Lightning Strikes in Mt Stromlo – Again

The Stromlo Running Festival was founded by Australian marathon legend Robert de Castella – former world record holder and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, he is eminently qualified to oversee a race of this magnitude, but it is the reason for its founding that adds weight to Deek’s involvement. 

The festival was begun to commemorate the disastrous fires of 2003, which devastated the Mt Stromlo area, killing 4 people and injuring hundreds more. It resulted in the loss of more than 500 homes and the famed Mt Stromlo Observatory. De Castella’s own home was one of those levelled. 

In memory of the event, the various distances of the Festival are named “Lightning Strike” in an acknowledgement of the lightning storm which started the main blaze. 

Newly acquired by Mountain Sports, the races are a 50km, 30km and 10km trail run through the refurbished forests, and a 2.5km Kids’ Run over a grassy cross country track. The 30km event is a qualifier for the renowned 6 Foot Track Marathon. 

Close to 1,000 runners registered for the event in 2017, a record number of entries, with the majority opting for the 30km run. The longer distances consisted of loops around the Mt Stromlo Forster Park, with each loop bringing the runners through the race precinct and Finish Line, with the crowd urging them on and Deeks providing commentary. 

Although the threatened rain and storms held off, the day gradually got warmer and warmer for the runners, and the 50km competitors and slower 30km runners started to feel the stress. Nothing affected the kids’ runs, and the enthusiasm level, as 100 kids aged from 3 to 13 scampered across the finish line to claim their medals. 

With promised improvements to the course and a rumoured new date, this race with its faithful followers will only grow larger, and with the continued involvement of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation – who were well represented on the day – is guaranteed a long and successful future in the ACT. 

Full results here.

Information about the race here.

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