14 May 2021

Early bird entries for running festival to close soon

| Karyn Starmer
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Trail runners at Mount Stromlo

Stromlo Running Festival has generous cut-off times designed to entice newcomers to trail running. Photo: Stromlo Running Festival.

Set among the trails of Stromlo Forest Park, with generous cut-off times and a range of distances to suit everyone, the 2021 Stromlo Running Festival is a great opportunity to step off the road and into nature.

And you may leave the roads forever.

This year’s festival, to be held on 20-21 November, will see runners head for the hills in 10km, 30km and an ultramarathon 50km event (SRF50).

Runners who register by 18 May, 2021, will save up to $40 with early bird entry pricing.

Stromlo Running Festival operations director, and exercise physiologist, Steve Bingley says SRF50 is a must-run ultramarathon event in Canberra.

“This is one of Canberra’s most scenic ultramarathon courses, taking in two iconic nature parks – Stromlo Forest Park and the National Arboretum – and the views reach far and wide across Canberra to the incredible Brindabella Ranges and Mount Stromlo,” he says.

“We have designed this ultramarathon to be first-timer friendly so we have deliberately set a generous cut-off time so both newbies and seasoned ultrarunners can take part.”

Steve says anyone who has run a road half-marathon would be able to complete the SRF50 with time and the right training plan.

“Trail running is different to road races – competitors walk the hills in these events,” he says. “With a 9.5-hour cut-off time you can easily take plenty of walk breaks and still make time. And you would have the lifetime kudos of saying you have completed an ultra.”

Alex Lee, Rob de Castella and Ethan Mulholland at Stromlo Running Festival

From left: Alex Lee, marathon legend Rob de Castella, and Ethan Mulholland. Ethan says the Stromlo Running Festival “has given me more confidence that I can complete anything I put my mind to”. Photo: Stromlo Running Festival.

Stromlo Running Festival has had a number of different formats since its inception in 2009. Founder and Olympian Rob de Castella says the current format, held across two days, has settled into something that works for participants and organisers, demonstrated by huge growth in the number of participants.

“Interest in trail running is really growing in Australia and across the world,” says de Castella. “Trail running is both challenging and rewarding, and I think it is much more attractive than on-the-road running.

“Trail running reignites our love of getting off the road and into the bush. After struggling up the hills you get the beauty of the landscape as a reward.”

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Rob says the Stromlo Running Festival is different to some of the older trail running events that are often difficult to get into. Some events sell out in minutes or have qualifying times to enter.

“The Stromlo Running Festival has come full circle for me,” he says. “I came to Canberra from Melbourne in the ’80s and ran though the planation pines that were destroyed in the 2003 fires and now we are witnessing recovery and reforestation.

“The festival is a major legacy project from that devastation of the bushfires. It is a powerful story to tell.

“There is a lovely synergy with this story and with trail running, of struggle and then reward. There is a special sense of camaraderie on the course – everyone is supportive of their fellow runners.

Stromlo Running Festival's Mel Bingley and Steve Bingley

Stromlo Running Festival event director Mel Bingley with the event’s operations director, Steve Bingley. Photo: Stromlo Running Festival.

“The connection, resilience and commitment is not just about trail running. I am proud of what the event offers – it is truly something special and unique.”

The 2021 Stromlo Running Festival will continue its support of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation, a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience achievement and create inspirational Indigenous leaders. Organisers hope to raise $10,000 for the charity this year.

Early bird entries close on Tuesday, 18 May. For entries and more information, visit Stromlo Running Festival.

Original Article published by Karyn Starmer on The RiotACT.

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