Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100

Hills and trails of Canberra

Explore the natural heart of Canberra, on foot – solo or in relay

2023 AURA Long Trail National Championship
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
State-of-the-art electronic chip timing
Post-event buffet meal for all participants
Full results published online same day

About the event

The AURA 2023 Long Trail National Championship

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

Runners can challenge themselves to attain the glory of completing the entire 100km solo; or else join with friends or colleagues to cover the distance in a relay team of 2 – 4 members.

Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100 2020 Video

The special 2020 edition saw a bounty of course records fall across the solo and relay teams categories


100 km

Start time

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


  • Till 5pm, 10 August – $130 Solos, $160 Teams
  • After 5pm, 10 August – $160 Solos, $200 Teams
  • ALL Entries close at 5pm on Friday 8 September


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

The route

Starting and finishing at The Rond Terraces, the route explores central Lake Burley Griffin, 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 a Trackprofiler navigable map of the entire course and a whole-course Elevation Profile, and download the whole course gpx file.

Download and print complete course descriptions, gpx files 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 the ACT map.
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!)

Event Information

For all pre-entered Solo Athletes and Relay Teams, compulsory registration will be between 1pm and 4pm, Saturday 9 September at "My Rainbow-Dreams" café, 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 number bibs and a race belt (for teams), and receive information on any last-minute course alterations.

Not all team members need to attend registration – as long as the person attending is able to deliver the race number belt and bib to the 1st relay member prior to the start on Sunday morning!

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 accompany the runner during leg 4, whether they start prior to 4.30pm or not. 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 Terrace (off Parkes Way, at the southern end of Anzac Parade).

Solo Runners will start at 6:00am.  Relay Teams will depart at 6:30am.

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. The race finishes where it began – on the grassy bank at Rond Terrace.

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, 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 - above the dead-end of Waldock St, Chifley, near the base of the north side of Mt Taylor.

Leg 2 / Leg 3 - grassy area at the end of Kirkpatrick St, Weston, alongside RSPCA.

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 water, sports drink and sweets, 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 Saturday, 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) Crossing of Dave McInnes Drive

Leg 3

f) Car park near the base of Black Mountain, off Caswell Drive
g) Roundabout at Fairfax St and Dryandra St, O'Connor

Leg 4

h) Mt Majura summit
i) Campbell Park (base of Mt Ainslie)
j) Mt Ainslie summit


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


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 4.30pm 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 4.30pm must carry a headlamp or flashlight

Most of the course of the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100 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 Access Canberra 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 horses, 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.

The course for the Sri Chinmoy Canberra 100 takes place in a public domain, and follows and intersects with numerous sections of designated equestrian trails. We do not have exclusive use of any tracks or trails. Runners are asked to respect all other path users – including horses, walkers and bike riders.

Horses are flight animals. The sight of groups of running humans can trigger this instinct. If you come across horses, please:
    •    slow down and give the horse plenty of room to get out of your way
    •    if there is no room and the horse appears upset, or the rider asks, please slow to a walk and move quietly past the horse
    •    it may be necessary to stop altogether to allow the horse to be ridden away calmly

Please be mindful that horses use many of the underpasses in Canberra – the ones out of Isaacs Ridge and the Cork Oaks are used in this race. It is dangerous to run up behind a horse in the confined space of an underpass and much safer to give them room to exit before running on. A frightened horse is a risk to itself and anyone around it and they have a long reach with their hind legs if they feel threatened!

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 100 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 - 1015    
Relay Leg 2 - 1445    
Relay Leg 3 - 1900    
Relay Leg 4 - 2400    


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. Relax with a drink, cheer on your friends, and share stories of the day's exploits.

There will be no formal awards ceremony, as many runners need to depart for interstate shortly after their finish. Awards will be presented as soon as practicable after participants cross the Finish line. 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 have been set on varying courses, as the event increased from 100km in 2013 to 105km in 2018, before reverting to 100km from 2019 onwards.

