Our Alexandra based athlete Glenn Kelly headed over to the Ultra Trail Australia in May, for another crack at the UTA (formally TNF100). Glenn shares his experiences below-
The Ultra Trail Australia (UTA100) is an Ultra running event held in mid May in Katoomba, which is an hour out of Sydney. They have 3 races on offer-22k on Friday and 50k and 100k on the Saturday/Sunday.
This was my 3rd time having a crack at the 100k race, so I thought I'd post some thoughts on it.
Well-I begrudgingly have to admit it- the Aussies have got a really great trail running race here-not talking about difficulty or vertical gain (the thing that draws me to most races I do), but Atmosphere.
It's awesome and something in my experience that is missing in many races here in NZ. It is a mass of people having a great time, in particular the running groups of weekend warriors from all over the world on holiday together-excited and motivated to achieve their individual goals. It reminds me of the vibe at the Great Naseby Water Race, except with 1200 starters (and that's just in the 100k!!), rather than 100.
As for the race. its hot and there are lots of stairs! It is a challenging race but doable by nearly any level of runner who can leave their ego at the door when things don't go right (which is me 3 time's now). They allow plenty of time to finish for 99% of runners and I'm happy to say they give a buckle or medal to every finisher now. Up till last year runners over 20hrs got a sticker and told "well done mate".
As a word of advice (or caution) if you run outside yourself on this course, it will destroy you big time. There were 250ish DNF's this year and I'd bet most were male runners who went out too fast!!!
Belt buckles are given to all finishers under 20hr (silver under 14hr, Bronze under 20hr) and these seem to be the main motivator for most entrants.
UTA race sells out really quickly but that's never an issue as people are allowed to openly sell their entry, usually on the UTA site and if you're brave you'll probably get it cheaper just before the race and after the no refunds date expires. I've never entered until April and its never taken me more than 4-5 days to get a ticket so its a system that I think works really well.
Who won? I don't know and I really care?
I'm more inspired by the Aussie battler next to me at the backpackers, who knocking and hour off his time and being totally stoked with a 22hrs finish. He was also sure thank me afterwards for going through his gear and removing nearly 3kg of stuff!!
Do this race its awesome!