Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra

The hills and trails of Canberra

Exploring the natural heart of Canberra, on foot. For solo runners and relay teams of 4

Bathe in Canberra's scenic beauty
A bush race in the heart of the nation's capital
Race solo or in a 4-leg relay
The best way to experience this unique city
Well-marked, easy-to-navigate course
Friendly, supportive atmosphere
Well-stocked drink and refreshment stations
HEED sports drink supplied by Hammer Nutrition
Post-event buffet meal for all runners and helpers
Full results published online same day

About the event

Canberra has some of the best trails of any city in the world.

Originally staged as a 100km race to commemorate the Centenary of Canberra in 2013, this unique run is a celebration of our "Natural Capital" – part adventure, part scenic tour and part epic endurance challenge.

The journey wends through the hills, nature parks and open spaces of central, south and north Canberra, describing a wide loop starting and finishing at Rond Terrace, at the foot of Anzac Parade on Lake Burley Griffin in the Parliamentary Triangle.

Why not have it all? – this run combines the exhilarating immersion in Nature of a genuine trail race, with the convenience, safety and proximity to city services of an urban environment. Come and experience why so many runners choose to live and train in Canberra year-round.

The course is extended by 1 kilometre each year, to keep abreast of Canberra's age: in 2017 the race is 104km.

Runners can challenge themselves to attain the glory of completing the entire 104km solo; or else join with friends or colleagues to cover the distance in a relay team of 2 – 4 members.

HEED and other sports supplements are generously provided by Hammer Nutrition.

Check the entrant list to see who has entered the 2017 event so far.

Distance

104 km

Start time

  • 6:00 am for solo runners
  • 6:30 am for relay teams

Cost

  • Pre 5 pm, Fri 25 August: $130 Solos, $176 Teams
  • Post 5pm Fri 25 August: $176 Solos, $220 Teams
  • Online entries close at 5pm on Friday 22 September

Contact

Prachar Stegemann
0404 071 327
Send Email

Award categories

  • Medals for all solo finishers
  • Trophies for top placegetters in solo categories
  • Trophies for 1st 3 teams in each category

Proudly supported by

  • Hammer Nutrition

The route

The course for 2016 is very similar to that used for 2015. The additional distance required to bring the total up to 103 km has been added into leg 2, which now takes a different route up Mt Arawang (please see detailed course description).

Starting and finishing at The Rond Terraces, the route explores central Lake Burley Griffin and the national momuments of the Parliamentary Triangle, Parliament House, Red Hill, Isaacs Ridge, Farrer Ridge, Mt Taylor, Mt Arawang, Cooleman Ridge, Stromlo Forest Park, the National Arboretum, Cork Oaks, Black Mountain Reserve, Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie. 

The full course takes in most of the significant sights of Canberra.

View the entire course.

Download and print complete course descriptions and detailed maps for each leg.

We recommend the OsmAnd app for smartphone as a backup for staying on course. The advantage of OsmAnd is that it works offline and doesn't rely on a data connection.

You will need to:

Download OsmAnd (free version) to your iPhone or Android phone.
Download Australia map (warning - a fairly large file!)
Then you will need to download the GPX track for either the whole course or an individual leg from this site. You will need to open the track in the OsmAnd app. (Depending on your phone, this can be straightforward, or possibly not so straightforward!)

View, download and print detailed course maps for each leg:

Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4

Map 1 Map 7 Map 13 Map 19
Map 2 Map 8 Map 14 Map 20
Map 3 Map 9 Map 15 Map 21
Map 4 Map 10 Map 16 Map 22
Map 5 Map 11 Map 17 Map 23
Map 6 Map 12 Map 18 Map 24
      Map 25

 

Event Information

For all pre-entered Solo Athletes and Relay Teams, compulsory registration – including a pasta meal for all pre-entered athletes – will be between 5 pm and 7 pm, Saturday 24 September at "My Rainbow-Dreams" cafe, Dickson Place, Dickson (opposite the Post Office).  This will also the final opportunity to lodge late entries (pending the discretion of the event organisers).

If you have made changes to the composition or order of your team, you will need to have these recorded at Registration.  You will also sign a waiver form, collect race numbers and information on any last-minute course alterations.

