Race Preview: Yurrebilla Ultra (YUM56)

The YUM56
The YUM56

In line with making sure we give the air time to some of the not so well-known races around Australia, today we feature the Yurrebilla 56, or YUM56 as it’s known down in South Australia. The YUM56 is organised by the South Australian Road Runners Club (SARRC) and a big tick for me in that relies entirely on volunteers for its organisation. These races, like Six Foot Track here in NSW are the cornerstone of our community and there should be room for them alongside the commercial outfits. The two should work in tandem together to provide different experiences for different runners.

In the age of an ever-increasing commercialised sport such as ultra / trail running, it’s vital that as a community we continue to support these events. And the calibre of the entrants, as well as the number of rising entrants running on Sunday, also tells us that they are alive and kicking too.

This year is the eight edition of the race, which also contains a record number of runners, with over 300 people confirmed . The race has also entered a bid for Yurrebilla to become the course of the Australian National Trail Running Championship. While I think it’s a good thing that various courses around Australia get the chance to host the national title (spread the love), there’s the other side of this, which is making sure the highest calibre of athletes actually run our National Championship. This is also a debate that’s carrying on over in the US right now, and to be honest, it’s an entire article in itself so we’ll leave it there for now rather than hijacking a race preview.

The YUM56 course
The YUM56 course

The YUM56 however has no shortage of talent racing on Sunday. The current race record holder is Stu Gibson, winner of that dramatic finish at TNF100 this year where he out sprinted Andrew Tuckey to win in a shade over 9 and a half hours on the new course.  Stu is the returning champ and last year won the race in 4:41.  Last year’s first placed female was Steph Gaskell on 5:14.

Caine and his trademark fluro calf panties - apparently they're cool in Melbourne?
Caine and his trademark fluro calf panties – apparently they’re cool in Melbourne?

Stu’s not going to have it all his own way though. Other podium contenders this year include Caine Warburton (QLD) who returns after a barnstorming few months over in Europe where he placed in the top 10 at the Sky Running World Championships in France. Caine has this to say about YUM:

“I have been looking to do the YUM since hearing about it at my first ever ultraTNF100. Having been down already this year to see the course

I am ever more excited to race it. Fast beautiful single track combined with enough hills to keep you honest and a vibrant welcoming community make this race a real highlight on my calendar.”

Caine is gradually building and building to become one of our top trail/ultra runners and each week I see a little update of a race he’s won somewhere. Caine is, I feel, one of those getting it right. He gets his head down, wins races and does the hard yards. All he needs to do now is stop wearing those fluro calf panties 🙂 I jest…

Moving south to the blues, Blue Mountains runner Andrew Lee also lines up. A former TNF100 winner with Stu Gibson and a man with a huge heart and a lot of will. I will bet good money that he is ‘duking’ it out with Caine and Stu towards the latter stages of this race.

Connie Richards - podium contender for Sunday's YUM56
Connie Richards – podium contender for Sunday’s YUM56

In the ladies, Beth Cardelli lines up and is an obvious favourite. Beth has had a bit of a stop start 12 months with a few injuries here and there, but on form, she’s one of the leading ladies in the country having been named AURA female trail runner of the year 2012 and 2013.

Lucy Bartholomew, world Junior Sky Running champion and winner of the Surf Coast 50km in Victoria last week, also lines up, but will face some stiff competition from Tymeka Walburton (3rd place in the International Killian’s Classic) and Connie Richards (2014 winner of the Nerang 50km race).

The two latter ladies have just set-up ‘Trail Chix‘, with an aim to educate, guide and expose women to all aspects of trail running in a fun, interactive, inclusive, non-confrontational and safe environment. We’ll be running an interview with Connie and Tymeka soon as part of our overall drive and push to help more women get into trail and ultra running

All the best to all runners taking part on Sunday.

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4 thoughts on “Race Preview: Yurrebilla Ultra (YUM56)

  1. Ran Yurrebilla last year. The course is an absolute monster – demanding and spectacular. Will definitely be back to run it again at some stage.

  2. The Yurrebilla Trail 56k Ultra is a stunning, smorgasbord ultra – a smorgasbord of trail types ranging from open, forested fire trails, to tight, steep technical single trail to fast open roads, and it’s a well supported food smorgasbord with a vast range of food and drink every 5k’s or so. The support volunteers add a vibrancy that makes the event absolutely buzz. Competitors have been telling us for years how much they love doing this event, voted South Australia’s favorite running race in 2013!! We hope you decide to share the joy down here soon!! Barry McBride (Race Director)

  3. Nice write up, Guys! As someone who has been a part of the Yurrebilla Trail 56km Ultra since day one and one of six runners hoping to earn our eighth medal on Sunday, I was truly disappointed when the event was unsuccessful in being awarded the AURA National Trail Championships for the next two years. I had really hoped that we might have been able to celebrate the tenth running of the event in 2016 with a National Title. Alas it’s not to be! Ultimately though it is clear that the event doesn’t need such recognition for its continued growth, nor big end of town corporate sponsorship to succeed. No longer a resident of Adelaide, I’ll be flying in for the weekend to catch up with old friends and an extraordinary trail! Where else in the world can you run such a diverse trail through stunning gorges, never more than 12km from your downtown GPO? It’s the trail itself that keeps drawing people, new and old, each year! Ask Stu Gibson why he’s returning this year! Add to that the welcome from the incredibly strong Adelaide trail community, and you have an event that just keeps going from strength to strength. It has been a lot of fun to have been a part of this event now for eight years. Fun, because you know that once someone has heard of ‘Yurrebilla’, it bugs them till they have finally done it, newbie runner or experienced ultra. Alla Caine Warburton! One of the unique features of Yurrebilla is the staged start with the slower runners starting earlier. Means throughout the day, everyone runs with everyone, with the faster runners working their way through the field. I’ll be starting in one of the earlier groups this year but will be looking forward to pulling aside and cheering on the likes of Stu, Caine, Beth and Lucy! Will this be the year that the 4:30 male and 5:00 hour female barriers breached? I’m hearing that the 350 figure has already been reached and 400 might not be out of the question! All doing 56km! Surely that makes it Australia’s third biggest ‘ultra’ after North Face and Six Foot Track (Am I right? Correct me if I’m wrong!) 500 participants in 2016 must surely be a possibility. If that happen, Barry McBribe, don’t be surprised if AURA (of which I am a member) come knocking in 2017…

    1. Having the title of “National Champs’ bears no resemblance to the quality of the field… In fact the biggest races in Australia (i.e. those with quality fields) that don’t have that title attract some of the best runners around – case in point YUM56 attracting the calibre of runner in Stu Gibson who for me is the best mountain runner between 50-100km in Australia right now.

      So it begs the question… are they even relevant?

      The ‘build it and they will come mentality’ is flawed…

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