Running Wild Race Report

Event: Mount Solitary Ultra (45 km)

Date: 4 June 2017

It’s hard to believe that we hadn’t had a race since Wentworth Falls on 19th February. Lengthy periods of rain throughout the year meant cancelling the Mt Portal event in March and postponing Mt Solitary from April. However, on 4th June, the weather gods cleared the way and this incredible event was able to proceed.

But it wasn’t just luck with the weather that helped to get the Mt Solitary race to eventually go ahead. Enormous gratitude is extended to all parties and stakeholders – notably National Parks and Wildlife Service, WaterNSW, Blue Mountains City Council, Snax on Trax, Tempus Sports Timing, Event Safety Services, scores of volunteers and, of course, race entrants and supporters – for working with RW to facilitate a fitting end to what’s been another wonderful season of trail running. Thank you one-and-all.

A race commencing at Wentworth Falls isn’t complete without frosty temperatures – and the fourth day of this year’s winter ensured the cold-race-start reputation for another year. Everyone was treated to a near-perfect winters morning for this iconic race. Traditionally held weeks prior to the UTA weekend, the Mt Solitary race is often used by many as a warm-up for their respective UTA event. Having re-scheduled to only a fortnight post-UTA, it would be interesting to see how those backing up were going to handle a quick turn around for what can only be described as arguably the toughest ultra event in the Blue Mountains.

However, before the dust starts flying, the Mt Solitary Ultra is officially opened by a traditional welcome to Country ceremony. The ceremony, conducted by David King and Mitchell Chatfield, is an important reminder to everyone of the significance of the country runners are about to pass through. It’s always a privilege to witness (and be a part of) a welcome to Country ceremony – and for that, we thank you David and Mitchell. The atmosphere generated within these few minutes – just before the running gets underway – seems to focus the attention and heighten the senses for what’s about to occur.……and the men’s and ladies races did not disappoint.

In the ladies field, seven of the first ten place getters ran on the UTA weekend. And, as if finishing in the top ten of the UTA100 wasn’t enough, Lou Clifton, Robyn Bruins and Gill Fowler continued their exemplary form to lock-up the podium at Mt Solitary. Repeating the slug-fest that we saw a fortnight prior in the UTA100, Lou Clifton and Robyn Bruins raced themselves to a standstill to (again) finish only minutes apart with Lou taking the honours six minutes ahead of Robyn with Gill Fowler merely eight minutes further back for third place. All three ladies finished well inside of the six-hour mark.

Like the ladies field, the men’s race saw a big number backing up from the UTA as well. Just to show how fickle and unpredictable ultra-racing can be, Loughlinn Kennedy ran a near perfect race (4:44:15) for a solid win after his UTA race didn’t go as planned only 14 days prior. Morgan Lindqvist followed a UTA100 top-ten result in a star-studded international field to secure second place at a smidge over 5 hours. Morgan was relentlessly hunted all the way to the finish from Furber steps by Roderick Chisholm – finishing third only two minutes in arrears.

Congratulations to all of the podium finishers. Well done.

Ask anybody that’s raced the Mt Solitary Ultra and 99% of people will readily admit that this is the toughest event they’ve ever undertaken. At over 3000 metres of elevation within 45 kms, the soul destroying Mt Solitary climb and jaw dropping views from the top together with 13 kms of agonising, quad-ripping, bone jarring descent from Furber steps to Jamison Creek and the seemingly endless, gruelling 10 km climb back up Kedumba all combine to make this course the ultimate brute and one of the most revered and imposing prospects on anyone’s racing calendar. Just having attempted this monster deserves congratulations and much respect to all.

The Mt Solitary Ultra has again proved a fitting grand finale to another season of Running Wild racing. It’s difficult to mention by name everyone who has helped with the ongoing success of our events, but as always – and appropriately so – our races are nothing without massive support from volunteers and race entrants. Deserving of further thanks and appreciation are the services that make Running Wild races the best value for money on the globe…. namely:

· Lucas Trihey and his team from Event Safety Services who offer tremendous support with their first aid service, knowledge and experience; · Peter and Simona from Snax on Trax are amongst the first to arrive and last to leave to ensure everyone gets their fill of pre-race coffee and post-race nutrition;

· Brett & Lisa Phelan for having RW merchandise available for each event; · Chris and the team at XThomas photography for capturing all the action; · Murray and the team at Tempus Sports Timing for accurate race times and results;

· Blue Mountains City Council;

· NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service;

· WaterNSW; and

· Department of Lands.

A special mention is saved for Elly Jane Chatfield who hand crafted the trophies for this year’s men’s and ladies race winners. Being hand-made ensures that the trophies are unique, which only adds to how special it is to win the Mt Solitary Ultra. Thank you Elly.

Some dates to remember

22nd July: Annual General Meeting. Springwood Sports Club – 3 pm.

At the AGM, all committee positions are up for re-election and we are always keen to welcome new people into the committee. Do you have a passion for trail running and enjoy organising races? Then we need you!

20th August: Glenbrook Marathon & Trail Kids. Euroka Clearing, Blue Mountains National Park, Glenbrook.

This is the first race on the Season 8 calendar for the big and little kids alike. Don’t forget that there is a 25km, 34km and 42km event to choose from. You can register now on our home page. Trail Kids registrations will be open soon.

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