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Ultra-Trail Australia

by editor

NSW’s Blue Mountains hosted the 2021 Ultra-Trail Australia where 1397 locally based trailers took on the challenging UTA100 course this year. Around 75% of contestants were men, and through the field were 16 different nationalities. An impressive 1127 athletes managed to cross the finish line, after completing a course which included a staggering – probably literally – 10,410 stairs.

The athletes set off in the sunshine early on Saturday morning and had 28 hours to complete the route, which included a mix of trails along cliff tops, through lush valleys, across scenic ridges and then up the famous Furber steps to the finish line. This year saw first-time winners in both the women’s and the men’s race, with Wollongong-based Matthew Pellow crossing the line first in an impressive 9:51:32, and Finland’s Cecilia Mattas taking victory in just her second attempt at the race, with an impressive 11:36:02.

While this was Pellow’s first attempt at Ultra-Trail Australia, he has considerable experience in endurance racing as a triathlete.

“It feels ecstatic,” puffed Pellow.

“Coming into the race I just wanted a challenge, an adventure…I only entered two weeks ago, I knew I was fit, and as I was racing I was feeling good.

“That last 10km coming over all those rolling hills and then up Furber Stairs was brutal.”

Pellow crossed the line almost 13 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Vajin Armstrong, with Michael Dimuantes a further five minutes behind in third.

Since its beginnings in 2014 the Ultra-Trail® World Tour has gradually expanded to include the most iconic and prestigious ultra-endurance trailrunning races around the world. From 10 events in 2014, the Ultra-Trail® World Tour™ now features 28 events from 22 countries and 5 continents. The original roster included races held in Hong-Kong, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, USA, France and Switzerland and has now been joined by events in England, Sweden and Thailand.

It’s only fair that once they tried all the other wannabe countries, they finally brought the race to Australia to go up against the real tough shit, eh?

In the women’s race it was Mattas who took the course by storm, running at her own pace and coming in around 15 minutes ahead of Sophie Brown with Sarah Ludowici just two minutes behind.

“It’s amazing running in Australia,” squawked Mattas. “The nature here is so pretty so I think that’s the best way to explore around here.”

The next stop on the Ultra-Trail World Tour 2021 calendar will be the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run in California. The world’s oldest 100-mile trail race, the Western States has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.

It’s probably not as good as our Aussie one, but.

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