Weekend wrap and look ahead: Peaks and Trails, Berry Long Run, UTMB and more

As we head into the depths of ‘winter’ here in Australia there’s much to look forward to, and looking back also at the weekend just gone.

The Peaks and Trail running festival took place down in the extremely picturesque Grampians National Park, three hours or so outside of Melbourne.

Some familiar faces taking out the wins here with Kellie Emmerson doing it for the ladies again, knocking off the 50km course in 4:57. In second place was Sue Forsyth in a time of 5:39 and Stephanie Mak third in 6:11.

In the men’s race, Ash Watson took out the win in a time of 4:29 with Thierry Lamarque second in 5:11 and Alexandre Auffret third in 5:21.

Over the coming weeks and month of so there are a plethora of races to whet our appetite. This weekend sees the running of the Berry Long Run, a cracking little community-led event set-up by Joe Lewis and Ben Phillips. This one has been on my own radar for a few years now and I can’t wait to get own Victoria way to run the 70km this weekend – fingers crossed for some wonderful Victoria winter weather!

Then in just over 10 days’ time it’s the turn of Run Larapinta, a 4 day stage race across the stunning Larapinta trail.

Towards the end of the month, it’s the biggie – UTMB. For many, this ranks as one of the world’s leading 100 milers, standing toe to toe with the likes of Western States. While WSER is often referred to as the ‘track meet’, UTMB is the mountain miler.

I for one am going to be extremely interested to see how a certain Mr. J Walmsley fares this time around. If you follow him on the old Strava, you’ll note some massive mountain training blocks going on right now with Jim, who after his record-breaking run at Western States is looking for the double over in Chamonix. With an extremely measured approach to WSER, I’m thinking this could be the year Jim gets it right.

There’s also some Aussie interest too in one of the other races, the TDS where Ben Duffus and Kellie Emmerson are both registered. Lucy Bartholomew is also lined up for the OCC alongside Steph Auston.

Then as we move into September we have what is affectionately known as the Super Saturday on September 8th (and 9th for some people).

Down in Victoria it’s the Surf Coast Century where runners will ply their trade over 50km and 100km, with it also being the first year of Surf Coast as a Western States qualifier. Moving North slightly in New South Wales where it’s the turn of the Great North Walk ultras, featuring the new 50km and 50 milers distances. Then moving further up the coast, it’s the oldest miler in the book, the Glasshouse 100s.

We’ll be covering previews of all of these races in the build up to what is going to be a very busy next month or so of racing.

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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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