Australia hosted the first Skyrunning Oceania Championships on April 11 & 12 at the Buffalo Stampedewith a SkyMarathon® and Ultra SkyMarathon®, counting for Championships titles and medals and points in the Skyrunner® World Series. You earn points for your 3 best international results plus 1 continental race which is used to determine the winner of the series.
- Race Venue: Town of Bright
- Course: Out and back course from the town of Bright to Buffalo Peak and back to Bright
- Distance: 76km
- Finishing time: 9h40
- Position: 1st Lady, 11th overall
- Total meters ascent: 4545m
- First male finisher: Tom Owens from Scotland in a time of 8h17
- Number of finishers: 146
The Buffalo Stampede includes three race distances; 32km (Sky 26’er) with +/-2000m elevation gain/loss, 75.5km (Ultra SkyMarathon) with +/-4900m and 41.4km (SkyMarathon) with +2930m/-1940m held over three consecutive days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
“The Buffalo Stampede Ultra SkyMarathon course takes runners on a tough challenge taking in the unique scenery of the amazing Mt Buffalo in Victoria’s Alpine country. Starting in the picturesque and welcoming township of Bright at the foothills of some of Australia’s most impressive mountains, The Buffalo Stampede covers 75km with the main attraction being the climb to the Mt Buffalo Chalet and the unique formations of Mt Buffalo.”
The Buffalo Stampede Ultra was one brutal but rewarding course! Isn’t it strange how we get this incredible satisfaction from overcoming some of life’s toughest battles? This was definitely one of those, with some of the steepest ups and downs I’ve ever come across!
Apart from this course being one of the most testing courses of my career, my body and nutrition plan cooperated very well over the full distance, which was a great relief. I managed to take the lead at Buckland Valley 15km into the race and had the good fortune of holding that position to the finish. I was really hoping to see a couple of Roo’s along the route, but no such luck!
The course starts gradually along the river creek before you reach your first uphill challenge in the form of a downhill mountain track which takes you to the top of Mystic, followed by a severely steep descent down to Baker’s Gully. Here we were faced with one of the steepest climbs of the day, a firetrack leading to top of Clearspot. Once summiting, you have already conquered a 1300m ascent in just under 10km.
Another killer descent takes you down through the pine plantations to checkpoint 2 at Buckland Valley. We then made our way through the settlement of Buckland and through farmland, up and over Keating Ridge. This was another challenging 5km climb, but fortunately followed by a lovely downhill into what seemed like paradise, the Eurobin Creek Picnic Area (Checkpoint 3). We then had to tackle the “The Big Walk”, a 10km trail with a total vertical gain of 1126m.
Along this trail we got to experience some of Mt Buffalo’s finest views and rock-hopped our way to the Grand Chalet. From here we took the underground river track over rocks and creeks to Lake Catani. We even had to crawl our way through the Chalwells Galleries, which could just as well be called “Cramp City” according to many runners. Fortunately I managed to escape cramp-free and returned happily to the Grand Chalet. The next challenge was pass the quad-tester, running the 11km trail back down to Eurobin Creek picnic spot. I loved this section, as the rock and root-hooping along with beautiful fauna kept me well entertained. From here we retraced our steps across Keating Ridge to Buckland Valley, the last aid station before the finish line. The last two climbs at 60km and 68km represent the biggest testers of the day, and definitely had the potential to result in some serious sense of humor failures.
The last couple of kilometers along the river to the finish surely felt much longer than it did in the morning when we still had fresh legs. Crossing the finish line as the Buffalo Stampede Ultra Ladies Champion is a sensational feeling; sheer joy, goose bumps galore and a tear or two, a moment I won’t forget for quite some while! Beth Cardelli also had a brilliant race finishing second with Julie Quinn completing the podium. Congratulations to each runner that made it across the finish line, you sure did conquer a cracker of a challenge!!
A big thanks to Salomon for the opportunity to take part in this event and to Sean and the rest of the Buffalo team for putting on a superb event!
For more info and full results, visit http://www.buffalostampede.com.au
- Peptopro & Peptosport
- Future Life
- Hazz Coffee
- Runstrong – Ronel Nattrass – Strength coach
- Liezel Gey von Pittius – Masseuse
- Ian Waddle – Coach
- Jacques Breitenbach – Chiro
Photo credit: Claire-Zoe Balas