Hammer Nutrition are proud supporters of the race. Please read their comprehensive Nutrition Guide prepared for participants in this event.

Replacement of team members is allowed, provided the replacement does not alter the category of the team (eg all-female to mixed). Replacement members must sign a waiver form at Registration. Also at Registration, names are to be confirmed for each member doing each leg. Changes to this schedule will be permitted on the day, provided transition marshals are informed of the change in advance of the leg concerned.

Solo Runners- Every Solo Runner who will be commencing the final leg of the race after 4:30pm, must provide his or her own helper/pacer OR must run with another competitor for this leg. Each helper/pacer may only be responsible for one runner. Helpers may provide assistance of any kind anywhere on the course, with the exception of pacing during the first three legs (ie running with the athlete for more than 30 seconds), or physically assisting the runner to move in a forward direction (ie pushing or towing the athlete). Helpers may touch the runner as long as he or she is stationary, and may assist with clothing, equipment, food & drinks, as well as motivational, inspirational and directional advice. Helpers may not interfere with or impede the progress of any other competitor. To do so will incur the disqualification of the helper's runner, even if he or she has no part in such interference.  The helper/pacer – with mobile phone, headlamp or flashlight – must accompany every solo runner commencing the final leg after 4:30pm.

Relay Teams - Teams must provide their own assistance and transport, which must be limited to a maximum of two (2) vehicles. Only members of a team can provide assistance to a team member in the course of the event. All other conditions are the same as apply to the solo runners' helpers. Any team member impeding or interfering with the progress of any other competitor or team will incur the disqualification of his or her entire team.

The race will start in two waves, from the grassy bank at The Rond Terraces (off Parkes Way, at the southern end of Anzac Parade).

Solo Runners will start at 6:00 am.  Note that sunrise will be at 5:47 am on Sunday 25 September, so there will be no need of headlamps for the early part of the run.

Relay Teams will depart at 6:30 am.

Please assemble near the start for final check-in fifteen minutes prior to your start time. Final briefing will commence five minutes before the start time for both Solo Runners and Relay Teams.

Sunset is scheduled for 6:03 pm on Sunday 25 September.   The race finishes where it began – on the grassy bank at Rond Terraces.

Upon the completion of each relay leg, it is the runner's responsibility to ensure that his or her number has been recorded by the timekeepers, before tagging the next runner (for Relay Teams) or proceeding to the next leg (for Solo Runners).  Besides these transition compounds, there will be several number checkpoints on each relay leg. These will be marked with a sign, and attended by an official. It is the runner's responsibility to ensure that his or her number is recorded by the official. Failure to be recorded at a number checkpoint will incur a minimum time penalty of 30 minutes. Locals will be aware of many potential short-cuts, but should remember that to take a short-cut may mean missing a crucial number checkpoint!

Race numbers are recorded at number checkpoints and relay transition compounds throughout the race. Anyone whose number is not recorded within a reasonable time will become the object of a search (and, if necessary, rescue) mission. For this reason, any individual or team member choosing to withdraw from the event must inform, or have their helper inform either an Emergency Services marshal or a race official at an aid station or a relay transition compound.

In the event of a relay team member being unable to complete his or her leg, another team member may complete that leg on his or her behalf, provided race officials are informed of the details and circumstances before the replacement team member proceeds. The resulting split time for that leg will not be credited to any team member, and the team will not be eligible for awards. Otherwise, the team may choose to leave that leg uncompleted and another team member may start the following leg, commencing from the advertised cut-off time of the previous leg. In this case, the team will be allowed to proceed, and other team members' split times will be recorded, but the team will be recorded as a DNF, ineligible for awards.

Each Relay Team runner must check-in with officials at the transition 15 minutes prior to their anticipated start-time. The team-member completing the previous leg must complete his or her course and be recorded by officials before tagging the next runner, who is then free to depart.

There will be full aid station supplies at each relay transition point. These will include water, sports drink (HEED), fruit, sweets, First Aid kit, vaseline, sunscreen (all of which are available to competitors only), and either public toilets or Port-a-loo.

Access to transition compounds is restricted to race officials, Solo Runner's helpers, media and team members involved in the changeover.

