Runners earn their stripes at Tassie Trail Fest

More than 400 runners – including a healthy interstate and international contingent – descended on the small tin mining town of Derby in north-east Tasmania recently, the influx inspired by the inaugural Saucony Tassie Trail Fest and $2 million worth of fresh trails to be run. [RESULTS AT:]

Tassie Trail Fest 16-0351The three day event was conceived to celebrate a love of single track and the trail running lifestyle with feature distances ranging from 44km through 21km, 14km, 6km and 2km making best use of all-new mountain biking trails created within quintessential Tasmanian wilderness. Keeping runners entertained and informed off trail was a roster of running seminars, a trail running film festival and live entertainment.

In the premier King and Queen of Tassie Trail category, which required runners to complete a 44km marathon, a 14km run and a 2km time-trial, the honours were shared between a local running gun from Launceston and a German itinerant known in his hometown as ‘the fastest moustache in Cologne’.

Elite Tassie ultra runner, Amy Lamprecht, won the women’s crown and a cash purse, registering a cumulative run time of 05:46:48, beating home Yvette Edward (West Hobart; 06:00:34) in second and Victorian, Kellie Emmerson in third (06:07:08).Tassie Trail Fest 16-9849

In the men’s, Germany’s Felix Weber held the King’s of Tassie Trails trophy aloft, but not before cycling all the way from Hobart to attend the event, via Freycinet Peninsua where he ran the long trail circuit (30km) to warm up, and volunteering with event organisers throughout the event in between competing. His total time for the King category was 05:13:54. The short sighted runner known as ‘the fastest moustache in Cologne’ and now ‘the fastest ’tash in Tassie’ has already decided what to spend his prizemoney on:

“Riding up here I lost my glasses. I have very bad eyesight and ‘run blurry’ so I’ll be buying a new pair of specs!”

Also on the dais was American runner who had come all the way from a stint working in Antarctica, Curtis Moore (06:00:38), and Hobart-based John Schuringa (06:10:48).

While the King and Queen was the premier racing category, the most impressive endurance competition was Multiday Madness, a category that challenged runners to run every single event possible across the duration of the event. That entailed a marathon, two 14km runs (a day and a night), another half marathon and the 2km time trial ‘Dash for Cash’.Tassie Trail Fest 16-

The Madness women’s title was swept across the Tasman with New Zealand runner Amanda Broughton running consistently for the win, her performance surprising even herself as a short to middle distance cross country specialist in her hometown of Wellington. Broughton took the win in a cumulative time of 10:24:19. In second was Jessica Collins (Margate, Tasmania; 11:43:43) followed by Victorian, Louise Crossley (13:21:48).

In the men’s Multiday Madness, John Schuringa added to his King of Tassie Trails third place by winning the endurance competition in a total time of 10:12:22. Antarctic Station worker, Curtis Moore, added to his second place in the Kings with another in the multiday in a time of 10:15:37, with Launceston’s John Cannel registering third place (10:33:31).

Of course there were individual distance winners throughout the weekend, with special mention going to husband and wife team Reece and Jacqui Stephens, who juggled parenting duties to run in all events between them, each taking out a half marathon win and Jacqui taking home the $250 for the Dash for Cash title, her husband pipped at the post into second by Jerome Whitley who nabbed a time of 7:07 for the 2km (and likely a smidge) ‘sprint’ trail run.


The inaugural Saucony Tassie Trail Fest brought together trail runners from across the globe, with representatives from Chile, Mexico, Belgium, New Zealand, UK, United States, Netherlands and Germany joining running crews from every state and territory in Australia.Tassie Trail Fest 16-0539

The host town of Derby has quickly become famous in mountain biking circles with the installation of up to 80km of new trails weaving through majestic stands of wilderness.

