Geelong pair Luke Haines and Chris Kennedy from Team Revolutions Fitness Studio were the fastest to navigate their way around the Alpine Region at Falls Creek this weekend to take out the Falls Creek Mountain Raid Adventure Race for 2016, the 3rd edition of this event.
The Falls Creek Mountain Raid on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February featured a two-day, off-road navigational adventure race as well as a trail running festival with a series of 4 runs. Conditions were picture-perfect as the athletes explored the stunning Alpine Region.
The event tested the physical endurance and mental toughness of 34 adventure race teams who came from across Australia to enjoy this high country adventure involving trail running, mountain biking and kayaking, and a few other surprises along the way.
“It’s not necessarily the fittest and strongest team that wins; quite often it’s the smartest,” said John Jacoby, Race Director, Rapid Ascent.
Team Revolutions Fitness Studio went out strong from the start, navigated well through the technical sections and had a convincing lead at the end of Day 1. They consolidated this lead on Day 2, which featured the new Falls Creek mountain bike trails, to win the Teams of 2 category and also finish ahead of the Teams of 4.
“We tried to just take it out as hard as we could from the start to get a good lead and get far enough in front that the other teams couldn’t follow us,” said Luke, Team Revolutions Fitness Studio, from Geelong.
“The ride down to Bogong Village was really rocky and technical but we worked together really well as a team. It’s an awesome spot here at Falls Creek. Today’s mountain bike with the single trails and downhill sections was the favourite section. The views are great with Feathertop and Hotham in the distance, and the Rocky Valley Lake is such a great place to paddle. It was really good fun and we’ll be back next year,” he said.
With a Long Course (85 – 120km of off-road adventure) and Short Course (approximately half the distance) option, the competitor list varied from the elite through to first-timers.
“It’s the first time we’ve done this event. The scenery was gorgeous and the mountain biking today was definitely a highlight on the single track. We had a few laughs out there, it’s been awesome,” said Melissa, Team Traces of Nuts, from Sydney.
Held in conjunction with the adventure race was a series of 4 trail running events that provided the opportunity for 160 keen runners to experience the spectacular alpine trails.
On Saturday morning the 10.75km Alpine Ash Run took runners on a scenic journey above the tree line. Saturday afternoon saw the bravest runners tackle the quad-busting 4.2km Summit Sprint.
On Sunday morning runners chose between the 19km Heathy Spur Run or the shorter 5.5km Falls Creek Explorer Run, both featured scenic trails through sections of forest and fields of wild flowers.
Ralph Street, an orienteering specialist from the UK, proved too strong for the locals and won the main three trail running events, scoring the King of the Trails title in the process. Kelly Jarrett from Melbourne dominated the women’s field, winning both trail runs on Saturday and finishing second in the long run on Sunday morning, enabling her to claim the Queen of the Trails title.
“It was lovely up there. All I could hear was my feet and my breathing, it was really nice. We could see the adventure race teams paddling on the lake and passed a couple on the trails so that was pretty cool. It’s been such a fun weekend and I definitely want to come back,” said Ralph Street.
“It’s absolutely stunning up there. I’ve never been up here running before and the trails were perfect. A group of us have come up together and we’re really pleased we came; it’s been a great weekend away,” said Rachel Whitsed.
ADVENTURE RACE WINNERS
The following results show adjusted times once time credits have been applied for reaching optional checkpoints.
2-Day – Long Course – Teams of 2
1. Team Revolutions Fitness Studio – Luke Haines and Chris Kennedy – 7:54.53
2. Team Mountain Designs – Gary Sutherland and Leo Theoharis – 14:21.35
3. Team JAAL – Alan Leenaerts and Jayden Thrush - 12:12.11
2-Day – Long Course – Teams of 4
1. Team Adventure Junkie - Serge Kurov, Hugh Stodart, Josh Street and Bernadette Dornom – 8:03.00
2. Team Peak Adventure – Mitch Bodycoat, Jacob Storey, Thierry Ellena and Kathryn Preston – 8:28.11
3. Team Traces of Nuts – Luke Nuttall, Melissa Nuttall, Az Roberts and Sam Walker – 10:39.23
2-Day – Short Course – Teams of 2
Tri Adventure Girls – Jan Leverton and Shan McGrath – 6:06.15
2-Day – Short Course – Teams of 4
Team Yackandandah – Suzanne McIntosh, Damian Wall, Cherie Vontein and Brian Vontein – 7:19.59
1-Day – Short Course – Teams of 2
Team Burston – John Burston and Matthew Burston - 6:53.27
1-Day – Short Course – Teams of 4
#FALCS4LYF – Tristan Ferris, Tony Donnolley, Carl Evans and Michael McInerney - 6:21.08
TRAIL RUN WINNERS
10.75km Alpine Ash Run
• Male – Ralph Street 00:46.42
• Female – Kelly Jarrett 00:59.05
4.2km Summit Sprint
• Male – Ralph Street 00:18.54
• Female – Kelly Jarrett 00:24.53
19km Heathy Spur Run
• Male – Ralph Street 1:19.21
• Female – Kylee Woods 1:39.48
5.5km Falls Creek Explorer
• Male – Fin McRae 00:36.48
• Female – Natalie Saunders 00:37.47
Check out the event video here
Check out the photos highlights here