Transition compounds will be at the following locations:

Leg 1 / Leg 2 - the dead-end of Waldock St, Chifley, near the base of the north side of Mt Taylor.

Leg 2 / Leg 3 - Boundary Rd, behind the public car parking area, National Arboretum.

Leg 3 / Leg 4 - grassy area adjacent to the intersection of Phillip Ave and Majura Ave, Dickson.

Aside from the transition compounds, there will be aid stations offering fruit, sweets, water and sports drink, approximately every 10 km along the course. It is compulsory for every Solo Runner to carry a minimum of 500 ml of water or sports drink – 750 ml to one litre is recommended.

Solo runners who wish to prepare drop-off bags with special drinks etc to be collected at the transition points, must bring these, clearly labelled with their name, race number and transition number where they are to be collected, to Registration on Friday evening, or else to the start at least 15 minutes prior to the race start.

In addition to the transition compounds, aid stations will be located at the following points:

Leg 1

a) Hindmarsh Dr tunnel, northern end – end of Hartigan St, Garran
b) Crossing of Athllon Dr

Leg 2

c) Corner of Eucumbene Dr and Hindmarsh Dr, Duffy
e) Near Stromlo Forest Park roundabout entrance (Dave McInnes Drive)

Leg 3

f) Car park adjacent to Black Mountain Dr, after summit loop of Black Mountain
g) Roundabout at Fairfax St and Dryandra St, O'Connor

Leg 4

h) Mt Majura summit
i) Mt Ainslie summit

Restrictions:

For safety, NO RUNNER may wear an iPod, radio or other listening device during the course of the event.

Requirements:

For Solo Runners: every solo runner must carry the following equipment with him or her for the entire event.  This equipment will be checked prior to the start, and may be checked at other points along the course:

* Mobile phone
* Minimum of 500 ml of water or sports drink – it is recommended to carry 750 ml to one litre
* Every solo runner starting the final leg of the race after 3.30pm must carry a headlamp or torch
* Every solo runner starting the final leg of the race after 4.30pm must be accompanied by a helper/pacer, who must also carry a mobile phone and headlamp or flashlight OR must run with another competitor for this leg

For Relay Team Runners: every relay team runner must carry the following equipment with him or her for their entire leg.  This equipment will be checked prior to the start of each relay leg:

* Mobile phone
* Every relay team runner starting the final leg of the race after 3.30pm must carry a headlamp or flashlight

Most of the course of the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Ultra Trail Run is within Canberra Nature Park, which includes Red Hill, Isaacs and Farrer Ridges, Mt Taylor, Mt Arawang, Cooleman Ridge, Black Mountain Reserve, Bruce and O'Connor Ridges, Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie – as well as through Stromlo Forest Park and the National Arboretum. We are very fortunate to have been granted permission to stage this event through these areas. The authorities of Environment ACT have been extremely cooperative and helpful.

However, please be aware that this event takes place in a public domain. We do not have exclusive use of any of these areas, all of which are used by many people on weekends. Please treat other users with courtesy, especially walkers.

ALL RUNNERS MUST GIVE WAY TO ALL TRAFFIC AT ALL ROAD CROSSINGS. While marshals will be stationed at major crossings, they will not be stopping traffic, but simply assisting you to make a safe crossing. Please be patient and cautious. In the context of an all-day event, a short delay at a road crossing may be used as an opportunity for a brief rest.  Failure to give way at a road crossing, or failure to obey the instructions of a marshal at a road crossing, will result in immediate disqualification from the race.

Athletes must show due courtesy and concern for all users of public cycle paths, including giving way to all pedestrians and recreational cyclists.

All gates in Canberra Nature Park, the former Stromlo Forest and the National Arboretum which are normally locked will remain locked for this event. Where a gate is closed, you may open the gate to pass through, but must then close the gate behind you. Where a gate on the course is locked, it must be climbed.

Please note that all competitors who have entered or have been entered into this event online, whether as Solo Runners or Relay Team members, must sign the participant waiver before commencing their respective leg or legs of the race. Copies of the waiver will be available at each transition area.

Any competitor who commences a leg without first signing the participant waiver is subject to immediate and automatic disqualification, and is no longer deemed a participant in the event.

