The Falls Creek Mountain Raid adventure race and trail running festival is coming up this weekend on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February 2016, and competitors are coming from across Australia to enjoy this high country adventure.
The Falls Creek Mountain Raid features a two-day, off-road navigational adventure race for teams of 2 or 4 athletes as well as a trail running festival with a series of 4 runs.
The Adventure Race will include trail running, mountain biking and kayaking, and a few other surprises along the way. Approximately 30 teams are coming from as far as Western Australia and Queensland to take part, as well as several Melbourne-based and local teams.
“We are a husband and wife team from Melbourne and we’ve never been to Falls Creek before. Ross is an experienced multisport competitor but this is my first event. The short course is a fantastic opportunity to experience adventure racing and think about whether we could train for longer events,” said Catherine Fontenay from team Coup de Grace.
The highly-accomplished Team Mountain Designs will be competing in the Team of 2 category, represented by Gary Sutherland and Leo Theoharis from Queensland. Having raced in China, Borneo, USA, Sweden, Alaska, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil and of course, Australia, they have some impressive results behind them.
“We’re looking forward to racing in the mountains as most of our racing is coastal hinterland. It will also be good with the shorter faster format as it keeps the racing exciting and given you stop at night it’s a great opportunity to catch up with the other teams for a couple beers before racing again on Sunday. This is a treat for us as many of the other teams are our friends that we rarely get to socialise with (unless it’s on the race course),” said Gary Sutherland, Team Mountain Designs.
At this stage the youngest competitor in the adventure race is 19-year-old Oliver Porceddu from Melbourne who is competing in a team of 2 with his dad Daniel. At the other end of the scale is 57-year-old Rod Gage-Brown who is competing in a mixed team of 4 and showing that age is no barrier.
The teams will work together to navigate their way around this challenging adventure course, finding a number of checkpoints along the way.
With a Long Course (85 – 120km of off-road adventure) and Short Course (approximately half the distance) option, this event caters for experienced adventure racers as well as newcomers to the sport.
Falls Creek Resort Management will have two teams in the Adventure Race this year after their team had so much fun in the first two years of the event.
“We were totally exhausted at the end of it last year but I could not get the smile of my face for days and to this day we talk amongst ourselves about the experience with excitement and enthusiasm. Bring it on,” said Xena Pahina, Team F’N’L.
Held in conjunction with the adventure race is a series of 4 trail running events that provide the opportunity for keen runners to experience the spectacular alpine trails. Runners can do up to three of the four events and there’s also King and Queen of the Trails titles up for grabs for those who do both runs on Saturday and the long run on Sunday.
The trail runs have attracted athletes from four states with several runners coming down from Sydney and the ACT, as well as one runner from Queensland. It is expected that 150-200 runners will take part.
The field includes many first time trail runners as well as a few recognisable faces such as local runner Ben Derrick who is returning to defend the ‘King of the Trails’ title he won last year.
Also competing this year is international athlete Ralph Street, an orienteering specialist from the UK who has been in Australia since September. While here, he’s already won the Bright 4 Peaks event, the gruelling trail run at Vertical K – Mt Donna Buang, and clocked a time of 31.42mins for a 10km cross country race.
“I’ve been training at Falls Creek over the New Year period and thought the landscape was really fantastic. We had a couple of days where the clouds rolled in but not enough to cover everything and it made looking out down the valleys very atmospheric. I’m really looking forward to the view from the top of the Summit Sprint,” Ralph Street said.
On Saturday morning will be the 10.75km Alpine Ash Run taking runners on a journey above the tree line and along trails with wide open views of the high country.
Saturday afternoon will feature the quad-busting 4.2km Summit Sprint, taking runners from Slalom Plaza, up through the village and the Summit Bowl to ring the bell at the very top of the mountain, and then back down to finish at the event expo area in Slalom Plaza.
On Sunday morning runners can choose from the 19km Heathy Spur Run or the shorter 5.5km Falls Creek Explorer Run. Both courses will lead runners along scenic alpine trails featuring sections of forest, great views and fields of wild flowers.
Entries to trail runs will be available on the day. For further information visit www.MountainRaid.com.au