Skyrunning in Oceania Just Got Real!


For the first time, athletes from both sides of the Tasman Sea will be able to compete head to head in search of points to be crowned the overall Skyrunning Oceania Champion for 2015. The overall winners will go on to represent Australia and New Zealand at the 2016 Skyrunning World Championships.

Overall, there will be 13 races held over eight events, with four brand new Skyraces that will challenge the most accomplished trail runners from both Australia and New Zealand.

From January to November 2015 runners will have the opportunity to race over distances from 24kms to 100kms in some of the most iconic terrain in the world. New locations selected for races include the first ever race of its kind in the Blue Mountain’s World Heritage area of the Grose Valley and the iconic coastline of New Zealand’s North Island Hillary Trail. The series will also explore Queensland’s Scenic Rim World Heritage area and also take runners to Cromwell, Wanaka and the Victorian Alps.

The 2015 Skyrunning Calendar

  • January: The Ultra Easy – New Zealand
  • March: The Hillary Trail – New Zealand (North Island); La Sportiva Mt Buller Skyrun – Australia (Victoria)
  • April: The Buffalo Stampede – Oceania SkyRunning Championships – – Australia (Victoria)
  • June: Wild Earth Ascent – New Zealand (South Island)
  • August: Barney’s Bluff – Australia (Queensland)
  • October: Hounslow Classic – Australia (New South Wales)
  • November: The Ultimate Direction Sky Rock n’ Run – New Zealand (South Island)

10309354_331600480356188_1066166969395236880_nMarcus Warner, president of Skyrunning New Zealand says, “The 2015 series will rival those put on in the Northern Hemisphere countries of France, Italy and Spain.”

He adds, “When you have runners required to climb nearly 5000m over little more than a marathon distance on rocky and technical trails, the Oceania series will test the most elite trail runners from anywhere in the world.”

The series is a collaboration between a number of Race Directors across ANZ whose individual races meet the strict criteria required to be sanctioned as an official Skyrun by the International Skyrunning Federation.

These requirements included selecting races on their extreme ascent and descent over unique and challenging terrain whilst encouraging the runner to move as fast and direct as possible carrying the most minimal of gear safely.

Salomon’s Anna Frost who has preformed at the highest level for some years in Skyrunning races in Europe is excited to see ANZ get its own series.

“It is a varied series of races with a little something for everyone. It will be a wonderful display of off-road running downunder and really test our strengths and weaknesses!

New Zealand athlete Grant Guise, an accomplished trail runner from New Zealand comments, “I am really excited to FINALLY have a Skyrunning Series in New Zealand, and having it as part of an Oceania Series is even better. I remember looking at Skyrunning races on YouTube in 2008 and to now have that in our backyard is going to be great.

“I love this steep, rough style of race and I think with eight events across Australia and New Zealand, we have a really good mixture of different styles of event. I’m excited to do some new races and travel to places I have not been to before, as well as lock horns with some top competition over the pond in Australia.”

Australian athlete and current Six Foot Track champion, Dave Byrne is keen to target a win in the series and has been waiting for a series like this for some time.

“The SkyRunning series is a big step in ultra and trail running in Australia and New Zealand. The events each have unique features that set them apart and challenge athletes in varying ways. But what’s most exciting is the idea of having many of the top ultra runners from both countries going head to head on a regular basis. This will serve to better the sport and athlete in Australia and New Zealand set foundation for them to then tackle the European circuit.”

International trail and ultra running superstar, Anna Frost adds, “A varied series of races with a little something for everyone. It will be a wonderful display of off-road running down under and really test our strengths and weaknesses!”

New races for 2015

Race Director Sean Greenhill from Mountain Sports Australia was instrumental in putting on Australia’s first ever Skyrun in 2014 with the highly successful Buffalo Stampede. For 2015 he has upped the ante with two new races.

“The Buffalo Stampede while known as mile for mile, the hardest trail race in Australia is also quite achievable within the cut-offs allowed.

1779329_317499425099627_2280083935389133611_n“The Hounslow Classic is a new event on a mountain that’s never been raced on before. It may well be a tougher event than Buffalo, climbing into and out of the rugged Grose Valley several times. It starts and finishes in Blackheath, the highest town in the Blue Mountains of NSW. It’s only a 2 hour drive or train trip from Sydney and is set in World Heritage National Park.”

“Barney’s Bluff covers the summit and hinterland of iconic Mount Barney, two hours inland of Brisbane and the Gold Coast of Queensland. Scrambling, rock hopping and extraordinary views make for a very difficult course but over an achievable distance and cut-off time, also set within a World Heritage National Park. Australia’s best mountain country isn’t all in NSW and Victoria!”

The series kicks off in January 2015 with the longest race in the series the UltraEasy 100km in Wanaka, New Zealand. Race Director Terry Davies was hugely attracted to having his races considered as Skyraces.

“Being part of the inaugural international series is a must for me. It’s an opportunity to show-off our unique and amazing locations to a wider group of runners. The Ultra Easy 100kms has a 3am start, which is probably pretty unique! But the view from Roy’s Peak just as the sun comes up will be something quite special.”

Terry who also directs the particularly tough Mt Difficulty Ascent. “I’d say it’s the steepest vertical kilometre as part of a Marathon in the series. Through absolutely stunning rocky, craggy country. Being at the start of winter no-one will be over-heating at this race. There’s a bit of snow expected around the tops, it will be a true adventure run.”

The series also recognises the beauty and history of the trails in which they the races are set. Shaun Collins from Lactic Turkey Events is delighted to be involved in the 2015 Series.

“Having The Hillary added to the 2015 Skyrunning Oceania Series is amazing! Only in it’s second year the event will benefit by attracting some top runners from around the world. My goal for the event has always been to show the awesome terrain and scenery that I take for granted to the rest of the world. The next step in the event was to try and show Australians what an adventure the event offers and how easy it is for them to get to the start line being just 30 minutes from NZ’s largest city and airport.

“The trail was named in honour of New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary, and it sums up the sense of adventure and personal achievement that Sir Ed himself championed and was renowned for. Those that have run the Hillary would find it hard to disagree with that!”

The series is also proud to partner with Salomon, Compressport, Suunto, Arc’teryx, La Sportiva, Outdoor Research and PACE Athletic who have made the series possible through their commitment to growing the sport in Australia and New Zealand.