In the event that any area of the course is closed to the public for any reason – including but not limited to fire, flooding, traffic or other accident – an alternative route through or around that area will be sought, and advertised at Registration or else signposted on the day of the race.  In this case, it cannot be guaranteed that the amended course will be the same distance of the originally advertised course.

In the event that the entire Canberra Nature Park is closed to the public for any reason, the event will be postponed to another date.  All entries in an event thus postponed will be held over to that later date, or else may be redeemed for any future running of the event within 3 years of the originally advertised event.

The event is being attended by trained personnel from Sports Medicine Australia who will be on hand to treat injuries. Every competitor must carry a mobile phone.

This is an endurance event, where a spirit of mutual assistance will benefit all. No amount of planning can adequately protect a 103 kilometre course through bushland, and many sections are without medical personnel or marshals for several kilometres. If you encounter another runner in difficulty, please stop to ascertain their condition and lend assistance where possible, and be sure to report the situation to the next marshal you see.

All times listed are in 24-hour clock time according to Eastern Standard Time, which assumes that the race commences with the start of the Solo Runners at 0600.  These times apply to both Solo Runners and Relay Teams (even though Relay Teams commence 30 minutes after the Solo Runners).

Relay Leg 1 - 1000    
Relay Leg 2 - 1430    
Relay Leg 3 - 1900    

 

After these times, there will be no marshals, checkpoints or aid stations on the course, and split times will not be recorded.

Solo Runners: Any runner commencing the final run leg after 1630 must be accompanied either by another competitor OR by his or her helper/pacer, with a headlamp or flashlight. A sweeper will follow the backmarker throughout the course.

Relay Teams: In the event that a team member fails to complete his or her leg before the designated cut-off time, another team member will be allowed to start the next leg at that time. In this case, the team will be permitted to proceed, and all ensuing team members' split times will be recorded, but the team will be recorded as a DNF, ineligible for any awards.

The race finish and communications HQ will be at The Rond Terraces. Updates on results will be posted here from 3pm onwards. The nearest hot showers are available at Civic Pool. Relax with a drink, cheer on your friends, and share stories of the day's exploits.

The awards ceremony will be held at The Rond Terraces at 8pm. Awards will be presented to all Solo Runners who complete the course; and the first three all-male, all-female and mixed Relay Teams.

Check any of the following vantage points for stunning vistas...

1. Mt Majura (4th relay leg) 888m
2. Mt Taylor (1st relay leg) 855m
3. Mt Ainslie (4th relay leg) 843m
4. Mt Stanley (1st relay leg) 841m
5. Black Mountain (3rd relay leg) 812m
6. Sheaffe Trig (1st relay leg) 793m
7. Mt Stromlo (2nd relay leg) 782m
8. Mt Arawang (2nd relay leg) 756m
9. Davidson Trig (1st relay leg) 749m
10. Red Hill (1st relay leg) 720m

Note that these records were set on the 2013 course of 100 km

Solo Male Under 50: 9:48:48 – Thomas Brazier (2013)

Solo Male 50 and over: 14:11:08 – Colin Wiley (2013)
Solo Female Under 50: 11:24:57 – Susan Keith (2013)
Solo Female 50 and Over:

1st leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:04:57 – Thomas Brazier (2013)
1st leg Solo Male 50 and Over: 2:25:24 – Colin Wiley (2013)
1st leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:25:22 – Susan Keith (2013)
1st leg Solo Female 50 and Over:
2nd leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:45:28 – Paul Cuthbert (2013)
2nd leg Solo Male 50 and Over: 3:50:00 – Colin Wiley (2013)
2nd leg Solo Female Under 50: 3:18:52 – Susan Keith (2013)
2nd leg Solo Female 50 and Over:
3rd leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:27:19 – Thomas Brazier (2013)
3rd leg Solo Male 50 and Over: 3:26:59 – Colin Wiley (2013)
3rd leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:43:41 – Susan Keith (2013)
3rd leg Solo Female 50 and Over:
4th leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:24:35 – Andrew Donaldson (2013)
4th leg Solo Male 50 and Over: 4:28:45 – Colin Wiley (2013)
4th leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:57:02 – Susan Keith (2013)
4th leg Solo Female 50 and Over:

Relay Teams

All-Female Team: 9:17:56 – "Here We Go" (Aimee Davenport, Margaret Helmsley, Hannah Every-Hall, Tiffany Bonasera) (2013)
All-Male Team: 6:59:46 – "@runcanberra" (Matt Fenech, Rob Walter, Martin Dent, Philo Saunders) (2013)
Mixed Team: 8:10:09 – "Enough of the Puffs" (David Osmond, Louise Sharp, Elizabeth Humphries, Stuart Doyle) (2013)

Relay Leg Records

1st leg male: 1:43:25 – Matt Fenech ("@runcanberra") (2013)
1st leg female: 2:11:23 – Aimee Davenport ("Here We Go") (2013)
2nd leg male: 2:06:38 – Rob Walter ("@runcanberra") (2013)
2nd leg female: 2:30:49 – Hannah Flannery ("Formaggi che corrono") (2013)
3rd leg male: 1:26:02 – Martin Dent ("@runcanberra") (2013)
3rd leg female: 1:59:58 – Elizabeth Humphries ("Enough of the Puffs") (2013)
4th leg male: 1:42:58 – Stuart Doyle ("Enough of the Puffs") (2013)
4th leg female: 2:08:50 – Sarah Buekerfield ("ANU MC-Hammer") (2013)

Story Archive

Some of our entrants have contributed their own stories – you can read them in the Story Archive.

Previous Results

  • 2016 Sep 25th
    Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra (103km), 25 September 2016

    The character of a race is partly formed by its course, terrain and distance. Mostly though, it is forged by the aspiration, character and personality of its participants, its real champions.

    Central to a trail race of more than 100km are the solo runners, the dauntless adventurers who brave sometimes extreme physical suffering, mental pain and emotional struggles, bending their whole beings to the service of the spirit’s victory. The face of every solo finisher told a unique story of deep courage, intense aspiration and personal triumph. Regardless of time or rank, the fragrance of heroic deeds lingers all around the course: at every summit reached, every mile achieved, ever smile offered, every forward step taken. It was noticeable that those who were most appreciative of the efforts of the finishing solo runners, were the other solo runners: for only those who have been through the fire together can truly understand and appreciate the sacrifice, faith and commitment taken to reach that ultimate summit – the finish line.

    In the few brief years of its existence, Pam Muston has embraced this race like her own child. Winning a race from the Over 50s division is a rare and remarkable feat: to do so 2 years in a row is the stuff of legends. Pam’s performance resounded with experience – starting at a more conservative pace, and maintaining that pace throughout. Yet she also showed the value of loving what you are doing: by committing herself wholeheartedly and unreservedly to the course and the race, at the finish she was positively radiating, looking fresher and sprightlier than any other finisher, team runners included.

    With what would be described in horse racing as a “heavy track”, times were inevitably slower across the day. The effects of sustained rain in Canberra over several months has left the ground in part soft, sodden and slushy with occasional puddles up to shin height. Mud-clad shoes, a slippery tread and more cautious gait all contributed to a slower pace throughout.

    After a wet week, organisers were blessed with two fine days – essential for applying paint to dirt – in which to mark the course, and a cool, fine race day in which the only real hint of rain came in the form of a glorious rainbow in the late afternoon, like a benediction over Mt Ainslie as runners streamed up, over and down this noble sentinel of Central Canberra.

    Andy Isbister, hailing from the Megalong Valley and used to ups and downs as well as some slosh, was not planning or expecting to take a major trophy home from today’s exertions: however in a classic movie-script of “nice guy wins”, Andy toughed out some bleak moments to finish exalted with his win. Despite making up 14 minutes over the last 2 legs, Chris Oliver couldn’t quite reel in Tim Shakespeare for second place, Tim holding a 2-minute buffer at the close.

    The effervescent Gemma Worland led the women’s race for most of the day, until the twin peaks of Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie loomed Alp-like to thwart her charge. Fiona Renshaw had more left in the tank and took the lead to win the Female Under 50s wreathed in smiles.

    Glen Gielissen had set the pace early, leading allcomers, leaving everything out on the course and no “what-ifs”, eventually easing a little back through the field but still taking out the Male Over 50s from a faster-finishing Peter Komidar.