Solo Male Under 50: 9:33:56 – Brendan Davies (2020 – 100km)
Solo Male 50-59: 11:47:47 – Andrew Tully (2022 – 100km)
Solo Male 60-69: 12:56:17 – David Campbell (2022 – 100km)
Solo Female Under 50: 11:24:57 – Susan Keith (2013 – 100km)
Solo Female 50-59: 12:14:00 – Pam Muston (2014 – 101km)
Solo Female 60-69: 13:23:43 – Pam Muston (2020 – 100km)

1st leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:04:57 – Thomas Brazier (2013)
1st leg Solo Male 50-59: 2:24:42 – Glen Gielissen (2016)
1st leg Solo Male 60-69: 2:56:10 – David Campbell (2022)
1st leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:25:22 – Susan Keith (2013)
1st leg Solo Female 50-59: 2:38:11 – Pam Muston (2014)
1st leg Solo Female 60-69: 2:49:21 – Pam Muston (2020)
2nd leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:25:08 – Brendan Davies (2020)
2nd leg Solo Male 50-59: 2:44:19 – Andrew Tully (2022)
2nd leg Solo Male 60-69: 3:18:16 – David Campbell (2022)
2nd leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:52:51 – Patricia McKibbin (2019)
2nd leg Solo Female 50-59: 3:13:29 – Pam Muston (2019)
2nd leg Solo Female 60-69: 3:22:59 – Pam Muston (2022)
3rd leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:13:05 – Bradley Carron-Arthur (2014)
3rd leg Solo Male 50-59: 3:07:01 – Geoff Barnes (2017)
3rd leg Solo Male 60-69: 3:30:58 – David Campbell (2022)
3rd leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:43:41 – Susan Keith (2013)
3rd leg Solo Female 50-59: 2:50:17 – Pam Muston (2014)
3rd leg Solo Female 60-69: 3:32:18 – Pam Muston (2022)
4th leg Solo Male Under 50: 2:24:35 – Andrew Donaldson (2013)
4th leg Solo Male 50-59: 3:05:53 – Andrew Leigh (2022)
4th leg Solo Male 60-69: 3:10:47 – David Campbell (2022)
4th leg Solo Female Under 50: 2:57:02 – Susan Keith (2013)
4th leg Solo Female 50-59: 3:10:14 – Pam Muston (2014)
4th leg Solo Female 60-69: 3:37:45 – Pam Muston (2020)

Relay Teams

All-Female Team: 8:37:21 – "Cofit-20" (Fleur Flanery, Alex Grant, Elizabeth Humphries, Tara Melhuish) (2020 – 100km)
All-Male Team: 6:53:44 – "808s & Heartbreak" (Matthew Berrington, Alan Craigie, Harrison McGill & Hugh WIlliams) (2020 – 100km)
Mixed Team: 7:59:11 – "Big Chungus" (Bryce Anderson, Deon Kenzie, Philo Saunders & Keely Small) (2020 – 100km)

Relay Leg Records

1st leg male: 1:39:50 – Charlie Doherty ("Charlie's Angels") (2020)
1st leg female: 2:01:54 – Elizabeth Humphries ("Cofit-20") (2020)
2nd leg male: 1:42:57 – Ben Maccronan ("The Belco Boys") (2020)
2nd leg female: 2:08:21 – Petra Mossop ("Sparrow Hens") (2022)
3rd leg male: 1:26:02 – Martin Dent ("@runcanberra") (2013)
3rd leg female: 1:47:34 – Keely Small ("Big Chungus") (2020)
4th leg male: 1:32:32 – Hugh Williams ("808s & Heartbreak") (2020)
4th leg female: 1:58:51 – Louise Sharp ("running LATE") (2022)

Story Archive

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

Previous Results

  • 2022 Sep 11th
    Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100

    Our journey’s dawn prefigures our journey’s close. We set out with high hopes and promise, circle around in one wide yearning, daring arc, and end up at our starting point. Like a yoyo, no matter how far afield we venture, our beginning draws us inexorably back to its clasp. We emerge from darkness, flare awhile, and return into the gloom. We finish where we began – or, do we begin where we finish? Is the beginning already an ending, and the goal yet another beginning?

    From whence the sun rose on Sunday morning, striding to greet the runners’ start, so in fading sunlight, from the same quadrant on Sunday evening, the moon bestrode aglow to bathe tiring runners’ aching efforts in moonshine.

    And so, one might ask: “What was that all about?”

    Well, in between this particular sunrise and moonrise, quite a few lives were changed for good: changed through the pursuit of soaring dreams, faithful feet following glowing hearts, fuelled by courage, sustained by oceanic willpower. Victory was attained not by words, but deeds; not by speaking but by striding, inexorably to the goal. So, though we may have ended the day where we began it, we were not the same – we were the better for this day, thanks to the heroes who lifted us all through their superlative efforts. So shall we attain a better world.