“The running experience is divine and like no other in Australia in my opinion,” says Race Director, Chris Ord from running tour and events company, Tour de Trails. “The huge stands of ancient forest, moss-covered rockeries, giant fern tunnels, and dam busting views make it a spectacular place to run, while the rollercoaster undulations, switchbacks and a few beefy ascents make the running challenging, especially for those taking on the multiday which is essentially 100km over the weekend.”

Runners were particulary impressed with the trails, the close knit community vibe and many noted the 14km nightrun as a highlight, with runners finishing under an arch erected inside a town hall, beer bar to one side and a live band in full rock mode playing on the stage just in front of the finishline. Impressively, the lead singer, Launceston’s Tim Gambles is also a trail runner and ran in a number of the events during the weekend.Mt Buller

Reviews by participants:

What a privilege to be able to run through that bush and have those epic views!” – Multiday Madness winner Amanda Broughton, New Zealand. 

“I volunteered and participated in the Tassie Trail Fest. It was an excellent and authentic experience with fantastic program on and off the trails. I can highly recommend this event to everyone who love to run in the bush.” – King of Tassie Trails winner, Felix Weber, Germany.

“Loved every minute of the Multiday Madness, stunningly beautiful but challenging course…Wow. Just wow.” Asha Mahasuria, Northern Territory.

“A fantastic event, a big thank-you to the organizers for putting on a fantastic event, hopefully everyone will get behind this wonderful event and it will grow bigger over the next few years.” – Tim Gunton, Tasmania

“Absolutely fantastic event. Loved every minute of it. Lovely people, amazing location, great trails. Thanks so much to everyone involved in organising the event – you guys were fantastic. Roll on 2017!” – Philip Judge, Queensland.

“Can’t wait to do it again! It was a tough course…that’s what made it so good! Thanks guys see you next year!” – Tracy Cron, Tasmania.

“Brilliant event. Well organised. Great facilities. Amazing track. Definitely doing it again next year.” – Kirsten Aylmer, Tasmania. 

“We had a brilliant time. Great festival and a well organised inaugural event.” – Emma Pryor, New South Wales.Tassie Trail Fest 16-9871

“We believe that the Tassie Trail Fest has installed itself as an slightly quirky, challenging, upbeat and iconic trail event for Tasmania and indeed Australia,” says Chris.

Also featured at the festival was Tasmanian local trail running heroine, Hanny Allston, an elite athlete who presented a seminar on training and nutrition, while fellow elite runner, Mathieu Dore, presented a masterclass on strength and conditioning for runners.

Organisers also screened the international Trails In Motion Film Festival as part of proceedings.

The weekend’s run festivities concluded with a 2km final time trial, a virtual sprint event in trail running circles, with the starter setting runners off at 30 second intervals and the winner not decided until every runner had laid down a time. That included the race organisers who downed organisational responsibilities for the morning to join in the trail fun and madness.

Organisers have confirmed the Saucony Tassie Trail Fest will return next year on the same Labour Day Holiday Weekend, which in 2017 will be 11, 12, 13th March. They are encouraging runners to enter once entries open in a few months and, importantly, book accommodation in Derby or surrounding towns early, as it is limited.

See for more details.


Tassie Trail Fest is supported by Dorset Council, Saucony Australia, IO Merino, Black Diamond, The Running Company Launceston, Find Your Feet, Run Goat Run, Cheeta Recovey, Little Rivers Brewing Co., Kooee Snacks Australia, SOS Hydration, Break O’Day Council, Veolia, Weldborough Hotel, VFuel, Wildplans, Adventure Types, The Corner Store Cafe – Derby, S Group and Tour de Trails.Tassie Trail Fest 16-0332

Larapinta strip

Trail report: Convicts & Wenches, Tas.

Conditions were ideal for the 45 runners who toed the start line of the ‘Convicts and Wenches Marathon’ on 23rd March. It was a cool and calm 10 degrees as the field set off at the 8am on the out and back course.

