View from mid-pack: Run Larapinta

Run Larapinta

The Run Larapinta Stage Race returns to Alice Springs for four days of trail running along the most spectacular sections of the Trail in the Northern Territory from 17 – 20th August, 2018. The West MacDonnell Ranges boast incredible terrain for trail running with endless kilometres of single track.

Since its inception, Run Larapinta has become a drawcard for both recreational and elite runners who are expected to come from across Australia and overseas to be part of this unique outback stage race. The event offers two different course lengths for runners – The Malbunka long course features stages of 20km to 45km each day, and The Namatjira provides a shorter option with stages between 11km and 30km.

Brisbane’s Troy Lum, winner of Run Larapinta 2017 said the best part was running with others and sharing the experience. “As well as the actual racing, to share the scenery and see things I’d never seen before was what made it; it was fantastic, and the scenery is just amazing.” Run Larapinta was first held in 2015 when 78 runners took part, 116 participated in the 2016 edition and over 120 runners competed in 2017. 2018 will be the fourth running of the event, followed by The Redback Mountain Bike Stage Race, also in Alice Springs the next week.

Melbourne-based runner, Lars Oppermann sets a milestone this year as he is competing at the Run Larapinta Stage Race for the fourth time. He is the only runner to attempt this. Lars has only been running for five years. Lars will be gearing up to run 136kms over four days as part of the The Malbunka long course race at Run Larapinta which features stages of 20km to 45km each day. He is a recreational runner, having run the Namatjira race (short course) at Run Larapinta for the past 3 years and says now it’s time to step up to the Malbunka (long course)! I caught up with Lars to understand a little more about why he choses to come back each year.

What made you decide to run at Run Larapinta again?
I enjoy doing multi-stage runs and there aren’t too many in the region. Also being from overseas, Alice Springs (and the Red Centre in general) has a kind of authentic Australian feeling to it. I love the area and it’s nice to get out of dreary Melbourne in the middle of August. I also think the Rapid Ascent team do a great job organising the event. Last year when it was unseasonably hot I wasn’t alone in being impressed with the contingency measures that were put in place (earlier starts, flying water up to the long course climb on day 3) – it gave the impression that Rapid Ascent was there for everyone and not just to make a buck. And one last reason (related to the first): each year I’ve met some great people who I’ve kept in touch with from all over Australia. The stage race format allows people to get to know one another and throughout the four days there’s a great sense of camaraderie.

What made you sign up for the long course this year?
I have some personal reasons (I like to challenge myself . . . I’m also considering the Surf Coast Century 100km run), but another reason was seeing pics from others who had done the long course in 2017, especially from day three, that had scenery that I hadn’t seen on the short course. I thought it would be nice to see something new 🙂 as well as revisit some of the familiar places.

When did you start running?
I started out quite small (distances) about five years ago and I’m really enjoying the level of fitness, not to mention a number of other benefits, that comes from challenging myself.

Run Larapinta takes place in August – click on the link to find out more.

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Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

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