COUNTDOWN TO THE FALLS CREEK MOUNTAIN RAID
The Falls Creek Mountain Raid adventure race and trail running weekend is only a month away and competitors are coming from across Australia to enjoy this high country adventure. The Falls Creek Mountain Raid features a two-day, off-road navigational adventure race for teams of 2 or 4 athletes as well as a trail running festival with a series of 4 runs.
Held over the weekend of Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February it’s the third edition of this alpine summer event and will showcase the spectacular scenery and network of trails around the Falls Creek alpine paradise. The Mountain Raid Adventure Race features trail running, mountain biking and kayaking, and a few other surprises along the way.
Teams are coming from as far as Western Australia and Queensland to take part, as well as several Melbourne-based and local teams. “We are a husband and wife team from Toowoomba. We have been doing adventure racing for only a year and this is our first event in Victoria,” said Sue and Graham Hazelwood from Queensland team Wrong Direction. “We’re 4 likely lads from the Falcons Hockey Club in Albury,” said Tristan Ferris, Tony Donnolley, Carl Evans and Michael McInerney. At this stage the youngest competitor in the adventure race is 19-year-old Oliver Porceddu from Melbourne who is competing in a team of 2 with his dad Daniel. At the other end of the scale is 57-year-old Rod Gage-Brown who is competing in a mixed team of 4 and showing that age is no barrier. The teams work together to navigate their way around this challenging adventure course, finding a number of checkpoints along the way.
With a Long Course (85 – 120km of off-road adventure) and Short Course (approximately half the distance) option, this event caters for experienced adventure racers as well as newcomers to the sport. “We love to be active and our motto is participation, completion and to have fun while pushing our limits. We are looking forward to our first Adventure Race,” said Jayne Matthews and Rosey McGinnis from Healvesville. Held in conjunction with the adventure race is the Falls Creek Mountain Raid Trail Runs, a series of 4 trail running events that provide the opportunity for keen runners to experience the spectacular alpine trails. Runners can do up to three of the four events and there’s also King and Queen of the Trails titles up for grabs for those who do both runs on Saturday and the long run on Sunday. The trail runs have attracted athletes from four states with several runners coming down from Sydney and the ACT to take part as well as one runner from Queensland. The field includes many first time trail runners as well as a few recognisable faces. Returning to the event is 60-year-old Terry Pearce from Williamstown who says “I’m not going to let this course beat me like it nearly did last year.”
Also competing this year is international athlete Ralph Street, an orienteering specialist from the UK who has been in Australia since September. While here, he’s already won the Bright 4 Peaks event, the gruelling trail run at Vertical K – Mt Donna Buang, and clocked a time of 31.42mins for a 10km cross country race. “I’ve been training at Falls Creek over the New Year period and thought the landscape was really fantastic. We had a couple of days where the clouds rolled in but not enough to cover everything and it made looking out down the valleys very atmospheric. I’m really looking forward to the view from the top of the Summit Sprint,” Ralph Street said. On Saturday morning will be the 10.75km Alpine Ash Run taking runners on a journey above the tree line and along trails with wide open views of the high country. Saturday afternoon will feature the quad-busting 4.2km Summit Sprint, taking runners from Slalom Plaza, up through the village and the Summit Bowl to ring the bell at the very top of the mountain, and then back down to finish at the event expo area in Slalom Plaza. On Sunday morning runners can choose from the 19km Heathy Spur Run or the shorter 5.5km Falls Creek Explorer Run. Both courses will lead runners along scenic alpine trails featuring sections of forest, great views and fields of wild flowers. “The Falls Creek Mountain Raid has been designed to provide a great fun off-road adventure weekend for athletes of all levels. With the number of race options and the support available, it’s achievable for just about anyone,” said John Jacoby, Race Director of Rapid Ascent, the event organiser. Entries to the Falls Creek Mountain Raid are still open and more information is available at www.MountainRaid.com.au