Now in its fifth year, this 50km ‘fun run’ winds its way through Narawntapu National Park, on the north coast of Tasmania, a 50 minute drive from Launceston. It is a true trail ultra-marathon, run completely on pristine Tasmanian beaches and coastal single-track. Dubbed the “Serengeti of Tasmania”, Narawntapu is also one of the best places in Tasmania to view wildlife. The National Park boasts a rich array of animals such as the Forester kangaroo, Bennetts wallaby, common wombat, a plethora of birdlife, those slithery things that runners would prefer not to see, and even the famous Tasmanian devil. Along with the 50km ultra-marathon, teams of two can enter as a relay (out then back), with the day also offering a 25km, and 12km race.

DCIM100GOPROAfter claiming line honours in the 25km race for the past two years, 23 year old David Bailey decided to take the step up to the 50km race in 2014 and from the start made his intentions clear. David, along with Queenslander Anderson Mocquiuti set the pace early along the first 6km stretch of the course which winds its way around West Head. This section of the course sees runners hugging the coastline along pine needle covered single track, rising up onto the headland and past some impressive sea cliffs, before dropping down to the first aid station and then onto Badger Beach.

DCIM100GOPROThe beaches along the course are flat, hard, and fast, with the race start being timed to coincide with low tide. After 5km along Badger Beach, the runners arrived at the 11km aid station ready to then begin the 7.5km stretch of trail across Badger Head.

DCIM100GOPROThis next ‘middle section’ of the course (7km) is a real treat as the trail rolls up and over the headland firstly to Copper Cove, then asks the runners to climb up and out of Copper Cove, over Little Badger Head, and finally drop down the switchbacks onto Bakers Beach. It is a truly remarkable trail to be meandering along with the ocean over your shoulder and taking in views of the beaches, coastal cliffs and rock formations, whilst also being able to look further afield at identifiable mountain peaks such as Mount Roland, Black Bluff, and the Dial Range which are inland to the west.

The field worked into a slight headwind as they covered the 7km length of Bakers Beach and headed out to the 25km turn point which saw David Bailey and Anderson Mocquiuti reach together. For the females, last year’s winner Amy Lamprecht was looking really strong and wasted no time at the aid station before returning for the back half.

DCIM100GOPROAs the clouds blew off and the temperature rose to a balmy 25 degrees, the wind also picked up slightly giving the runners a very handy tail wind to push them back along the course for the return 25km.

Leading from start to finish, David Bailey ran a near perfect race and took line hours in 3:51:55 whilst also setting a new course record, nearly 4 ½ minutes quicker than Aub Henricks’ 2013 winning time. After turning with the competition on his shoulder at the halfway mark, when crossing the finish line David had put nearly 15 minutes between himself and his nearest rival, that being second place getter Jonathan Worswick (4:07:35), with third place then going to Jarrod Shaw (4:11:37)

DCIM100GOPROFor the females, Amy Lamprecht was never challenged and smashed her 2013 course record by nearly 17 minutes in a blistering time of 4:16:35 (7th overall). Rounding out the top three for the females were Jennifer Boocock (4:50:30) and Kirra Lewandowski-Porter (5:12:12)

With 42 finishers in the 50km race for 2014, and now also offering the 25km and 12km versions which saw 61 and 17 runners compete, the Convicts and Wenches Marathon has grown in each of its first 5 years and is quickly becoming a ‘must do’ on the Tasmanian trail running calendar. Make sure you’re there for 2015!

IMAGES and words: Phil Beeston



Cradle Mountain Ultra

At dawn on the 1st of February, 55 enthusiastic runners were lined up single file at Waldheim, just north of Dove Lake, ready and eager to take on the annual Cradle Mountain Run (CMR). You could feel the excitement and nerves as a final roll call was carried out, followed by a countdown to the 6am start and before you knew it, we were trotting off down Tasmania’s iconic Overland Track.

photo 4

Runners approaching and passing Tasmania’s iconic Cradle Mountain at sunrise, approximately 4km into the run.

