Unfinished Business – Stu Gibson reflects on running, records and returning from injury.

Quite a few of us would consider Scottish born, Melbourne resident Stu Gibson, as one of our finest athletic imports over the last few years. A dual international at both distance running and mountain biking with appearances at the Commonwealth Games, European Athletics Championships and the highest ever placed UK or Australian at the Marathon des Sables. Recent victories at Bogong to Hotham, Cradle Mountain and last years TNF100 would be consider more than enough success for one individual and would have him considered as one of the best the sport has seen.

But not according to Stu Gibson.

He is very humble about his achievements in the world of ultras and considers the best the spell of ultra running this country has seen to be the 3 month period from January to March 1996 by fellow Victorian Andy Kromar.  During this time Andy was victorious at B2H, Cradle Mountain and the Six Foot Track Marathon. To this day, the record run at B2H and its 6hr 41 min time is still beyond the reach of Stu and his fellow trail runners who turn up every January to battle the heat, the climbs and the tough cut offs of one of Australia’s most famous races.

In the attached video Stu shares with us his views on the Australian running scene, how the growth of the sport can learn from mountain biking and IronMan, being a member of the Salomon Trail Running Team and  which races are still on his bucket list and his comeback from injury.

Stu Gibson and I were guests of Salomon International at the Kilian’s Classik

Like our articles? Take a second to support Ultra168 on Patreon from as little as $1 a month!

26 thoughts on “Unfinished Business – Stu Gibson reflects on running, records and returning from injury.

  1. Holy crap – Marcus found an elite ultrarunner who doesn’t make him look elephantine! : )

    Cheers for the post guys, great to hear what Stu’s up to. I wish he’d buggered his leg wearing Vibrams because then he could just swap em for a real shoe. Instead, he’s just a super-animal-monster-demon. Poor brilliant bastard. Can’t wait to see him back on.

  2. HA!! That’s awesome. You should register Ultra136. That’ll leave you 32 hours for sleeping and explaining that you’re not gonna be back for breakfast ; )

  3. the guy is a legend. once he is fit again it will be great to see what he can do. Would love to see him tear up the 6ft track and also see what he can really do at TNF100

    1. Thanks guys, Stu is a quality athlete who even though he was injured spent a heap of time helping out the other runners with advice and tips myself included during the training week and the Kilian Classik series of races at the end of the week. It is also so valuable to have someone like him be able to compare our sport with more mature sports such as where MTB is at the moment. I know we all wish Stu a speedy recovery as it would be awesome to see the trifecta of B2H, Cradle and SFT be achieved in one go ! As Stu says, this is a pretty unbelievable goal.

  4. Great interview guys. Great to hear Stu’s plans for the summer season, thou may need less talking about B2H – might get too popular!

    1. Bry I have tightened the entry requirements and the cut-offs bringing B2H closer to its roots. (One start time, 6hr cut at Langford.) This will limit the field size. It will never reach the pressure of the likes of Kepler for entry difficulty. Cradle is the one that will be the hardest of Stu’s favourite 3 to get into.

      Nice work Marcus.

  5. Bryon Powell eat your heart out. You are a natural Marcus, another insightful interview.

    We were on the verge of having Stu race RW Solitary Ultra until he succumbed to that injury just before. Alas there’s always next year.

    1. Thanks Spud, not quite in his league yet, but flattering all the same. On a serious note, do you think the Andy Kromar trifecta is doable in the very modern era ? And if yes, is it going to come from Stu?

    1. I think there are a handful of athletes with the potential to do it, Lee, Gibson, Davies, SleepTrain etc I think the real challenge is how to string them together over three months and completely dominate all three races. Its not like Six Foot is a cakewalk and has never been easily won. That is why Stu is in awe of what Kromar did, he raced the best, three times in three months and won. Having only run one of the races and seeing how each year we struggle to pick the SFT winner and time accurately, picking all thee is pretty special. On top of that he has to stay injury free and the resources to do it. It would be awesome to get TNF or Salomon to create a bounty for the slam.

  6. Totally agree Marcus, to turn these three races into a trail slam of sorts over these ‘shorter’ distances, would be brilliant, especially if you got a commitment from say 5-10 of the top guys on both sides of the Tasman to run it and some cash-ola behind it all.

    Imagine: Lee, Donges, Davies, Lukes, Gibson, SleepTrain, Matthews, and needless to say, 5 other guys going head to head in these races.

    Also do one for the ladies too, Frosty, Quinn, Cardelli etc… that would really get trail running moving over here in Australia and New Zealand.

  7. The effort and laser sharp focus needed to win just one of these is unimaginable. To even think of winning two blows my mind and shooting for three, well that would put you up there with Kromar. Nuff said.

  8. For me, I think the ‘real challenge’ is getting that many leave passes from the missus! My opinion, I don’t think it would be too difficult for a talented runner to win all three. Let’s face it, we are big ducks in a little pond here in Australia. Let’s say if you were able to get through the first lot of hurdles (work, family, money, other committments etc),and you had the opportunity to do all three, and you were trained up sufficiently, it could quite feasibly happen.

  9. agree with Brendan’s comment regarding big ducks and little ponds…..

    to win all 3 events in the same calendar year will indeed not be ‘too difficult’ however, to win each event in the times he ran in ’96 will be extremely difficult for any Australian based or international ultra runner…

    What perhaps makes this trifecta more unique… Andy was at the time working as a park ranger (a physically demanding job) had a young family and arguably was running B2H and cradle when the trails were far less ‘groomed’ than they are now…

    Despite the attack over the past 16 years from many of Australia’s top ultra runners such as Fryer, Criniti, Fattorini , Aylott, Goerke, Michelsson, Winsbury etc no one has got anywhere near close to his b2h or cradle times….

  10. Opening entries tomorrow for Bogong2Hotham so had occasion to look up Stu’s interview. Can I expect a minibus full of the team from 168 to come down this January and see what he was waxing lyrical about?

      1. Oh Whippet, I’d so love to be there, but I will have two babies around 2 weeks old, so think the missus wouldnt be too pleased with me buggering off to Mexico for a few days. Shame, loved the race last year, and would want a crack at sub 10. Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to try and secure a leave pass somehow.

      2. Good stuff Marcus. Better take AV out and introduce him to some hills as well, rumour has it he is unfamiliar with them. Missing Terry and the old fella. Has the old fella ever made the trip south? Big hole in the CV if not. He should bring the crazy kiwi (aka Happyfeet) for a tour.

        Dan, Northburn definitely on my radar. Trying to piece the heart back together to make it over there. Can you leave the babies at home though so we can all get some sleep?

      3. Not to worry, I’ll be on my own for that one… you will love Northburn. You just go up the mountain and then down the mountain x 3… It’s a stunning place to be at night.

Leave a Reply