Run Larapinta - April 2022

  • Australia (AUS)
  • Off-Road Running

A Sensational Run Larapinta Stage Race

Press Release / 26.04.2022See All Event Posts Follow Event
Fun times at Run Larapinta
Fun times at Run Larapinta / © Forktail Films/Rapid Ascent

Passionate runners from across Australia have labelled the Run Larapinta Stage Race a sensation after completing four stages over four days of trail running on the most spectacular sections of the iconic Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.

Comments such as “that was the best 4 days of my life”, and “what a sensational experience”, were not uncommon amongst the runners.

The event was held over the weekend, beginning with Stage 1 on Friday 22 April, and finishing yesterday on Monday 25 April, 2022.

Many accomplishments were gained and memories were made in the Red Centre as the capacity field of 180 competitors took the trails each day in an event that was deferred from August last year due to COVID-19 impacts.

Based out of Alice Springs, the official course showcased the incredible terrain that makes up sections of the Larapinta Track in the heart of the West MacDonnell Ranges and to the west of Alice Springs. Highlights included a number of breathtaking landmarks such as Brinkley Bluff, Standley Chasm, Simpsons Gap and Ellery Creek Waterhole.

Featuring two different course lengths, the Malbunka long course with stages of 20km - 46km each day and The Namatjira short course stages of 12km - 26km.

General Manager of Rapid Ascent, Sam Maffett, said he was impressed by runners’ efforts, but also emotionally moved by the camaraderie shining throughout.

“Running in hot, hard and dusty conditions is a great leveller and by sharing the experience with all others it has generated many long-lasting bonds and friendships between runners that will never forgotten,” expressed Maffett.

Stage 1 began with a twilight run on the outskirts of Alice Springs to The Old Telegraph Station on Friday 22 April. Competitors ran on the twisting trails that lead to a lively finish line beside the Todd River.

The following day saw an early start for Stage 2 with runners completing the most challenging of the stages with from Simpson Gap (Malbunka) and Standley Chasm Road (Namatjira), finishing at the incredible Stanley Chasm.

Competitors were faced with switchback climbs and endless rocky trails as they traversed a particularly remote section of the course which offered a rewarding Red Centre experience, one step at a time.

“This was the BIG ONE... the toughest, the longest and possibly the most spectacular! It was great to see competitors rise to the challenge and complete one of the toughest days of racing in what must be one of Australia’s most awe-inspiring landscapes,” said Maffett.

Day three on Sunday 24 April began near the Birthday Waterhole for both course lengths, before finishing once again at the serene Stanley Chasm. Runners were taken up the steep side of Brinkley’ Bluff which tops out at 1210m above sea level – summiting the highest peak in the race that providing remarkable views in all directions.

“The atmosphere was fantastic and the land is beautiful – this is a special experience I’ll never forget!” said competitor Sarah H from NSW.

The final day of racing on ANZAC Day (Monday 25 April) treated participants to one of the most scenic sections of the Larapinta trails including another ‘take your breath away’ moment as runners climbed to the iconic Counts Point lookout, before an emotional finish at Ellery Creek Waterhole.

Despite bringing out the sweat, tears and smiles, Ellery Creek Waterhole was a huge highlight on the final day of racing with many finishers jumping in the water to cool off.

“Spirits were high and smiles of satisfaction were spread across everyone’s faces as they completed what, for many, has been the hardest and most rewarding event of their lives,” said Maffett.

“We congratulate all runners on their accomplishments over the last four days and hope they are as proud of themselves as we are,” added Maffett.

A presentation ceremony and celebrations capped off the final night with a highlights reel of images playing in the background as stories were shared and friendships cemented for life.

The Malbunka long course was won in a total four-stages time of 14hrs18min02sec by Tommy Goodall from Western Australia; with Katie Lovis, also from Western Australia, clocking a total time of 17:06:38 to be crowned our overall Champions.

The Namatjira short course was won by another WA runner, Julian Strudwick, and Leonie Montgomery from NSW in a total four-stages time of 11:36:39 and 12:19:17, respectively.

After such a sensational event, Run Larapinta has certainly cemented its’ reputation as must-do bucket-list event.

“We’ve seen first-hand over the past few days what this race has given each and every participant; from the trail journey itself, to their own personal goals and accomplishments - it’s no doubt an experience they’ll never forget! Thank you to all competitors for sharing in this sensational event!” said Maffett.

2022 will feature a second Run Larapinta Stage Race on 12 - 15 August with entries to this event reaching capacity almost instantly. Rapid Ascent have a self-imposed field limit of 200 runners; however a waitlist has been activated.

Entries to the 2023 Run Larapinta event will open in October 2022.

The event would not have been possible without the support from the NT Government which has helped event promoters Rapid Ascent market the event at a national level and reach capacity fields.

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