The Cradle Mountain Run is a one day traverse of Tasmania’s famous Cradle Mt to Lake St Clair Overland track. The beauty of this run is that it traverses wild alpine areas of Tasmania’s Cradle Mt Lake St Clair National Park and World Heritage Area. The altitude of the track in several areas of the plateau is greater than 1000 metres, which by world standards is not high, but here is well above the tree line. This low tree line illustrates the exposure and harshness of conditions that can prevail even in summer.

This is an estimated, not-accurately measured 82km trail run limited to 60 runners. The event is a Run not a Race and mutual help is an important aspect. Hills are steep, the mud can suck your shoes off and roots and stones make the going slow for the less nimble footed.

Cradle Mountain Run

Moving through highland button grass plains with Tasmania’s tallest peak, Mount Ossa, beckoning us on

The Cradle Mountain Run has a rich history, with the inaugural run being held on the 14th of February 1981 (5 days prior to the birth of this author!). Now in its 34th year, it was inspirational to see CMR Committee member Richard Pickup who completed the original run back on that day in 1981, toe the start line again in 2014 and make it all the way through to Cynthia Bay in an extremely respectable time! (I won’t mention Richard’s age, although it can be seen on the results page on the CMR website)

From the start it was clear that ultra and trail-running legend Stu Gibson meant business, and it wasn’t long before he had hopped over Marion’s lookout and was out of site. It would be the last time any other runners would see him until the finish line.

Cradle Mountain Run

Runners about to drop into ‘Waterfall Valley’, approximately 9.5km into the run

Following the 400m climb past the picturesque Crater Lake and then Marion’s Lookout, runners were greeted to spectacular views of Cradle Mountain as the sun was rising over her shoulder. After overcast conditions last year (which were ideally suited to running), it was a real treat to have clear skies and not a breath of air, and as we came along the Cradle cirque towards Barn Bluff the entire Cradle Reserve began to open up with mountains as far as the eye could see. It was a real treat to be running in the reserve that morning as we passed Waterfall Valley, Lake Windermere, the giant that is Mount Pelion West, through Frog Flats, and then arrived at the first checkpoint, Pelion Hut, 34km into the run.

By mid-morning the temperature had risen significantly following the cool start, and it was clear that management of hydration was going to be crucial to the success of the rest of the run. Lying in the saddle between Mount Pelion East and Tasmania’s tallest peak, Mount Ossa, the views from Pelion Gap were breathtaking before dropping down to Kia Ora hut. From there runners would spend the next little while (longer for some) moving through the forests before an exposed climb of Du Cane Gap, then would drop sharply down to the next check point at Bert Nichols Hut. Moving through to Narcissus Hut which lies at the northern end of Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, runners were exposed to the sun beating down with temperatures now pushing 30C. Unfortunately for a number of entrants, this would be where their day would end after approximately 60km in the bag, having to catch the ferry back down the lake to Cynthia Bay.

Cradle Mountain Run

Runners approaching Barn Bluff, approximately 8km into the run

Leaving the Narcissus checkpoint, the final 18km of the run would be spent trying not to trip over tree roots with our now heavy feet as we sidled Lake St Clair before the track widened at Watersmeet for the final 1.5km dash to the finish line.

Line honours for the day went to the in-form Stu Gibson who ran a PB and only the 10th sub 8 hour race in Cradle Mountain Run history (7:59:52). For the females, Gill Fowler came across the line first in 9:28:24, an hour clear of Katherine Macmillan in second place. The final runner would cross the line a tick after 9pm, 15 hours after we left Waldheim.

Well done to all entrants for 2014; although the track was dry and fast, it was a tough day in the office once the temperature began to rise. Also a huge well done and thank you to the CMR committee who put on yet another fantastic race day and weekend!

Words by Phil Beeston

Cradle Mountain Run website

Results page here