victorian Orienteering Series, with many orienteering competitors giving hint to the endurance talent that lies within their community when they discard the maps and compass. In the 13km night run, first to fourth men’s and first place woman were all orienteering competitors while first place in the half marathon was all secured by an orienteer runner. Interestingly, the winner of the 13km night run, Rob Bauer, beat even KOTM champion Blake Hose’s day run time, despite the disadvantages of running in the dark with only a headlamp to guide the way.

The competition across the Festival shifted up a gear from the inaugural outing, with course records falling across most categories. New times to beat were registered in the men’s marathon, both the men’s and women’s half marathon, and in all of the short course technical runs across men’s and women’s, down and uphill.

LM_140309_MBBDayRun_0129_MEDres (logo)Overall, more than 400 competitors turned out over the long weekend to celebrate and participate in the trail running events, which also included a 3.5km family and kids’ fun run showing off the Baw Baw summit views, and numerous off trail sessions including nutritional seminars, technique clinics and a premier sneak preview screening of the Desert Runners feature film, a documentary featuring Festival ambassador, adventure runner Samantha Gash.

Runners travelled from far afield with entrants registered from Townsville, Adelaide, Brisbane, France, Germany, Estonia and the United Kingdom, the English competitor having flown specifically to attend the Brooks Trail Run Festival.

Engaging stories abounded amongst the field, with one marathon competitor knocking off his 92nd marathon at Baw Baw, it being only his fourth on trail. The winner of the uphill technical run is Estonia’s best orienteer runner. Several competitors had also never run a marathon previously, choosing to take on one of the country’s toughest off-roaders for their first outing. All debutants made the distance.

Brooks Mt Baw Baw Trail Run FestivalThe Brooks Trail Run Festival will return next year, once again on the 7-9 March Long Weekend (Victoria, Labour Day).

All details at



1. Blake Hose 04:02:14 (CR) // 2. Joel Fitzgerald 04:20:12 // 3. Sean Sweetman 04:38:36

MARATHON – Women’s
1. Natasha Fraser 05:09:22 // 2. Kellie Emmerson 05:30:26 // 3. Angela Harris 05:58:10

1. Kerrin Rattray 01:54:35 (CR) // 2. Joel Claxton 02:08:26 // 3. Cameron Goodison 02:10:39

1. Claire Boulange 02:16:14 (CR) // 2. Lucy Bartholomew 02:31:07 // 3. Bridget Wetherell 02:32:08


13KM DAY RUN – Women’s
1. Claire Boulange 01:15:55 // 2. Fiona Gordon 01:17:19 // 3. Natasha Fraser 01:17:35

13KM DAY RUN – Men’s
1. Blake Hose 01:05:55 // 2. Tom Crosby 01:12:01 //3. Vincent Kerbarh 01:12:22

13KM NIGHT RUN – Women’s
1. Jasmine Neue 01:21:29 // 2. Fiona Gordon 01:27:49 // 3. Genevieve Blanch 01:36:05

13KM NIGHT RUN – Men’s
1. Rob Bauer 01:03:29 // 2. Rob Preston 01:03:29 // 3. David Brownridge 01:10:22


1. Blake Hose 00:04:57 (CR) // 2. Rob Baker 00:05:00 // 3. Rob Preston 00:05:24

1. Liis Johanson 00:05:50 (CR) // 2. Jasmine Neve 00:06:00 // 3. Margaretha Fortmann 00:06:46

1. Rob Baker 00:12:19 (CR) // 2. Blake Hose 00:12:29 // 3. David Fraser 00:14:10

1. Natasha Fraser 00:14:46 (CR) // 2. Lucy Bartholomew 00:16:36 // 3. Liis Johansen 00:16:43




Salomon announces AU trail team for 2012

Salomon Australia has announced its trail team for 2012, with four exceptional athletes – including TRM’s own senior contributor Margaretha (Gretel) Fortmann – set to race under the Salomon banner this year.

Congratulations to Andrew Vize, Mick Donges, Matt Cooper and Gretel.

Here’s a brief bio of each (below) or you can download more detailed profiles HERE (500kb).

Interestingly, we have one Salomon team member interviewing another with Margaretha’s profile of Mick Donges, along with fellow gun runner Brendan Davies, in edition #4 of Trail Run Mag.

Margaretha caning it up Mt Buller, Victoria.

Margaretha a.k.a Gretel lives and breathes the outdoors, so it is not surprising that she spends her time working as a mountain guide on the Overland Track. Guiding groups and individuals along Tasmania’s trails gives her the opportunity to share her passion for the outdoors and spend time training on some of the most rugged and beautiful trails in Australia. Within three years of entering her first Ultra Trail race in 2009, Gretel has come a long way and recorded the fastest Australian female time in the prestigious Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, finishing 10th woman overall. In 2012 she will race the North Face 100km in the Blue Mountains and will head overseas to compete in Ultra Trail races in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Wales.

Winning the Great North Walk 100miler 3 times in a row in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (course record in 22h22m) and clocking the fastest Australian time in the iconic Western States 100 miler in the US, Andrew Vize has cemented his position as one of Australia’s strongest Ultra Trail runners. The running virus caught him only a few years ago after his wife bet him that he could not finish a Marathon without training. He managed to run the distance and has since then completed – and won – some of the toughest races in the Ultra Trail scene. Andrew is known for his meticulous preparation and gear choice as well as his determination to push his body to the absolute limit. In 2012 he will focus on the North Face 100km in the Blue Mountains and defending his title in the Great North Walk 100. He will also challenge the world’s best trail runners in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc 100miler in France.

Mick Donges on the hoof. IMAGE: Tod Clarke / Aurora Images

Living and training in the Blue Mountains (NSW), Mick Donges knows his way around the area hosting some of Australia’s most popular Ultra Trail races. His results include a 10th place in the Six Foot Track and a strong 6th place in the 2011 North Face 100km, when he challenged a strong international field including Salomon athletes Kilian Jornet and Ryan Sandes.

Mick’s determination and strong focus on training earned him a nomination to represent Australia in the 2011 Commonwealth Ultra Trail Championships (Wales) which he finished 5th overall. In 2012 Mick will compete in the Tarawera Ultra 100km (NZ), The North Face 100km (NSW) and in the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc 100miler in France.

Matt Cooper has established himself as a serious podium contender in the Australian ultra running scene by winning the 2011 Alpine Challenge 100 mile race and placing third (2010) and second (2011) in the Great North Walk 100 mile race. Matt focuses strongly on mental preparation and shares his ultra running experience with clients of his coaching and mentoring business. 2012 will see Matt competing in the Alpine Challenge 100, the North Face 100, the Great North Walk 100 and Coast to Kosci.