There exists a very real possibility of a runner or pacer in the Alpine Challenge becoming badly lost and/or injured during daylight or during the night somewhere out of mobile phone range. This could happen on either the first or second day of the event, and it could happen to anybody, even the most experienced trail ultra-runner. In such a situation, it is critically important to have all of the Mandatory Equipment. You must take this requirement seriously. Temperatures below 0°C plus wind chill have been recorded during November in the race area, and this could be accompanied by rain, wind, hail and/or snow as happened in 2016 and 2017 and 2018.

The Mandatory Equipment must be carried by all runners and all pacers at all times on the Alpine Challenge course. If a runner is found not to have all of the Mandatory Gear, they will not be allowed to start. If a runner or their pacer fails a gear check on the course they will both be disqualified. There are no stores near the course of the Alpine Challenge likely to stock items on the Mandatory Gear list, so it is in the runner’s (and their pacer’s) interest to make sure they have the gear as specified.

If in doubt, contact Paul Ashton on 0418 136 070 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to verify that your gear will be acceptable. It is wise to carry your Mandatory Equipment in a way that allows it to be easily checked by Race Officials to save time at inspections. NB: there will be random gear checks conducted on the course. All participants must provide and carry with them the following minimum safety equipment.

This list has been prepared based on running in good to mild conditions. It should be treated as your minimum safety gear and should be adjusted upwards in terms of quality and quantity of gear depending on conditions. Many runners aim to take the lightest and smallest amount of gear with them. This will not protect you in the Victorian Alps in cold, wet and windy conditions. The 100 mile event has a 34% DNF rate because people continue to underestimate the conditions.

All participants must provide and carry with them the following minimum safety equipment. X means you must have it.

Mandatory Items100/160 km60 km36 km
Waterproof & windproof jacket with hood,(gortex, pertex, entrant, japara, nylon etc) X X X
Waterproof & windproof pants, (gortex, pertex, entrant, japara, nylon or similar) X X X
Spare long sleeved thermal top and long johns (polypropylene, wool or similar). May be worn at the start of the run
Cotton, coolmax, lycra and any compression garment will not be acceptable
X X X
Beanie and or hat and or balaclava or buff (1 only) X X X
Windproof & waterproof gloves (large size dishwashing gloves are waterproof ) X X X
Waterproof map of the area and course notes (preferably laminated or in a waterproof map case or zip lock bag). Spatial Vision—Bogong Alpine Area 1:50,000 or off the website X X X
Compass or GPS plus spare batteries for GPS. Find out how to use your map and compass here  X X X
Lighter or waterproof matches X X X
Whistle X X X
First Aid kit including
  • Emergency space blanket/bag/light bivvi sack (1 only) or equivalent
  • Personal First aid requirements, bandaids, antiseptic, painkillers etc
  • 10 cm pressure bandage for snake bites/sprains (www.survival.net.au)
X X X
Fully charged mobile phone and portable mini power bank (1 phone per solo runner/2 per team or relay team - Telstra provides the best coverage) X X X
Torch/headlamp and spare batteries X X  
Back up torch/headlamp (including spare batteries) Y    
Food—for the run and emergency food if lost (energy chocolate is good) X X X
Water—minimum 2 litres capacity. More recommended if forecast is hot X    
Emergency heat pack (provided in race pack) X X  
Race number (provided in race pack) X X X
Tape with race number for pack (provided in race pack) X X X
Ziplock bag – for your rubbish (provided in race pack) X X X
Be prepared to carry a fleece or down jacket—to be advised prior to race start X X X

NB: Mobile phones are an emergency communication device and may serve as a back up only for map, spare torch or compass. It does not replace these items and they must be carried. Drop, break your phone or run your battery flat and you have nothing.

Snake Bite - Mandatory Safety Equipment

Please watch this video to familiarise yourself with the bandaging procedure.

With changes in treatment we are now recommending that all runners purchase a SMART Snake Pressure bandage as these allow you to apply the correct pressure (when the rectangle is stretched to become a square, when applying the bandage and hence retard the spread of the venom through your system. It can be purchased following this link - RRP 19.95.snake bandage

This article was written by Rob Timmings who runs a medical/nursing education business teaching nurses, doctors and paramedics. 3000 bites are reported annually,  300-500 hospitalisations, 2-3 deaths.

Average time to death is 12 hours. The urban myth that you are bitten in the yard and die before you can walk from your chook pen back to the house is a load of rubbish.

While not new, the management of snake bite (like a flood/fire evacuation plan or CPR) should be refreshed each season. Let’s start with a basic overview.
There are five genus of snakes that will harm us (seriously) - Browns, Blacks, Adders, Tigers and Taipans.
All snake venom is made up of huge proteins (like egg white). When bitten, a snake injects some venom into the meat of your limb (NOT into your blood). This venom cannot be absorbed into the blood stream from the bite site. It travels in a fluid transport system in your body called the lymphatic system (not the blood stream).

Now this fluid (lymph) is moved differently to blood. Your heart pumps blood around, so even when you are lying dead still, your blood still circulates around the body. Lymph fluid is different. It moves around with physical muscle movement like bending your arm or knees, wriggling fingers and toes, walking/exercise etc.
Now here is the thing. Lymph fluid becomes blood after these lymph vessels converge to form one of two large vessels (lymphatic trunks) which are connected to veins at the base of the neck.

Back to the snake bite site—when bitten, the venom has been injected into this lymph fluid (which makes up the bulk of the water in your tissues). The only way that the venom can get into your blood stream is to be moved from the bite site in the lymphatic vessels. The only way to do this is to physically move the limbs that were bitten. Stay still!!! Venom can’t move if the victim doesn’t move. Stay still!!

Treatment - In the 1980s a technique called Pressure immobilisation bandaging was developed to further retard venom movement. It completely stops venom /lymph transport toward the blood stream. A firm roll bandage is applied directly over the bite site (don’t wash the area).
Technique: Three steps: keep them still
  • Step 1: Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10 cm above and below the bite.
  • Step 2: Use another elastic roller bandage and apply a firm wrap from fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin. The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white. About the tension of a sprain bandage.
  • Step 3: Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb. Keep still!

Do nots:

  • Cut, incise or suck the venom.
  • EVER use a tourniquet.
  • Remove the shirt or pants—just bandage over the top of clothing.
  • Remember movement (like wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.
  • DO NOT try to catch, kill or identify the snake!!! This is important.

In hospital we NO LONGER NEED to know the type of snake. New Antivenom neutralises the venoms of all the 5 listed snake genus, so it doesn’t matter what snake bit the patient. Polyvalent is our one shot wonder, stocked in all hospitals, so most hospitals no longer stock specific Antivenins.

Australian snakes tend to have 3 main effects in differing degrees.

  1. Bleeding—internally and bruising.
  2. Muscles paralysed causing difficulty talking, moving & breathing.
  3. Pain, in some snakes severe muscle pain in the limb, and days later the bite site can break down forming a nasty wound.

Remember—stay still.
Rob Timmings
Kingston/Robe Health Advisor

Warning

All participants are advised that failure to have the approved mandatory safety equipment at registration and at gear checks during the event will result in disqualification and the participant being removed from the event.

Unacceptable gear

If you bring this equipment, you will NOT be permitted to start

  • Water resistant jackets/over-pants—must be waterproof
  • Jacket without a hood
  • “Skins” or equivalent are not acceptable as thermal top/bottom
  • snake bite bandage that is not a SMART snake bandage

NB: In previous years runners have experienced sub zero conditions during the night run with strong winds, giving a wind chill factor in the area of minus 5/10 degrees. Please prepare well for the night section or be prepared for a DNF.