Leader: Paul Ashton
Sun 23 July – Tue 01 August 2017—10 days inclusive—max 9 runners—cost $1,400-$1,650 excluding airfare, based on a minimum of 6 runners
The Larapinta Trail Run is a long distance run traversing the length of the 233 km Western MacDonnell Range in Central Australia (but excluding the 45 km section from Hugh Gorge to Serpentine Gorge car park which is poorly rated for running/scenery).
Our journey covers approximately 200 km of trails through timeless country going back over 800 million years and presents a unique opportunity to experience true wilderness jogging/running and walking. It is a spectacular but physically demanding run that offers unique challenges to the trail runner: water management, temperature management, ability to back up over multiple days, group v individual running etc. It is NOT a race rather a group running holiday.
The Larapinta Trail Run is based on easy group running with plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos. Runners need to maintain contact with the group as navigation can be difficult, especially in the gorges and creek beds and the potential for accidents is high on some of the more rocky sections and steep descents as a result we will run at the pace of the slowest member of the group. A number of “free” running days have been designated towards the later sections of the run where both navigation and terrain are easier, but still challenging and fun.
The group will be between 6 – 9 runners, accompanied by a guide and will be met at trail heads by the support vehicle each night. Costs are based on a minimum of 6 runners, $1,650 per person plus food kitty of $150 pp, plus some incidental costs and meals.
Reliable drinking water is available from tanks at serviced campsites, generally at the end of each section of the run or from the support vehicle at the end of the day's run. Runners must ensure that they carry adequate water for each section of the run. Access to the track is limited or only available by 4WD vehicle—this is a remote run with all the associated risks.
Our trip will be supported by a 4WD vehicle and off road trailer.
To get the most out of this run you will need a good level of fitness. A good fitness test is to run 30 – 40 km per day over two consecutive days and not feel exhausted at the end of the second day as you will have to back up for a number of consecutive days before the finish. If you can’t sustain that distance and effort on trails you will struggle with some of the longer and harder days on this run.
Please be aware that early starts will also be vital (before 6 A.M. on several days) in order to avoid running through the heat of the day. Even in winter daytime temperatures can reach the mid 20° Cs. For those runners who may need a break due to injury/fatigue/illness, they will have the option of travelling in the support vehicle.
The first day we follow a well-formed track that will help to ease us into the run. The run program has been tailored to avoid, wherever possible, running through the heat of the day and we aim to arrive at our campsite each day by around 2 P.M., with the exception of day 2 which is a slightly longer day with steep climbs, and the last day when we get up at 4 A.M. to see the sunrise over Mount Sonder.
The total distance we will run is approximately 200 km (in 8 days of running). Distances, gradings and suggested times are detailed on the Larapinta Trail Run Itinerary and is based on the Larapinta Trail Kit developed by Parks & Wildlife NT and detailed recces of the trail. Times are based on easy running interspersed with walking and photo stops.