    Old-timers have never seen Canberra so awash with slosh. Two years of record-breaking rain has raised the water table, leaving nowhere for fresh falls to escape, crafting new rivulets, trickling marshes and settling quagmires. Usually, runners are greeted in Canberra by ubiquitous birdsong: today, they were cheered from all sides by exuberantly chorusing frogs.

    Every solo runner deserves a paean in their honour, yet here we have selected just a few:

    – Pam Muston is officially the Queen of this event. She is now the only person to have completed every edition since its inception in 2013. Pam has won the female race outright, and holds the course records for F50-59 and F60-69. A fountain of encouragement, care and inspiration for all runners, her unwavering energy and enthusiasm – her sheer love of running – make Pam a beacon to all. Her 4th placing (and 1st F60-69) 13:26:04 is testimony to her outstanding fitness, peerless endurance and perfect attitude.

    – David Campbell, though a seasoned runner, made his first trip to this race to try it out this year, and certainly left an impression, carving 4 hours off the M60-69 course record with his outstanding 12:56:17. En route he set new records for each of the 4 legs of the race, setting a whole new standard for aspiring older runners (yet even then, only half an hour ahead of Pam!)

    – Andrew Tully has dominated the M50-59 category in the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Series races for the past few years, winning everything and breaking course records all over the place. Yet his longest ever race was a marathon – so to even consider stepping up to 100km was either impressive daring or sheer foolhardy. Setting new M50-59 records for each of the first 3 legs, reality caught up with Andrew in the final leg yet he hung in bravely, to set a new best time for this category of 11:47:47.

    – Many runners lead busy lives, yet probably none more so than Dr Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fenner and Assistant Finance Minister in a relatively new government. It is one thing to squeeze in the odd 5km run during a break, but to train for a gruelling 100km trail run is something else. Having “pulled the plug” at 55km in his first attempt here 2 years ago, Andrew had unfinished business – which he accomplished with aplomb, finishing just adrift of Andrew Tully in the M50-59 with 11:55:25 – also under the previous course record time, and including a new best time for the final leg.

    – Canadian Joelle Vandenborre surprised herself at her first foray at this event, to win the women’s race in an impressive and tenacious 11:49:03. Joelle ran down the early leader, Lindsay Hamilton (11:57:12), and held off Australian 24 hour rep, Alicia Heron, who took 3rd placing with 12:02:34.

    – It would be fair to say that Dean Robinson did not start out as a pre-race favourite, having never run further than his first marathon (in April this year), and not knowing anything about Canberra’s terrain. Not being aware of the challenges of the course or the distance, Dean ran from the front without fear or concern, to take line honours in a mightily impressive 100km debut of 9:55:45. We might not have heard of Dean before this – but we surely will see and hear much more from him in future!

    The 1st All-Male Team was “808 Redemption” (Jacob Grooby, Jack Brand, Alan Craigie and Alex Dreyer), who led all the way to set the best time on course today of 7:49:54. The next 4 teams home were all Mixed Teams – led by “Charlie’s Angels” (Charlie Doherty, Mohak Garg, Sophia Stevens and Lachlan Jones) in 8:19:31, closely followed home by “Windlabbers” (Andrew Lake, Ryan Leonard, Mike Carroll and Melissa Clarke) in 8:22:28, with an even narrower gap to 3rd placed “Healthy & Carefully Ageing” (Travis Haslam, Jasen Higuchi, Glenn Paterson & Fan Xiang) in 8:23:32.

    Next fastest All-Male team was “Troopers” (Hamish McConville, Ryan Hawkins, Kieren McConville & Ian McConville) in 8:47:07, from 3rd placed “Sparrow Roosters” (Jacob Mugavin, Pat Lucas, Jason Agostino & Dan Miller) with 8:52:47.

    The swiftest All-Female Team was “running LATE” (Tara Melhiush, Alex Grant, Elizabeth Humphries and Louise Sharp) who spectacularly failed to live up to their name, crossing the line in 9:04:24. 2nd placed was “Girl Gang” (Cassie Cohen, Jordan Anderson, Eleanor Boxall & Monique Andrea) in 9:55:30; with “Elevate Power Plants” (Jodie Clews, Linda Edstrom, Su-Ann Tan Burke & Sarah Gill) rounding out the podium finishing teams in 11:17:52. A special shout out to the eager folks from “Elevate”, who entered the most teams in this year’s race of any group!

