Thundering Around the Barrington Tops

Once again, Tempus was privileged to be part of the first running of a new event – this time a challenging 33km trail run in the lower Barrington Tops, starting at pleasant Salisbury, and cresting at Corkers Trail at a frigid 1400 metres above sea level, before returning to Salisbury Lodges – the event hub. 

To add variety and an introductory level race, there was also a 16km option, which turned at Lagoon Pinch before returning to the Lodges. As added spice, there was a prize for the fastest male and female up and down Corker’s in the 33km race. The terrain covered included rainforest, alpine gum forest, and grassland – dotted with some fast-flowing river action. 

The name of the race derived from a colonial bushranger (bandit) named Captain Thunderbolt, who roamed these parts during the latter part of the 1800s. 

Being a first staging of this particular race, no-one was sure how the race times would pan out. In the event, it was a lightning-fast race won by Luke Glapa of Newcastle in 3:00:05. Female winner was Regina Wright, also from Newcastle, in 3:03:26. Interestingly, it was Wright who took the fastest Corker circuit time from Glapa, by a solid 45 seconds. In the 16km race, Felipe Blemith from Port Macquarie headed the field in 1:22:44, with Colleen West of Newcastle (1:34:22) the fastest female. 

Race Director Vlad Shatrov declared himself extremely happy with the way the event panned out, and is hopeful of an expanded field next time the event is staged. It was deliberately kept small as a first running, in order to iron out any wrinkles that may have appeared in the staging of the race. In the event there were none, and runners, sponsors and supporters enjoyed a weekend in one of the most picturesque parts of the Ranges. 

As a fully-fledged trail run, the organisers were emphatic about the safety of the runners, and mandatory gear was not only demanded, but checked, before runners were allowed to tackle the arduous climb up The Corker. The weather played fair, but it was noted by all participants how easily this could have changed in a short period of time if the weather had closed in, or the forecast snow had fallen on the upper parts of the race. 

Although demanding, the race attracted a large number of first-time trail runners, who enjoyed the experience immensely, and vowed to expand their knowledge and experience of trail running in the future. “Achievable but not impossible”, was the consensus on the day. A race with a solid future and a colourful history. 

Full results here.

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