Is Australia part of Asia? This question. has been going around our ATM community for nearly a year. Politically and geographically quite certainly not. But in sports, quite often it is and more and more so. Australia will be able to compete in selected sports disciplines at the 2022 Asian Games, for example. In World Cup soccer, Australia needs to qualify itself competing against Asian nations. Because Mr Ian Cornelius, event organiser of Nerang 200 - as Ultra Trail Gold Coast was called until 2018 - kept on pushing for entry into ATM, we eventually decided: let’s go down under! The 2018 event was a Candidate Race, and in 2019 the event is included in our Asia Trail Master Championship series.
However, the event is quite particular, with a fantastic runner’s atmosphere and a beautiful technical loop of 25km at its core. This loop can be run almost as many times as you like, but competitors for the Asia Trail Master Championship will be required to focus on the 100 km and 50 km race distances. Both of these are also A-races, which means maximum 400 performance points for the winner on top of the 100 finisher points. All races as of 100k, so also the 175k, 325k and 500k are of course valid for 1 point in the Grandmaster Quest.
Note that the 100K starts on Saturday morning and the 50K on Sunday morning.
Some reasons to make the journey to Australia end of September:
Conducted in suburbia behind the Gold Coast, Australia's premier holiday destination (come for the race; stay for the vacation)
Within one hour's drive from two major international airports (Brisbane & Gold Coast)
looped course of 25 km loops, impossible to get lost, great for crews
options of 25-50-100-175-325-500 km races. Note: only the 100k and 50k races offer points for the Asia Trail Master Championship. Both are A-races.
895 metres of elevation gain per 25 km loop
electronic timing with progressive internet update for all event options
medical facilities available at race headquarters 24 hrs/day for the full 6 days
For all event details and fine print, please go to the official event website
As mentioned above, you can choose between Brisbane and Gold Coast. Both are one hour’s drive away from Nerang, the event town.
Accommodation in those cities is plenty, and during the event you can also camp in Nerang along the race loop.
Download the PDF version of the course map
The event grew out of the Nerang State Forest race of 25-50 kms established in 2011. The races were conducted on a 25 kms loop within the forest. Subsequently the area was re-gazetted as a National Park and is now known as the Nerang National Park. The run course is on 4WD fire trails and is undulating with 2-3 steep climbs. The elevation gain is 895 metres per 25 kms loop, so while not savage or particularly technical, it is quite testing. The event was extended in 2016 to include 100 kms and 100 mile options and was extended further in 2018 to include a 200 mile option. While 200 mile races are well established and gaining momentum in America, this was the first 200 miler in Australia.
The event was spectacularly successful and organisers decided to add a further option, of 500 kms starting in September 2019. This will be the longest rail race in the world and very testing, with 17,900 metres of elevation gain..
The loop concept works particularly well. The race is hubbed out of the Nerang cycling velodrome which means that food, fluids and rest facilities are provided every 25 kms. There are three intermediate unmanned stations in the 25 kms circuit with the race headquarters hosting medical tent, cooking and rest facilities. Contestants are advised to bring crew, sleeping bag and a small tent. Organisers provide some 50 marquees for shelter. Overseas competitors will be provided with a tent and sleeping bag for a nominal hire fee.
With an entry fee of $1500 the event is only half the cost of similar extreme events elsewhere in the world.... such as Marathon de Sable, Atacama Crossing, Moab 240 and 6633 Arctic Ultra etc.
The Nerang National Park is situated just 20 kms inland from the famous Gold Coast beaches. The Gold Coast is Australia’s premier tourist destination and is the theme park capital of Australia. The race venue is just a one hour drive from the Gold Coast and Brisbane international airports. Accommodation facilities are abundant.
The events form part of the prestigious Asia Trail Master circuit.
There is a tremendous sense of camaraderie at the event. The are shorter options available, from 25 kms up to the main event of 500 kms. Bump in is on Monday 23 September, race briefing at 5:00 pm (mandatory) and the race starts at 6:00 am on Tuesday 24 September. Cut-off Is 144 hours later, at 6:00 am Monday 30 September. Prizegiving for the 25-50-100 kms races will be as soon as practicable after each event, with prizegiving for the 100 miler (175 kms), 200 miler (325 kms) and 500 kms being at 10:30 am on Monday 30 September at a venue to be announced. The Monday is a public holiday in the State of Queensland.