    Individual female team leg records fell in the 2nd leg to Petra Mossop (2:08:21) and in the final leg to the flying Louise Sharp (1:58:51).

    Our sincere gratitude flows to the many, many helpers whose selfless efforts in concert form the cradle of care and concern that allows this race to happen. Canberra provides the outer landscape; our helpers and volunteers the inner heartscape. Congratulations to one and all!

  • 2020 Sep 13th
    Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100, Sunday 13 September 2020

    It turns out no-one had 2020 vision after all.

    No-one clearly foresaw the bounty of remarkable outcomes of this extraordinary year. When we were sheltering in our homes, borders closing in on us, with events cancelling en masse, there seemed little likelihood of …

    … a day (and night) for the record books: a record field in each of the solo and relay races; record number of volunteers to help; overall course records in 4 of the 6 solo age categories and all 3 of the relay team divisions; 6 of the 8 individual leg records for relay teams; a record completion rate for solo runners (75 finished out of 90 starters) – and even a record low number of runners getting lost.

    The weeks and days leading into the race were nerve-wracking for runners and organisers alike. Mountains of time, training, focus and energy goes into a 100km trail run for all involved – yet even though permits had been issued and venues confirmed, we all knew that adverse circumstances either locally or interstate could trigger a cancellation at any moment – and all the training and preparation might have vanished as a wisp of cloud on a Summer’s day.

    Spring dawned bright in early September, the worrying interstate curves were all subsiding, the lead-up week ticked all its boxes … and the day unfolded, step by step, dreamlike.

    Our first and foremost Gratitude is to all the volunteers who served at road crossings, drink stations and transition points from dawn till after midnight cheerfully, encouragingly and tirelessly. You are the beating heart of this event: every course record, every PB, every smiling finisher is your doing – your offering and achievement, as much as any runner’s. We all cheer and thank you!!

    Particular thanks also to our ACT Government, whose advice and directions have been clear and consistent throughout. Responsible and safe outdoor activity has been endorsed and encouraged, enabling thoughtful, careful planning for the sensible enjoyment of life. Hooray!

    The journey and achievement of every solo runner – including those who, for whatever reason ‘did not finish’ – each embodies an epic of aspiration and inspiration, of depths and richness far surpassing the vision of this humble race report to fathom or venture to recount.

    To select a few highlights at random – with apologies to every story and glory transcribed in pounding heartbeats, wincing blisters, churning stomachs, screaming quads and soaring flights of personal and shared joy, yet untold here –

    * Gretchen Smith’s astonishment to learn she had won the women’s race, expressing in tears of disbelief, relief and joy;
    * Peter Badowski breaking his own Male 60-69 course record, just 3 weeks shy of his 70th birthday;
    * Pam Muston cheerily setting an inaugural Female 60-69 best time to sit alongside her numerous F50-59 (and previous overall female winner) titles;
    * Brendan Davies’ sheer class – a winner for sure in style and speed, yet an even nobler winner in attitude, gratitude and humility;
    * 3 finishers under 10 hours (Dave Hardwicke and Matt Griggs joining Brendan Davies), revealing a new and exciting depth of quality across the field;
    * every first-time finisher;
    * Justin Hiatt’s elation at lowering his time from 2019 by 2 hours;
    * Nicole Siddon’s and Kevin Dodd’s glowing triumph, summiting in the pitch dark in 16:24…

    At registration on Saturday, several teams announced their intention to break the all-time race record, the legendary 6:59 set by Martin Dent and colleagues last decade. Some of the pretenders were clearly joking: a few were 100% serious. Could anyone sincerely have predicted not one but THREE teams breaking the impregnable 7 hour barrier, and another just a minute outside? For the all-boy band of “808s and Heartbreak” (Alan Craigie, Matthew Berrington, Harrison McGill & Hugh Williams – who brought the team home with a new leg 4 course record of 1:32:32) to run 6:53:44 was a sensational outing – yet an even more stunning result came next in 2nd place overall; the Mixed Team ensemble of “Big Chungus” (Deon Kenzie, Philo Saunders, Keely Small – who blitzed a new female course record for leg 3 of 1:47:34 – & Bryce Anderson) also breaking the previous All-Male record, powering home in a phenomenal 6:59:11, winning their division by 1 hour and 20 minutes, and thrillingly outrunning the all-male “Beer Mile Athletics Club” (Michael Daly, James Minto, Jacob Grooby & Sam Burridge) who clocked an outstanding 6:59:31. Special mention to “The Belco Boys” (Michael Chapman, Ben Maccronan – who shattered a long-standing course record for leg 2 with 1:42:57 – Etienne Blumstein-Jones & Jade Brady) who finished in 7:01:48 and “Yeah Maaate” (Callum Burns, Jaryd Clifford, Tim Logan & Vincent Donnadieu) with 7:09:29 – all of whom would have won the race easily in almost every other year – until 2020.

    With an almost-empty finishing area, most ‘spectators’ were following the race via the “live” results online. This virtual crowd barely had time to collect its collective breath before the dizzying performances resumed, as “Cofit-20” (Elizabeth Humphries – new course record for leg 1 of 2:01:54, Fleur Flanery – new course record for leg 2 with 2:19:54, Tara Melhuish & Alex Grant) ate up Canberra’s hills greedily and gracefully in 8:37:21, digesting the previous All-Female team record by over an hour in the process. “See ya later, elevator” (Penny Deacon, Natalie Budd, Nicola Connell & Isabella Comfort) were next All-Female team home in an impressive 9:19:54, from “KOOL Galz” (Amanda Cook, Ellie Barrett, Narell Smith & Allie Corripio), living up to their name with 9:29:30.

    The quartet of “Au Revoir Ankles” (Andy McConnell, Melissa Clarke, Daniel Oehm & Dominique Ferguson) took 2nd placing in the Mixed Teams division through their superb showing of 8:21:10; while the all-round class of “Charlie’s Angels” (Charlie Doherty – who set a new best time for leg 1 with 1:39:50, Laurie Brown, Lizzy Drennan & Mohak Garg) saw them taking 3rd with 8:22:37, despite the unfortunate setback of an accidental detour incurring a 10-minute time adjustment.

    Our admiration and congratulations to each and every participant, from first to last, and our thanks, respect and appreciation to the event medical team of Mike Corrigan and Corey Bacon, to Dave Osmond who rode the entire course ahead of the field to check on course markings (miraculously, none appear to have been interfered with this year!), to course sweepers Sean Conway, Tegan Musumeci, Ross Scott and Tim Craig, to Martin Fryer of FlyerUltra timing services, to the personal helpers of each solo runner, and to the confluence of aspiration, enthusiasm, support and goodwill from all supporters and well-wishers, yielding a day that will long shine as a gleaming star midst the gloom of 2020.

  • 2019 Sep 14th
    Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100, Saturday 14 September, 2019

    Returning to 100km felt like returning home. The distance fits snugly into an Autumn’s day, offering a challenging and fulfilling outer and inner journey, while showcasing enough of Canberra’s scenic beauty to remind us that we are blessed to live in the world’s best city for running. A record field (one more than attended the inaugural run to celebrate Canberra’s Centenary in 2013) enjoyed an unusually warm September day: Canberra gleamed in brilliant sunshine, fragrant with fresh blossoms, while a glorious full moon presided over start and finish.

    The headline solo performance of the day was Patricia McKibbin’s outstanding win in the women’s race. Never previously having run a marathon, let alone a 100km event, Patricia paced her run superbly – she was 17th solo athlete at the 1st transition – working her way through the field to finish strongly 3rd outright in 11:25:07, barely missing the solo course record by a mere 10 seconds: a promising debut run if ever there was one!

    At the other end of the experience scale, Pam Muston shone with another stellar run of 13:07:17 to take 2nd overall among the women and 1st Female 50-59 – in the process defeating all the men in the same age group. Mallani Moloney of Queensland was next home with 13:11:29, a constantly cheerful figure throughout the day. Allicia Heron completed the podium placings in the Female Under 50 with a solid 14:12:04.

    In a solo men’s field lacking obvious “stars”, with little consensus about a pre-race favourite, Nicholas Hamilton proved to be a “dark horse”, for though he resides in Canberra, very few local runners knew much about him. It turns out Nicholas was visiting the Arboretum last October, where he saw runners from last year’s race and thought to himself: “it would be good to participate in this event!” If only winning a race – or achieving any objective in life – were always that simple! His winning time of 11:01:40 was 10 minutes ahead of 2nd placing, the vastly-experienced Andrew Donaldson’s 11:11:00. Abhishek Tiwari, who had led the field for most of the day, bravely soldiered on after hitting a huge wall to finish in 3rd with 12:06:52, while Jonathan Miller took out the Male 50-59 category in 13:22:25.

