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29 November 2023
The Grampians Peaks Trail is designed as a 13-day hiking experience, but at the weekend it took leading ultramarathon runners less than 30 hours to complete.
The inaugural GPT 100 Miler put athletes to the test across four stages, from Thursday to Sunday – starting at Mt Zero and concluding at Dunkeld.
Athletes navigated challenging terrain and wild weather to complete the event – with men’s winner Michael Dunstan blitzing the field to cross the line in less than 24 hours.
Dunstan, a musician hailing from Western Australia, made his debut to 100-mile racing in the Grampians.
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He placed ahead of Matt Crehan and Chris McAuliffe.
Kellie Angel won the women’s race in 28 hours, 18 minutes.
Cecilia Mattas placed second, also completing the course in less than 30 hours, while Bec Howe rounded out the podium in third.
Both winners of the full distance received $2500 prizemoney.
Angel, considered the greatest of all-time Australian ultra runner, has performed at the top of the sport in Australia and overseas for more than a decade.
The Grampians event marked her return to the 100-mile distance since having two boys, most recently in June last year.
She gained a second place at Lavaredo 80km in Italy in July and three other podiums in her European summer of racing throughout the year.
She said she and her family had spent countless weekends in the Grampians, Gariwerd – including getting married in the area.
She said frogs were her ‘spirit animal’, kangaroos accompanied her to the finish line, while vegemite sandwiches, rice balls, potatoes, sour lollies and noodles fuelled the run.
“It really was a tough race. Such unique country and terrain, the impact of the rock and steps so harsh on the body. The rain and fog just added to the challenge, as well as a short lightning stop and shelter,” she shared to Instagram.
“With 30km to go, I could barely move, especially on the downhills and down steps. But we got there and finished just as we started – in torrential rain.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so sore during or after a race.”
Trail organisers, SingleTrack Events, had mapped out different ways to take on the race and competitors could endeavour to conquer the 100-mile race individually or by relaying in teams.
The Weekly Advertiser met Michael Dimuantes, who crossed the line first on Thursday in a 50km leg of the race between Mt Zero and Halls Gap, which, while the longest leg, is considered ‘easy’ to move through at speed.
Dimuantes had trained mostly on fire trails and roads and said he went into the race ‘blind’ after breaking his watch days prior.
He said he was tired, hot and ‘a bit cut up’ as he crossed the line.
“The trail here goes with the landscape features. It’s beautiful in that way, but it means that it’s harder to get a rhythm,” Dimuantes said.
“I probably went out a little bit hard because it was really technical, scrambling, hand over feet.
“The middle section is really challenging and exposed, scrambling over rocks the whole time.”
People wanting more information can go to gpt100.com.au
The entire November 29, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire November 29, 2023 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!