ULTRA INTENSE: Sixteen Emerald runners and their support crew headed to Blackall for the Blackall 100.
ULTRA INTENSE: Sixteen Emerald runners and their support crew headed to Blackall for the Blackall 100. Contributed

Runners go the distance

BATTLING the elements and exhaustion, 16 runners from Emerald crossed the Blackall 100 finish line racking up a combined effort of 1000km and more than 140 hours running/hiking.

The athletes plus two support crew from Emerald travelled to the Sunshine Coast for the event which features races of 50km and 100km in length.

Group spokesperson Jolie Hannah said the race isn't just about lasting the distance but also overcoming all the added obstacles like terrain, elevation, weather conditions, exhaustion and mental hurdles.

"The total combined distance run by the group on the weekend was a smidgen over 1000km,” Hannah said.

"Our group from Emerald was made up of runners with all types of experience.

"For some, this was their first major race while for others, this was another tick off their list of running goals.

"What was encouraging to see was all the Emerald runners, who are all at different levels, do the best they could.

"A highlight for me was supporting runners at checkpoints near the end of their 100km run when they're in a bit of discomfort and in need of someone to force them to eat and drink and to deal with any cramping or blisters,” she said.

"Seeing their determination to persevere and then their sense of achievement when crossing the finish line, there's nothing like it!”

The sold-out event is in its fifth year which Hannah said is indicative of the rising popularity of trail running as reflected in Emerald by the increasing uptake of the sport.

Competing in her third ultra-trail marathon event, Hannah said runners have to battle all types of conditions from rivers, stairs and wildlife.

"In previous years, the Blackall100 event has included course changes due to bushfires and another year due to torrential rain,” she said.

"This year the original course was used which included 1500+ metres of elevation - and that's just for the 50km event!”

"The winner finished the 100km event in nine hours 57 minutes - averaging about 6min/km over the 100km course which included creek crossings, stair sections, switchback mountain descents and ascents and single trail rocky terrain.”

Though the race may be finished for another year, Hannah said planning has begun for a trail running and mountain biking weekend mid next year to provide local opportunity for people to be involved.

"The event established the CQ trail runners group which encompassed runners from Rockhampton also,” she said.

"The ultra community is inclusive and supportive, we love to welcome new faces to the sport.

"Training is also a massive enjoyment throughout the lead up.

"We often train as a group in a variety of ways, road and trail runs at places like Minerva National Park at Springsure and Blackdown Tablelands offering some variety to the roads around town.

"There are always vacancies for volunteers at these events- you don't have to be a runner.”

Check out CQ Trail Runners Facebook page for more information.

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