Door: Louise Dobson
In the very heart of Australia – the Red Centre – a landscape that is devoid of time and scale, where the complexities of life are stripped away and the simple beauty of earth, sun and wind take over. This was a journey through the landscape over four magnificent days of trail running.
I was lucky enough to secure an entry into this annual event for just 200 runners in the centre of Australia. It is a Stage Race with two options – The Malbunka 130km and The Namatjira 80km! I would not consider myself a long distance runner so it was no question I entered the Namatjira (the short one)!
Four days of endurance which started at night (head torch running) on Day 1 with 12km around the escarpment above Alice Springs (in the Northern Territory). Day 2, we had been warned, was going to be hard and they were not kidding – it was an intense day of climbing up and climbing down, 19km of rocks, sand, rocks, heat and more rocks, accumulating 1200m in elevation gain equals: 7 hours of pain to get to the finish line completely exhausted. How was I going to turn around and run 22km the next day? I froze my legs in the hotel swimming pool that night for about 15 minutes and that was about all the time we got to rest because next morning was a 4:30am get up to eat breakfast, check out of the hotel and be on the bus in our race clothing for a 1.5 hour ride to the start line. The terrain was slightly easier than the day before and the only way to compare that would be my race speed halved – 21min/km on Day 2 to 11min/km on Day 3! My feet were getting pretty messed up by now with blisters but there was one more day left and, we are now camping in tents so sleep was practically impossible. Day 4 was 30km of more rocks, sand, heat but always with the most stunning views. Amazingly I managed to maintain the same pace of 11min/km on the final day!
It was truly an epic adventure of trail running at it’s best! If you want to try something out of the ordinary – come to Australia and enter the Run Larapinta Stage Race – you certainly won’t regret it!