    It is somewhat random to single out the category winners for special mention, as every finisher is indeed a winner in so many ways, often overcoming greater obstacles and hardship than the more fleet of foot. So let’s pause and salute you all [cue drumroll…]: Pam Muston, Glen Gielissen, Peter Komidar, Geoff Barnes, Tony Tsoi, Fiona Renshaw, Gemma Worland, Jackie Luethi, Cheryl Symons, Andy Isbister, Tim Shakespeare, Chris Oliver, Daren McClellan, Brett Easton, Aaron Flower, Alastair Lang, Robert Murray, Michael Manfield, Damien Stewart, Stephen Kiley, Jamie Dyball, Adam Edwards and Aaron Bowling.

    Meanwhile, in a parallel universe coexisting on the same course, the relay teams were having their own battles, joys and disappointments.

    Our vote for stand-out team of the day – and most apt team name of the day – goes to “Mountains are Molehills”, the winning All-Female outfit of Clare Lonergan, Elly Love, Julie Quinn and Leanne Wilkinson. Kudos for defeating ALL the All-Male teams. Second was another fast combo of Sally Parker, Kate Vandenberg, Melissa Carters and Kate Chipperfield, “The Kate’s and Mel the ringleader”.

    Line honours – and first Mixed Team – went to the impressive line-up of “Massage One ACT”, with three very fast gentlemen in Sam Burridge, Scott Imhoff and Wayne Corlis being supplemented by former ACT Triathlon Champ, Michelle Wu running the long 30km leg. “Sparrows 1” were next in with Charlotte Burgoyne, Jacob Mugavin, Liam Lilley and Jason Agostino returning a fine race.

    The All-Male Teams, as is often the case, produced a great tussle, with “BMMC - Floating Goldfish” (Ben Berriman, Brett Phelan, Tony Kelshaw and Anthony Tuting) and “Once were cyclists” (yes their name is an accurate description) comprising George Bunt, James Meadley, Allan Sieper and Etienne Blumstein-Jones, going into the last leg almost neck-and-neck after 80km of slugging it out, only for the former cyclists to find the extra required in the final push for home.

    The one comment heard more than any other at the finish line was: “Please thank all the volunteers; they were fantastic!” We couldn’t agree more – a huge cheer of gratitude for all the volunteer aid station attendants, road crossing marshals and transition officials, including Tom Landon-Smith, Carinna Tong, Peter Lockey, Nic Bendeli, Phil & Belinda Essam, Billly Pearce, Rhian Blackwell, Jon Schol, Rosemary Morgan, Ulricke Schumann, Michael Thompson, Sarah Murphy, Sue & Norm and the many helpers from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team of Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. Our very special gratitude to Dave Osmond, who rode the entire course in advance of the lead runner, to check on and replace missing course markings – a critical and priceless service. Thanks also to our medical staff of Bradley Close, Bruce Faraday and Michael Corrigan from Sports Medicine Australia.

    Enjoy this video from Peter Komidar, solo runner...

    in 2017, Canberra will turn 104 …

  • 2016 Sep 25th
    2016: Peter Komidar's solo race report

    2016 Peter Komidar’s Race Report: Race Run and Lessons Learnt

    The Sri Chinmoy 103 was my first ever 100 km race. So far this year, I’ve run a few marathons and a couple of 50 km ultras. But I’ve never actually run further than 54 km in my entire life and 54 km is not 103 km. Not even remotely.

    Or to put it another way, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know if my training had been sufficient. I didn’t know if my nutrition plan was adequate. And I didn’t have the faintest idea whether my race plan was even ballpark.

    So for me the SC103 would be a great lesson in running an ultra.

    First Stage: Rond Terraces to Mt Taylor: Race Plan Rookie Errors

    I now know that you can make a lot of errors when running a marathon or a 50 km ultra that don’t catch up with you because by the time the seeds you’ve sown have grown, flowered and born fruit, you are already beyond the finish line having steak, chips and a beer. But in a 103 km ultra there’s plenty of time to bring in your harvest and believe me, you’re gonna dine out on that fruit!

    What errors? Well in this part of the race I made two key mistakes.

