Running to the top of Australia

Main photo: One of the many stunning views on offer during the event.

Late last year a friend and I were driving through the Snowy Mountains and the topic came up that neither of us had been up to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, (the highest peak in mainland Australia). The moment I got home I immediately began looking into what was required to reach this peak, how far would I need to hike, where was the best location to start from and I stumbled upon a trail race called the Australian Alpine Ascent. It had all the makings for an epic event and I booked myself in there and then! On Saturday, I completed this event.

The Australian Alpine Ascent is a 25k or 50k trail run starting from Charlotte’s Pass ski village, taking in Mt Kosciuszko and looping back to finish at Charlotte’s Pass. The 50k event kicked off at 8am, an hour later myself and the 350+ other competitors started the 25k race. As soon as we left the start line we were immediately faced with a short, sharp climb out of the village to get the heart racing, followed by a flat run to the start of the trail head. From the trail head, we dropped down a fair way to cross the iconic Snowy River.

Crossing the beautiful Snowy River

After crossing the Snowy, it was basically a long, hard climb until we reached the summit. Whilst this section was tough, there was a steep section with a number of rock steps that was brutal, I was still having a great time. I was frequently amazed at the view and I couldn’t help but smile. Towards the summit the last 2 hours of climbing had started to take it’s toll and the cold wind had picked up, which was strength sapping. But that was all forgotten upon reaching the top!

At the top! “My legs don’t hurt at all…”

After a quick refuel it was time to head back down and run to the finish. The home stretch was a nice smooth gradual downhill, but damn it hurt. What normally would be quite an easy run, was made tough by the previous 15k of hard, uphill trail. The last few kilometers I was going between walking and slow jogging, when a lady jogged by and asked if I wanted to run the rest of the way with her. So I did, and we just casually chatted as we ran making it all the way to the finish line. Thank you to whoever you were!

Well what can I say about this event. Incredible, stunning, epic! I love being in the mountains and exploring the countryside. I’ve been lucky to see a lot of the Australian High Country and the Snowy Mountains, but for me that was as good as it gets. I was constantly in awe of the view and my surroundings. Not only that, but the event was really well run and organised and all of the people I met out on the trail or at the start line were friendly and super happy. It was a great event and I can’t wait to hit the start line next year!

Doing that race has also given me a greater appreciation of that area and the desire to do some more exploring. It’s roughly a 2 hour drive from my home to Charlotte’s Pass, that’s really nothing when you think about it. I’m definitely planning on getting up there more often and doing the occasional weekend hiking and camping in that beautiful part of the world.

Thank you to the event organisers and volunteers, such a great event. See you all next year!