Runners near and far gear up for Run Larapinta Stage Race

Monday, August 13, 2018

Runners from across Australia and overseas are gearing up for the 2018 Run Larapinta Stage Race, a four-day, four-stage trail running race along the most spectacular sections of the Larapinta Trail near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.


All the action begins Friday 17th August with a twilight night race and continues with racing each day, finishing on Monday 20th August


The event features races of two different lengths with The Malbunka being a long course option with stages between 20km and 45km each day, whilst The Namatjira provides a shorter option with stages varying between 11km and 30km over the four days.


Run Larapinta has become a drawcard for runners partly due to the powerful allure of the West MacDonnell Ranges with its incredible terrain for trail running and endless kilometres of single track stretching through an incredible landscape of striking colours and scenery.


This year Run Larapinta will be host to over 170 runners, up from 120 runners in 2017, with a 50/50 male/female split and a broad range of abilities and ranging from the recreational to the elite.


Lars Oppermann who is returning from Melbourne will set a new record this year as the first to compete at every Run Larapinta Stage Race since its inception in 2015.


Lars has run the Namatjira race (short course) at Run Larapinta for the past three years and says now it's time to step up to the Malbunka (long course).


“I like to challenge myself, and I enjoy doing multi-stage runs. I also love the area. I was seeing photos from other runners who had done the long course in 2017, especially from Day 3 that had scenery that I hadn't seen on the short course.  I thought it would be nice to see something new, as well as revisit some of the familiar places.”


Ballarat endurance runner Mick Marshall has included Run Larapinta in his Guinness Book of World Record attempt for the Most Desert Races Ran in a single Year.


“Run Larapinta has been on my bucket list of events to do for quite a few years, so it has always been on my radar. I have never been to the trail before and I am very aware of how spectacular it all is, I was looking for an event to slot in at that time and didn’t hesitate with Run Larapinta. Although the challenge will take me to a lot of fantastic places, I am sure that this event will be one of the most spectacular.”


Deb Nicholl from Brisbane tackled Run Larapinta as her first stage race in 2017 and after running 136kms through the MacDonnell ranges; triumphantly crossed the finish line as the first female and third place overall.


“Run Larapinta was just amazing. The four days running in the most spectacular area was something I will never forget with its mind-blowing, beautiful scenery. The event was so well organised. It was such a fantastic experience at Run Larapinta.”

Run Larapinta was first held in 2015 when 78 runners took part, 116 participated in the 2016 edition and over 120 runners competed in 2017.


Rapid Ascent General Manager Sam Maffett said he was looking forward to welcoming runners to Alice Springs for Run Larapinta 2018 next week.


“We love giving competitors experiences they won’t forget. The quality of the running along the Larapinta Trail combined with the incredible setting and the camaraderie between competitors makes it an exceptional experience,” Maffett said.


“Ultra marathons are growing in popularity around the country but there are only 1-2 stage races like this, so the Run Larapinta Stage Race is unique in Australia – it also provides the ideal opportunity for runners to combine their love of running with a visit to one of the most spectacular destinations in Australia, the Red Centre.”


For more information about the Run Larapinta Stage Race or to enter head to



When: Friday 17th to Monday 20th, 2018
Where: Larapinta Trail in the MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
What:  A 4-day, 4-stage trail running race along the most spectacular sections of the Larapinta Trail with two course distance options:

The Malbunka (the longer course):

  • Stage 1: 19km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station
  • Stage 2: 41km from Simpson’s Gap to Standley Chasm
  • Stage 3: 29km from Ochre Pits to Ormiston Gorge
  • Stage 4: 45km from Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder and Glen Helen

The Namatjira (the shorter course):

  • Stage 1: 11km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station
  • Stage 2: 20km from The Old Hamilton Downs Station to Standley Chasm
  • Stage 3: 22km from Glen Helen to Ormiston Gorge via Ormiston Pound
  • Stage 4: 30km from Redbank Gorge to and Glen Helen



Friday 17th August

  • 12:00pm - 3:00pm Registration at the Mercure Alice Springs Resort (Event Centre and Event Hotel)
  • 3:00pm Race briefing and official welcome at Mercure Alice Springs Resort
  • 5:00pm RACE START: Malbunka Stage 1 - Mercure Alice Springs Resort
  • 5:30pm RACE START: Namatjira Stage 1 - Near Schwarz Ave

Saturday 18th August

  • 7:00am RACE START: Malbunka Stage 2 - Simpsons Gap
  • 8:00am RACE START: Namatjira Stage 2 - Old Hamilton Downs Homestead
  • 8:00pm Presentations for Stages 1 and 2 on the lawns at Mercure Alice Springs

Sunday 19th August

  • 7:30am RACE START: Malbunka Stage 3 - Ochre Pits carpark
  • 8:30am RACE START: Namatjira Stage 3 - Glen Helen Resort
  • 6:00pm Presentations for Stage 3 at Glen Helen Resort

Monday 20th August

  • 6:00am RACE START: Malbunka Stage 4 - Redbank Gorge
  • 7:00am RACE START: Namatjira Stage 4 - Redbank Gorge
  • 6:30pm Official event presentation dinner – Glen Helen Resort



Event results will be available HERE  

Daily wraps and photos will be available over on the Rapid Ascent Ultra Running Events Facebook page HERE

Stage 1 photo album
Stage 2 photo album
Stage 3 photo album,
Stage 4 photo album


Enter Now

Media Information

Media passes are available to accredited journalists and photographers and entitle you to be positioned in a cordoned-off area immediately behind the finish line.

To apply for a media pass on race weekend or to simply enquire about access to editorial and photos, please contact Rapid Ascent on 03 5261 5511.

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