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Alpine Challenge

100 Mile/100km/60km Individual / Team / Relay Challenge

The Event
Imagine completing 4 marathons in 44 hours; that is the challenge you could face if you decide to enter the Alpine Challenge. The eigth Alpine Challenge Ultra Marathon, incorporating the 100 mile (160km) Alpine Skyrun, the 100km individual and team Alpine Challenge and the 60km Alpine Experience is set to be run over 29 November- 01 December 2104 in the Alpine National Park. With over 7,000 metres of climb and 7,000 metres of descent, this event is the classic 100 mile mountain trail run in Australia; testing runners to the limit.

Set in the spectacular Alpine National Park in north eastern Victoria the event takes in some of the best, hardest and most exposed high country in Australia including Mt Feathertop, Mt Hotham, The Fainters, Spione Kopje, Mt Nelse and Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong.

In 2006, in what was planned to be the inaugural event, four experienced runners attempted to run the course but were stopped by unseasonal snow. Running in pairs, two runners pulled out at Mt Nelse after taking 17.5 hours to complete 60km and two other runners turned back at 3am in calf deep snow and white out conditions on the approach to Mt Bogong. In 2007 the run was cancelled due to bushfires and it was only in 2008, that the course was completed with three out of five runners completing the distance in 42 hours in perfect conditions.

Records tumbled in 2009 with a new men’s record of 32.45 hours and a new record of 36 hours for the first female to finish the event. In 2010 there were 62 starters including 3 large corporate teams. A new course record of 27 hours was set for the men’s 100 mile and 34.47 hours for the women’s event. 2011 saw a reduction in team entries but solid support from the ultra community with a quality field of 31 starters and 21 finishers – a dropout rate of 34%, indicating the toughness of the course and the toll that runners take from injury, exhaustion and dehydration. Records tumbled in 2012 in perfect but cold and windy running conditions – sub zero at night to 25.19 hours, but at a cost; 45% of the 100 mile solo field DNF’d in their chosen event.

2014 will see a reduction in cut off times (44hours for the 100 miles / 36 hours for the 100km and 60km distances) and disqualification for participants who fail to check in or stop at designated night stops (60km only). This is to ensure that runners do not endanger themselves or event support personnel. 100 mile participants may be given the option of completing the 100km course if they fail to meet the cut off times.

If you’re looking for something different, if you want a fantastic run or tough walking against the clock, great scenery, unpredictable weather and to push yourself to the limits, the Alpine Challenge is for you.

This is a mutual support event; it is not a race in the traditional sense. For safety reasons all participants must offer assistance to others in distress. Participants are responsible for their own safety and assume full liability for their participation.

The event offers a range of challenges over the 100ml/160km, 100km or 60km distances – all challenges must be completed within 44/36 hours:
• Alpine Skyrun – an endurance challenge for individual runners
• Alpine Challenge – an individual/team endurance event running/walking either solo or in teams of 2 or more
• Relay Challenge – generally travelling in pairs, up to 8 runners/walkers in a relay team
• Alpine Experience – a 60km introductory option over 2 days for runners / walkers.

Note: All participants must carry mandatory safety gear.

The 100 mile course is an arduous course with 6 major climbs that take a cumulative toll. The event takes place in an exposed Alpine environment that participants continue to underestimate, to their peril, as demonstrated by the high DNF rate. It is subject to sudden and severe changes in weather; hot sunny days as well as rain, fog, high winds, sleet and snow can occur during March.

This is not a run to be taken lightly, hypothermia is a serious risk as is the potential for getting lost, and participants must be prepared for any weather conditions.

2010 – 2 teams had to be retrieved by S&R and evacuated after suffering from exposure
2011 – 2 runners and a walker had to evacuated due to injury
2012 – 1 runner rescued by Alpine SAR at 3am in sub zero temperatures, one runner collapsed at an aid station suffering from exposure.

Each year runners get lost due to simple and avoidable navigation errors.

The Alpine Challenge should only be attempted by experienced trail runners/walkers with good navigation experience. As a minimum, solo endurance runners attempting the course must have successfully completed at least one organized trail ultra marathon or 8+ hour rogaine in the previous 6 months, and both runners and walkers must have extensive bush walking experience and navigation experience. All participants including relay team members must have experience in running/walking trails and experience in walking/running in cold climate conditions and navigating at night and in adverse conditions.