As if you didn’t notice, we were down in Bright this weekend covering Australia’s first Sky Race and what a day it was. No-one paid us to go down, we went down purely because this was the most stacked field we’ve seen in an ultra in Australia. If you wanted to test yourself against pretty much the best of the best, then this was the race to do it in. We were also very lucky to have one of the best ultra runners in the world grace our trails too. I don’t say this lightly, and I know this is something he’d never say himself given his humility, but I rank Dakota up there in the top three ultra runners in the world.
It’s fantastic that Sky Running is now officially in Australia, giving people a taster for what it’s like to undertake these kind of races in Europe, the birthplace of SkyRunning. The course was suitably brutal with 4,500m of climbing and the same decent over 75kms, with the last 15kms being a killer apparently! We have a long way to go yet, but the interest and desire is there, as shown through the faces of 350 people who signed up for quad-thrashing vertical.
Given the fact that pretty much everyone who’s read our Facebook page knows what happened in the race, we thought we’d take a different approach and simply post pictures from the day instead. But before we do, special mention must go to Caine Warburton (first Australian male home) and Jacinta O’Neill, overall ladies winner.
Jacinta snuck up from nowhere. I was down at Bogong to Hotham this year where she ran also, and she didn’t feature on the radar at all. But what a race she ran on Saturday. She took it out from the start and she held on right throughout. It was a superb run and after hearing of all the training she’s done for this race, I don’t think anyone deserves that flight to France more than her. If you want a lesson in how to train and execute a race plan – she’s your girl. Her smile is infectious.
I’ve known Caine for a few years now, and he regularly features on our pages here at Ultra168 too. Always a gentleman, a complete grafter and after a few false starts, this win puts him firmly on the map as an Aussie mountain boy. To finish an hour behind Dakota is no small achievement over a brutal 75kms. Make no mistake that Caine ran his heart out and will be highly competitive over in Europe. Like Jacinta, so deserving of his place on the Aussie team.
We hope you enjoyed the coverage and our picture blog too of the weekend’s racing. Looking forward to next year already!
*Declaration of Interest – Marcus Warner, one half of Ultra168 is also the President of Sky Running Australia and New Zealand. He however has not been involved in any editorial decisions as far as covering and reporting upon the Buffalo Stampede is concerned. Those have been undertaken by Dan (the other half) and judged purely on the merit of the race as a news item, given the strength of the field and this being an ‘Australian first’. Dan paid his own way to get to Bright.