The Yurrebilla 56k Ultra (Y56K) is the jewel in South Australia’s trail running crown and takes in some of the state’s most picturesque near-city trails. Held each year near Adelaide where ioMerino is based, this year’s race was the 9th running and attracted a record 400+ competitors.
The race itself is remarkable in that while it takes in some classic Australian native bushland and covers a grand total of 56kms in distance, it is rarely more than 15kms away from the state’s capital city – a testament to the great natural conservation in South Australia.
Another feature of the race is its ‘reverse seeding’ with slower runners starting earlier than elites, which is opposite to how most similar races are run. Usually the elites race first to give them a clear shot at the trails, but in the Y56K elites start up to 2.5hrs behind and pass through the ranks on their way to the finish.
The race is designed this way to mix up the field and give everyone a chance to cross paths along the way, and in particular, for the mere mortals to see the elites in action as they race past. