From humble beginning’s Running Wild was formed by 3 keen and influential trail runners in the Blue Mountains, Sean Greenhill, Rod Cutler and Phil Murphy. Formed to fill in the gaps of the trail running calendar of the Blue Mountains leading into 6 Foot, the organisation has grown beyond their wildest dreams.
The creative and crafty flair of these three got the organisation off the ground, working out everything from courses to after race bbq’s and of course the all important logo, thanks Spud!! A few other runners with various skills joined the committee over that first year to lighten the load and make it sustainable in future years.
In recognition of their effort, Race Numbers from 1 – 3 are reserved at all Running Wild Races for them and will be for life.
Have a read of the Season One wrap up from the President…
Season 1 Wrap Up
The idea for Running Wild came about shortly after the 2010 Six Foot Track. Rod, Sean and Phil got together and discussed trail running in the Sydney area. All agreed there was an opportunity for a trail running club to bring together trail runners and share with them trails that we had run over the years. A guiding principle was that the races would be low cost and offer opportunities to runners of all abilities. To bring the idea to fruition we recruited other runners that brought various skills to the table. Season 1 had a committee of 7 – Sean Greenhill, Rod Cutler, Phil Murphy, Luis Vazquez, Ben Berriman, Keith Hong and Mark Oh.
After forming the club we set about putting together a race schedule. We come up with the Mountain Series – 6 shorter low cost races that covered a diverse range of trail types – open fire trails, single trails, water crossings, ascents, descents and various scenic lookouts along the way. These races were a hit with runners keen to test their skills over the courses. Mountain races were staged in various locations including Mt. Portal, Woodford Dam, Wentworth Falls, Kedumba, Narrowneck and Bedford Creek. No two courses were the same, with each throwing up their own challenges. The beauty of these courses was the diversity – you could ask 6 runners their favourite course and each could pick a different race and state a case as to why their course was the best. What all runners agreed with was that there was a great community vibe at each of the races, with many runners staying back post race and enjoying the breakfast BBQ that was prepared for each of the races by Mel Parry and Sean’s mum. Entries for our first year far exceeded our expectations with Race 1 having 80 runners and the remaining events ranging in numbers from 60-120 runners.
We then turned our attention to our long course races. Glenbrook Marathon was originally a ‘fat ass’ course that got too big for itself. The course was modified and various options added so that runners could test themselves over 25, 34 or 42km courses. The courses are a challenging mix of single trail and fire trail and test both the new trail runner and experienced alike. In keeping with our races being the ideal preparation for Six Foot Track, we arranged for both the 34 and 42km courses to be ‘Six Foot Qualifiers’. We scheduled the race the weekend prior to Six Foot Track registrations and whilst this had its own issues with a hot November day, we had over 180 runners enjoy the three events.
Our second long course race was the Knapsack lap race. This was the idea of Ben Berriman who had trained and rode bikes in this area for years. Ben set a 4.5km lap course that tested the mettle of all runners. We chose Australia Day for this race and unfortunately we got a scorcher. Never the less we had over 120 runners tackle the course in both solo and teams categories. Despite the hot conditions, runners loved the course and the challenges of running for 3 or 6 hours.
The final race of the season was the Mt. Solitary Ultra. This course had again been taken from a ‘fat ass’ event many years ago which was called the Blue Labyrinthe. The course was reprised in 2009 when Rod and Phil went back out and revisited the Mt. Solitary traverse. After finding the old trails, word spread amongst other ultra runners of a stunning training run in the Jamison Valley. The enthusiasm for the quality of the course was echoed by many serious trail runners and it was decided to stage the first ‘race’ over Mt. Solitary. Race day unfolded with light showers and minimal visibility, but many runners exhausted from what we believe is the ultimate trail runners test of skills – flying downhills, gnarly steep climbs, rocky descents, flowing single trails, steep stairs, fast downhill fire trail, water crossings and a gruelling climb back up Kedumba to finish the race. The committee has high hopes that the 45km course will become a ‘must do’ trail race on the Australian trail racing calendar.
Season 1 had a committee of 7 that we likened to the ‘duck on the pond’. Whilst the races were a hit with runners, there was a lot of scrambling behind the scenes to make them happen.