    No overall course records fell today, though understandably – given that this leg was reduced by 5km from 2018 – the record for leg 2 fell in several categories, including Solo Female Under 50 – Patricia McKibbon (2:52:51); Solo Female 50-59 – Pam Muston (3:13:29); Solo Male 50-59 – Geoff Barnes (3:01:49); Male in a Team – Matthew Robbie (1:46:40); and Female in a Team – Ellie Barrett (2:27:30). It’s a testament to how good Brendan Davies’ run was in 2018, that he retains his leg 2 (and overall course) record despite 5km being shaved from the distance!

    From the spectator’s point of view, the most exciting racing came right at the front of the field with an epic duel between the 2 leading All-Male Teams, with never more than a few minutes separating “R-JAHS” (Hugh Williams, James Minto, Alan Craigie & Sam Crowther) and “Speedygeese #100” (Rowan Lewis, Matthew Robbie, Jacob Grooby & Sam Burridge). Their finishing times of 7:17:11 and 7:19:18 respectively, are the 2nd and 3rd fastest ever recorded at this race, and the fastest since the inaugural event in 2013. Both teams put great pressure on the organisers throughout the day, beating several marshals to their posts in the process. It was thrilling to observe such high calibre athletes giving their all in a great display of sustained speed, endurance and dedication.

    The quality combination of “Kool Galz” – Fleur Flannery, Ellie Barrett, Narelle Smyth & Allie Corripio – were in a league of their own in the All-Female Teams, winning in 9:37:45. “Ultra HARM” were 2nd with 10:44:17 (Heather Lawton, Rachel Venn, Alina McMaster & Michelle Gretch); from “Champagne Yaks” (Danni Farlow. Helen Morewood, Kristy Zwickert & Donna Hyland) in 10:53:44.

    The largest category saw 44 teams participating in the Mixed Teams. The winners of this division were Tom Driscoll, Mathias Richter, Justelle Coyle & Charlie Henshell posting a slick 9:07:59 to take the category from Kael Hulin, Daniel Carson, Carol Lander & Jonathan Chan (“Not All Who Wander Are Lost”) in 9:24:14 and event stalwarts “Formaggi Che Corrono” (Cam Macintosh, Denis Mungoven, Duncan Sheppard & Kate Chipperfield) in 9:52:50.

    From an organiser’s point of view, just as satisfying as watching the superb efforts of the athletes in this magnificent drama, is to witness the heroic offerings of the innumerable helpers without whom the event cannot take place. Our gratitude to the tireless medics from Sports Medicine Australia – Mike Corrigan, James Elwin and Corey Bacon; and to the phenomenal volunteers – including Michael Thompson AND Michael A Thompson, Terry Dixon, Jon Schol, Jen Bright, Jen Davis, Paul Mahoney, Nei-kiewa Close, Jeff Grey, Bria & Dan, Mhairi & Tim Craig, Anthony Newman, Claire Edwards, Andrew Blyton and Lyndon O’Grady – heroes all!

  • 2019 Sep 14th
    2019: Michael Brennan's Solo Report

    Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail 100 – A first ascent

    This year’s Canberra Trail 100 was my first attempt at a 100km race.  While not a stranger to long distance endurance events, the longest formal foot race I had previously completed was 21km, so needless to say I was coming into the event a novice.  In summary, this race is a serious challenge of mind, body and soul and this year was no exception.

    Friday night registration was a buzz of excitement and camaraderie as teams met (some for the first time) along with solo entrants to check-in. The My Rainbow Dreams Café hosted us all for dinner while every aspect of registering was overseen by a very proud Prachar Stegemann whose contented demeanor expressed: ‘These are my people’.

    Welcomed by a beautiful clear day, perfect running temperatures and very little wind – it was near perfect conditions for the race.  There was large group of solo competitors and huge number of teams making this year the largest field, eclipsing the inaugural event in 2013 by 1 runner.


    Andé and Mike at the start.

    What attracts me personally to endurance events like the Canberra Trail 100 is the human connection. As soon as the race was underway at 6am, the process of getting to know your fellow competitors commenced immediately. There is an intensity to the relationships that you develop while completing a race like this, especially as the day wears on, as your vulnerabilities are exposed.