    Firstly, I went out too fast. I knew I was going too fast. I even recited Hal Koerner’s mantra “if you think you are going too slow at the start of a race, slow down!” But nearly everyone was shooting along at a sub-six minute pace – when I had planned to run the first stage at between 6:30 and 7:00. I figured that they must know something I didn’t, so I upped my pace.

    Secondly, I have this thing …. I love running downhill fast, particularly on technical trails. It’s the number one thing I love about running. And I just can’t avoid indulging myself in this habit. And the downhill at Isaac’s Ridge is particularly technical and particularly steep. It just begged to be conquered. And as I mentioned before – in all the other races I’d previously run, flying downhill had caused me no problems. Not so for a 103 km race it turns out.

    Second Stage: Mt Taylor to the Arboretum: Bring on the Sugar

    According to my race plan, the second stage was where I would slowly stretch out, building up the pace and getting in that ‘business as usual’ frame of mind. Only, my legs were feeling a bit tight and running down hill wasn’t as appealing anymore. I let up the pace a little and hoped the kinks would work themselves out. Remember those seeds. They were sprouting and growing just fine thank you very much.

    By the time I reached the Transition Point 2 was way more sore and tired than I should have been. And that brings me to my nutrition plan. I won’t bore you with the technical details. But long story short, because of this growing tiredness I decided to throw out the plan and eat sugar instead. It would be a carb-driven second half … and I don’t normally eat sugar! In a long race, the thing with gels and lemonade and lollies is, they make you feel queasy. So now I had something else to add to my growing list of bodily complaints. But hey, they give you energy.

    Third Stage – Arboretum to Hackett: The Wheels Fall Off

    The first half of this stage has some super technical trails and according to my race plan, the fun of running the trails would mitigate feeling the wear and tear on the body. In practice, by the time I got to the top of Black Mountain and started the decent, my quads had blown and my calves were occasionally spasming. I couldn’t run down hill. And those technical trails, forget it, I didn’t have the control over my feet necessary for that stuff. So I just bit down on that bitter fruit and slugged it out. And if truth be told I almost DNFed several times. Oh I had it all worked out. As soon as I got to a road I’d ring my wife and get her to pick me up. But I still kept running and slowly, almost imperceptibly, my legs got better. Soon I was running at an acceptable pace, especially once I got to the bike paths. Take that Black Dog!

    Fourth Stage – Hackett to the Finish Line: Matters of Mind Over Matter

    As I left the third Transition Point, I seriously doubted I would be able to finish. But still I kept running. Well more like fast walking at this point. You see, I could run on the flats but uphill was too exhausting and downhill was agony. So I ran where I could and power walked the hills. Once I got to the summit of Mt Majura I began experimenting with my gait. Surely there was some way of running downhill that didn’t hurt. And finally, I found that if I ran with baby steps there was little if any pain. And once I started to run I was able to keep running. Of course, I was in no shape to run up Mt Ainslie, but the rest I could do. Not fast. But it was running and for the first time since the Telstra Tower, I thought I might just finish this race.

    And so 13 hours and 38 minutes after starting, I crossed the finish line. And what a surprise it was when I received the trophy for second 50+ male and seventh solo runner overall!

    Conclusion – Its Not What You Know, Its Who You Know.

    So despite my many mistakes, I made it. But apart for my bloody mindedness, real responsibility for that rests not with the guy making all the mistakes, but with two other people.

    My support crew (aka my wife Sharon) who was there at every Transition Point, feeding me, making sure I had everything in order, and packing me off again with encouraging words. She’s a marvel!

    And also my pacer, Chris Toyne. Before the race, I thought the job of a pacer was to make sure I didn’t get lost and to gee me up if I needed it. Chris proved that a good pacer can do so much more. Sure, he engaged me in chat to take my mind off my aching body. But I’m a shy introvert and Chris didn’t try to fill all the awkward empty spaces with words. Chris would remind me every 40 or so minutes that I needed to chug down another revolting gel (my stomach was in open revolt at this stage). When he thought I could go a little faster he would just start running a little bit ahead of me. Nothing said. And invariably I’d pick up the pace, most of the time without even noticing. And as we were running down Mt Ainslie in the dark, he was in front, pointing out steps, rocks and bumps in the path which my addled brain might not pick up.

