The 2023 edition of the Run Larapinta Stage Race has left a capacity field of 200 runners from across Australia raving about their experience! Over the course of four days and four stages, participants took to the most spectacular sections of the iconic Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, resulting in overwhelmingly positive sentiment towards the event.
The event was held over the weekend, beginning with Stage 1 on Thursday 24 August, through to Stage 4 on to Sunday 27 August.
Runners could not wipe the grin off their faces during each stage as they took in the breathtaking landscapes of the Red Centre… one step at a time;
“That was a dream run – and we’re only on Stage 1!!”
“The views, the landscape, the rocks, the people… all just sensational.”
Based out of Alice Springs, the course showcased the awe-inspiring terrain of the Red Centre’s Larapinta Track within the West MacDonnell Ranges. Captivating highlights along the way include notable landmarks such as Brinkley Bluff, Standley Chasm, Simpsons Gap, and Ellery Creek Waterhole.
Participants chose between two course lengths: the Malbunka long course, featuring stages spanning 20km to 41km each day, and The Namatjira short course, with stages ranging from 12km to 27km.
Organisers’ Rapid Ascent expressed their admiration for the runners’ dedication and the sense of camaraderie that prevailed throughout the event;
“Whilst there were many stories of blood, sweat and tears along the course, they were quickly followed up with stories of awe and wonder at the landscape; all the while generating long-lasting bonds and friendships between runners that will never be forgotten,” expressed Sam Maffett, General Manager of Rapid Ascent.
Stage 1 commenced with a twilight run on the outskirts of Alice Springs on Thursday 24th August, with competitors running along the twisting trails that lead to a lively finish line beside the Todd River at The Old Telegraph Station.
The following day saw an early start for Stage 2 and was particularly challenging as it led runners from Simpson Gap to Standley Chasm. Despite the hardships, runners relished the opportunity to immerse themselves in a truly unique landscape.
Stage 3 on Saturday began near Birthday Waterhole for both course lengths, and had competitors conquering the steep sides of Brinkley’s Bluff which provided remarkable panoramic views from all directions. Competitors then ran through Reveal Saddle where it is said that the tectonic lines of the ranges collide into a confusion of peaks, ridges and cliffs;
“It is simply spectacular,” claimed Maffett.
The race culminated with Stage 4 Sunday 27 August with a scenic run to the iconic Counts Point lookout before finishing at Ellery Creek Waterhole. The magnificent finish line location was a key highlight, providing a victorious and celebratory conclusion, with many participants taking a dip to cool off.
“What a spectacular conclusion to four days of awe-inspiring running,” expressed Maffett. “Spirits were high and we loved seeing the smiles of satisfaction that were spread across everyone’s faces.”
“We congratulate all runners on their personal achievements and what they’ve overcome along the way, and we hope they are as proud of themselves as we are,” added Maffett.
A presentation ceremony and celebrations at the Alice Springs Brewery rounded out the final night, as participants shared stories and solidified their newfound friendships.
The winners of the Malbunka long course over the four-stages were Corey Milner (Victoria) and Kate Cush (NSW), with a total time of 12 hours, 15 minutes and 43 seconds; and 15:47:58, respectively.
Luke Gordon and Anabel Thomas, both from New South Wales, claimed victory in The Namatjira short course. 9:58:54 (Gordon); 11:19:49 (Thomas).
“That was an amazing and unbelievable experience for me; I’ve never been here before and I just couldn’t believe how nice (and tough!) it is,” said Milner. “Especially the views up the top – the ridgelines are fantastic despite being the rockiest parts, but it was all just great!
With its successful execution, the Run Larapinta Stage Race has solidified its position as a must-do bucket-list event. Maffett extended his gratitude to all participants for sharing in the sensational experience and reaffirmed the lasting impact this event will have on each individual… forever.
“We feel honoured to have created such an event and privileged to delivery it each year. THANK YOU to our runners and supporters for sharing our dream and the dust that comes with it!” said Maffett.
The event reached capacity almost instantly when entries opened late last year. Rapid Ascent have a self-imposed field limit of 200 runners with entries to the 2024 Run Larapinta event to open in October 2023.
The event would not be possible without the support from the NT Government over recent years which has helped event promoters Rapid Ascent market the event at a national level and reach capacity fields.
For more information on the Run Larapinta Stage Race please head to the official website atwww.RunLarapinta.com.au.
Winning Total Times across the four stages are listed.
The Malbunka – Long Course Overall Standings MALE
- Corey Milner 12:15:43 (VIC)
- Troy Wilson 14:41:39 (VIC)
- Marc Woods 15:31:33 (NT)
The Malbunka – Long Course Overall Standings FEMALE
- Kate Cush 15:47:58 (NSW)
- Lindsay Hamilton 17:38:48 (ACT)
- Sally Theobald 17:42:35 (VIC)
The Namatjira – Short Course Overall Standings MALE
- Luke Gordon 09:58:54 (NSW)
- Dylan Collings 10:36:11 (NSW)
- David Ross 11:26:51 (NSW)
The Namatjira – Short Course Overall Standings FEMALE
- Anabel Thomas 11:19:49 (NSW)
- Claire Vincent 12:35:00 (VIC)
- Mel Quilliam 13:03:01 (NT)
For the full list of Overall Results and each Stage Results CLICK HERE