    I was very fortunate to meet a very excitable, affable and genuine fellow at the start of the first leg named Justin ‘Timberlake’ Hiatt. An accomplished runner (including a UAT 100 finisher this year), Justin was very generous with his advice and was an absolute joy to run with. Throughout the day we experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows but encouraged each other to push through until the end. It was so special to meet a kindred spirit out on the journey, along with his Dad David, partner Ellen and Mum Jane.


    Mike and Justin celebrate the completion of marathon #1 on the ascent of Mt Stromlo.

    During the in between times I was also fortunate to run a few kilometers with Andrew Donaldson, who was competing in his 26th 100km event in 7 years! Andrew is an absolute inspiration and was happy to provide plentiful advice about endurance running. After the picturesque and challenging (i.e. traumatic) ascent off Black Mountain, I had the pleasure of running with another supreme athlete named Trish McKibbin.  Also running her first 100km, Trish’s mature approach and humble character will undoubtedly make her one of the ultra-champions of the future!

    In terms of my key ‘lessons learned’ to pass onto future aspiring entrants, here is my top three (all you experts can skip this bit!):

    1. Set Out Slow – aim to run the flats of the first 50km 30 to 45 seconds slower than your cruising pace for a 20km run. For example, if your cruising pace is 5 minutes / kilometer, set out at a 5 minute 30 second pace. Andrew Donaldson drew me a virtual graph that illustrated that fast is flat when comparing running pace over time.
    2. Walk The Ups – walk all the steep ups and even the little ups if you have been running for 5kms non-stop.  It changes your blood flow and gives tired muscles a quick break. Whatever you walk you will more than make up for in the flats and the downs.
    3. Practice Fueling – use your chosen energy sources during training sessions and do this lots. Feeling nauseous during the event was one of my biggest challenges.

    Justin Hiatt informed me that a lot can happen in the second half of a 100km race. The race winner, Nicholas Hamilton ran out of water during leg 2 and dropped back to conserve energy until he could refuel at the 2nd transition.  He was moving well when he passed Andrew Donaldson and me on the paddocks before Black Mountain and finished in a time of 11:01.

    Andrew Donaldson who was in 5th place at the second transition calmly worked his way through the field from the very start to finish second in a time of 11:11.  Andrew caught up with Justin Hiatt and me a few kilometres into the third leg, which is where we gave Justin some space to enter and dig himself out of a “dark hole”.  Andrew encouraged me almost all the way to the Summit of Black Mountain but has inspired me for life!

    Trish McKibbin caught me toward the base of Black Mountain and towed me over O’Connor Ridge until Lyneham High School.  Trish finished third overall in a time of 11:25! Another 20km and I reckon she could have picked up Nick and Andy – she was so strong and methodical out there.

    Abhishek Tiwari ran a solid race from the start and was only passed by Nick, Andy and Trish relatively late in the race to finish fourth overall in a time of 12:06.

    The start of the 4th leg was my time to visit a dark place myself, brought on by nausea and exhaustion. To illustrate, kilometers 80 to 82 took 34 minutes in flat terrain!!  Thankfully my friends Trev and Nat Fairhurst came out to help me take my mind off the pain – if anyone could understand what I was experiencing it was these two.  Another friend Travis Haslam then arrived to get me running again for a few kilometers until the start of the Mount Majura climb.

    The turning point in my final leg was the ‘wooo hooo’ arrival of Justin ‘Timberlake’ Hiatt who was back from oblivion and excited by the prospect of sunset over Mount Ainslie followed by a jubilant finish.


    Smiles back at 92km and cadence still matching...

    For anyone who knows Justin, his enthusiasm for life is infectious, and we set off again with a matching cadence as we had throughout the whole race.


    Justin got his sunset!



    All downhill now to the finish...

    Overall, there were 35 solo finishers from 54 starters and every one of these athletes made lifelong connections and has an amazing story to tell.  Take Anthony Miles, Morgan Pettit and Caroline Warner who finished together at 11.15pm in a time of 17 hours and 15 minutes – I am in total awe of these three and hope that I can hear their story of the 2019 Canberra Trail 100.

    A vote of heartfelt thanks to: Tash, Amelie and Ciaran for being my support crew; My friends who came out to cheer me on (thanks Dave, Mel, Ellie and Penny) including those competing (well done Heather, Alina, Michelle, Rach); Andre Camilleri (finished in 16:05) for encouraging me to try an ultra; Joe Howland for keeping my body functional, and to the selfless Sri Chinmoy team for yet another inspiring event to challenge one’s self and build the social fabric of our Canberra community.