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Alpine Challenge

100 mile—100 km—60 km—42 km—25 km—16 km—10 km

Individual—Team—Relay Challenge

Thanks again for another fantastic event last weekend! Have been on such a high all week and I'm already looking forward to taking on a longer distance next year. Really appreciate all the work you and your team of vollies put in, and hope to return the favour volunteering at a future event.
Alpine Challenge—April 2022

The Event

Imagine completing 4 marathons in 42 hours; that is the challenge you could face if you decide to enter the Alpine Challenge 100 mile event. The 14th Falls Creek Alpine Challenge Ultra Marathon, covers seven distances 100 mile (160 km), the 100 km, the 60 km, 42 km, 25 km, 16 km and 10 km.

With over 7,600 metres of climb and 7,600 metres of descent, this event is the classic 100 mile alpine trail run in Australia; testing runners to the limit, it also offers one of the country’s most scenic and challenging 100 km runs covering over 4,000 m of ascent and descent in 26 hours. Our "mid easy" run option—60 km covers 2,000 m of ascent and descent and our "easy" run is a mere 42 km including 900 m of ascent, a great intro to long distance alpine running. For those wanting to savour the atmosphere and experience running in the high country, we now offer 10/16/25 km courses which can be run either solo or as a team

The distances offer participants the opportunity to compete as:

  • a solo runner—all
  • a team completing the entire course  together —all
  • a relay team with runners completing individual legs either on their own or with other team members—this is the real fun event!—60/100/160 km only

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, Mt McKay, Spion Kopje, Mt Nelse and Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong.

Run History

In 2006, in 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 60 km and two other runners turned back at 3 A.M. 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 and running 50 km with a pack with overnight gear. Records tumbled in 2009 with a change to the course which eliminated the mandatory overnight gear and a new start/finish at Bogong Village. New records were set 32.45 hours (men's) and a 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 it can take from injury, exhaustion and dehydration.

2012 saw perfect but cold and windy running conditions—sub zero at night, the course record crashed to 25:19, but at a cost, 45% of the 100 mile solo field DNFed in their chosen event.

2013 saw a change to the course as a result of bushfires that burnt for 2 months in the Hotham/Harrietville area. As a result runners had to tackle Mount Bogong 4 times! Extreme winds and limited visibility caused the course to be closed at 4 A.M. on the Sunday morning with most of the 100 milers having already been defeated by the mountain.

2014 saw 86 runners take on the course in high temperatures, with the joint men’s winners missing out on the course record by 5 minutes (25.24) and a new women’s record of 27:42. The DNF rate was 40% with many runners converting to the shorter 100 km distance.

2015 saw the run continue to grow with 125 starters, balmy conditions and records shattered. The 100 mile record was slashed by 2.15 hours to 23.03, the 100 km to 11.25 and the 60 km to 6.02. The DNF rate in the 100 mile was again close to 40% showing that people had been undertrained and failed to take the Challenge seriously.

2016 saw a further evolution of the run, with the start/finish moving to Falls Creek. Numbers continued to climb with 184 starters and the DNF rate dropped to only 30% on this faster course.

2017 saw more changes to the run with the introduction of a 36 km run. Numbers increased to 240 entries and the DNF rate in the 100 mile event soared to 51%, brought about by adverse weather, heat, humididty, electrical storms and hail. Records were smashed in the 60 km event with women taking the first three places. We also had our youngest (13 year old) as well as our oldest (76 year old) in the 36 km.

2018 was a horror year with over 20 cm of snow falling in the 2 days before the run. As a result of an Antarctic blast the run course was changed, the loops over Mt Bogong and Mt Hotham/Feather top were dropped due to concerns over runner safety—the snow was knee deep on Mt Bogong and runners ran an out and back 35 km loop from Falls Creek with 5 checkpoints located over the distance. A number of runners pulled out due to early signs of hypothermia. As a result of the altered course we did not record the DNF rate.

The challenges continued in 2019 with lightning strikes starting a bushfire on the lower approaches to Mount Bogong, as a result the Bogong loop was cut and runners were given the opportunity to run the Feathertop loop twice. In the hot conditions many found this too much and the DNF rate climbed to over 50%. Wondering what else Mother Nature could throw at us—no one foresaw a pandemic that would see the event postponed from November 2020 to April 2021.

2021 saw a records tumble as Matt Crehan smashed the course record in a time of 22:26:21 in near perfect conditions. With amazing weather and smaller field, the DNF rate was a mere 30%!

2022 saw the run being postponed from November 2021 to April 2022 and once again records tumbled as the 100 mile event was won by Oowan Davies in a time of 22:13:21. What was more astonishing was that less than 90 seconds separated 1st and 2nd place-getters—and amazing result and a real chase to the end. Proving just how tough the event is, it again produced a 35% DNF rate.

Disaster struck again for the November 2022 edition of the run with floods and landslips affecting Victoria in October and November. As a result of a landslide above Bogong Village closing the access road, the event was cancelled, the village evacuated and the run rescheduled to April 2023. To top it off, Falls Creek received 35 mm of snow the day before the run!

November 2023 saw numbers return to normal on the traditional course, but the weather gods decreed that this would be an “epic run” with rain, hail and freezing temperatures assailing runners on the course accompanied by thunder and lightning. Conditions were so bad that we issued a “shelter in place“ alert to all runners with up to 32 runners seeking shelter in Cope Hut, runners bolting for Tawonga Huts and a high DNF rate at Loch carpark – truly a race to remember!