    So in the end I made it. But without Sharon or Chris, I’m sure my mistakes would have well and truly caught up with me.

  • 2015 Sep 27th
    Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Ultra, 102km, 27 September 2015

    When a perfect day comes, you just have to cherish it. You know there will be wet, cold or super-hot, dusty and blustery days when just to put one foot in front of the other is a supreme effort – so when the sky is blue, the air calm and the sun mild; when birds are singing, balloons hovering and the very trees are smiling … these are days to be grateful for.

    50 solo runners and 72 relay teams lined up at The Rond Terraces on Lake Burley Griffin for the dawn start, to venture forth along Canberra’s tracks and trails, wending an enormous circular route around the nation’s capital, cresting the peak of almost every hill and savouring a smorgasbord of superb vistas along the way. 102 kilometres would honour the 102 years this wonderful city has graced the Limestone Pains.

    Paul Cuthbert and Sarah Fien are locals who know these trails better than most. Paul had come in second place both years this event has previously been held – in 2013 and 2014 – and this year, though his 10:17:57 was slower due to a more challenging course, his persistence triumphed with a front-running victory, having led the field from the first 100 metres. Sarah had also experienced disappointment here, having been forced to withdraw last year, but came back stronger and more determined, winning the women’s race in 11:35:18. placing her 7th outright. Both looked fresh and relaxed throughout the race, never more so than at the finish line.

    Rob Mason (10:45:06) and Andrew Donaldson (10:55:46) both came in under the 11 hour mark, both working their way through the field to finish “on a roll.” Glenn Gielissen took out the Men 50-59 category in 14:07:37; and last year’s women’s winner, Pam Muston the Women’s 50-59 in an excellent 13:21:09. Deep respect and congratulations to all solo runners for their courage, vision, faith and heroism which permeated the whole race and only intensified the beauty and glory of this memorable day.

    Having tasted winning teams in previous years, Martin Dent and Rob Walter decided to handicap themselves this year by each running twice as far as their competitors in the All-Male teams. Each ran 2 of the 4 legs for Team “2614”, and found it very demanding to back up for a second leg, yet still ran out convincing winners in 8:13:40 – 40 minutes clear of their rivals. Martin’s 1:59:38 was over 10 minutes clear in the 29.3 km leg 2.

    Team “Malteesers” were convincing winners in the All-Female teams category, winning by 50 minutes. Tiffany Bonasera, Margaret Hemsley, Kyralee Bunt and Alison Mungoven were each in the top few for their legs, their combination proving unbeatable this day.

    The “race du jour” was in the Mixed Teams category, between “StuLouElizDave” (David Osmond, Elizabeth Humphries, Louise Sharp and Stuart Doyle), and “The anu’s” (Joelle Ducommun-Dit-Verron, Richard Skelton, Jessica Amies and Emmanuel David). Both teams sprinted out at the start, with Dave and Joelle running the fastest male and female times for this leg. The anu’s drew away on leg 2, as Richard took the fastest male time for this leg and Jessica went further ahead on leg 3. Heading out of T3, Stuart was faced with a 9-minute deficit (abetted by Louise managing to run an additional few scenic km), and ran his heart out over Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie to bring his team victory by a mere 90 seconds.

    Gratitude to all helpers, supporters, onlookers and well-wishers: especially to the Gungahlin SES; to Sports Medicine Australia; Triathlon ACT for the loan of equipment; to the staff of NCA, Environment ACT, the National Arboretum Canberra and Stromlo Forest Park; Martin Fryer for designing an outstanding course; the course markers, sweepers and clearers; to the transition and drink station attendants and marshals; to Shane Rattenbury for presenting the awards and supporting the race so wholeheartedly.

    Enjoy Steve Hanley's photos of the day, along with the SCMT photo album from all over the course.

    The race will return next year, maturing as Canberra does, to 103…

  • 2014 Sep 28th
    Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run, Canberra, 28 September 2014 – Results

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    The Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run was staged in and around Canberra on Sunday 28 September 2014.  Full results, both overall and by category follow, along with the top 3 times for each leg by category:

    Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run, 28 September 2014, full results by category including leg split times>>

    Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run, 28 September 2014, full results overall including leg split times>>

    Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run, 28 September 2014, top 3 times for each leg by category>>