The Alpine Challenge is a mutual support event, and whilst the event organisers have established checkpoints and Search and Rescue capability, Victorian based 100 mile participants must, due to the high DNF rate have their own support crews. All other entrants in the 100 mile distance are encouraged to have support crews in the event that they withdraw at either Mount Hotham or Harrietville.

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.

Note: All participants must carry all mandatory safety gear.

The 100 mile course is an arduous course with 6 major climbs, each of approximately 1,000 m that take a cumulative toll. The event takes place in an exposed Alpine environment that participants continue to underestimate as demonstrated by the high DNF rate and rescues by Alpine Search and Rescue. The course is subject to sudden and severe changes in weather: hot sunny days as well as rain, fog, high winds, sleet and snow have all occurred in November.

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.

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 and experience in running in all types of conditions. As a minimum, endurance runners attempting the course must have, in the last 2 years successfully completed:

100 miles—at least one organised trail ultra of 50-75+ km or 12+ hour rogaine

100 km—at least one organised trail ultra of 50-60 km or 8+ hour rogaine

60 km—at least one organised trail ultra of 40-50 km or 6+ hour rogaine

42 km—at least one organised trail run of 21 km or 4+ hour rogaine

Runners and walkers must have good bush/navigation experience. All participants including relay team members must have experience in running/walking on trails in cold/wet conditions, and navigating at night and in adverse conditions.

Alpine Challenge Event Rules

The following rules have been developed to enhance participant safety and support the event organisers in maintaining a high safety standard. Please accept these rules in the spirit of the event.

  1. All participants must be aged 18 or over unless agreed in writing with the race director.
  2. The event organisers reserve the right to alter the course at any time prior to or during the event, without notice and/or cancel the event in consultation with and under the direction of Parks Victoria, Emergency Service agencies, Alpine SAR or Falls Creek Resort Management.
  3. Participants must register, collect their safety pack and have their gear checked prior to commencement of the event at registration.
  4. All team members must stay together between checkpoints and must check in/out together at each checkpoint.
  5. All solo participants must check in/out at all checkpoints.
  6. Participants must offer assistance to other runners/walkers in distress, failure to do so will lead to disqualification from the event.
  7. Any participant who is injured/exhausted or suffering from exposure should be brought to the nearest checkpoint for assistance. If the injury/condition is serious or in the event of hypothermia onsite assistance should be provided and assistance sought from the event organisers on the emergency contact number provided.
  8. Under no circumstances are injured/distressed participants to be left unattended.
  9. Marshalls/Checkpoint personnel may make a decision, in the interests of safety—for both the participant and event personnel—to withdraw a participant.
  10. Cut offs at checkpoints will be enforced by marshals and are non-negotiable.
  11. Participants and support crew must obey all directions/instructions given by marshals.
  12. Participants wishing to withdraw during the event must report to the nearest checkpoint.
  13. If a participant leaves the track for a toilet stop, they must leave their pack with race number on the side of the track.
  14. If a participant/team wishes to leave the track or checkpoints to sleep or for any other reason they must do so from a designated checkpoint (toilet stops excepted). They must notify the checkpoint marshal of their intention and estimated return time. The participant/team must return to the checkpoint and check in with the marshal prior to resuming the event. Failure to abide by this rule may lead to participants being recorded as missing and search procedures being implemented.
  15. Participants must leave the checkpoint prior to the designated cut off time. Failure to do so will result in the participants being withdrawn from the event.
  16. Race bibs must be worn on the front at all times during the event and tags with race numbers displayed on packs.
  17. 100 mile entrants are required to organise their own support crews to provide food, drinks, change of clothes, pick up (if required), etc. The event organisers are able to provide limited support for 100 mile runners from interstate and overseas via drop bags at Langfords Gap, Loch Car Park and Pretty Valley Pondage.
  18. Participants are required to carry a mobile phone and power pack to recharge their phone—a minimum of 2 phones per team, or one for each solo runner (Telstra provides the best coverage).
  19. Participants are issued with a Personal Location Beacon or similar for the duration of the event and are responsible for its return on completion of the Event. Charges will be incurred at the rate of $10 AUD per day for late return.
  20. Participants are not permitted to meet support crew at any location except designated staging posts and/or checkpoints.
  21. Relay teams may only change runners at designated checkpoints.
  22. Pacers (100 mile) can accompany a runner for a maximum of two stages, commencing from Pole 333 (1) onwards.
  23. Pacers are not permitted for 10/16/25/42/60/100 km runners.
  24. Pacers are allowed to run with solo runners but cannot lead or carry any of the race participant’s equipment. Pacers must carry all the mandatory safety equipment. For insurance purposes a feel is charged for pacers.
  25. Pacers must have their mandatory gear checked.
  26. Mandatory safety equipment will be checked prior to and during the event. Any participant/pacer without the mandatory equipment prior to the event will not be permitted to start until they provide the equipment. Participants found without the mandatory equipment during the event will be withdrawn and disqualified.
  27. Participants found with equipment that does not meet the minimum mandatory safety equipment specifications will not be permitted to start (refer Mandatory Safety Gear list).
  28. Entries will be confirmed subject to:
    1. Payment of entry fee
    2. Receipt of completed and online entry form
    3. Participants meeting the minimum skills/experience requirements
  29. The 100 mile event is open to runners only.
  30. By completing an event registration form participants are confirming their ability to map read and navigate in difficult conditions.
  31. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed on the course/at checkpoints unless supervised by a responsible adult from a support crew.

For further information contact: Paul Ashton ph: 0418 136 070 (m) email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.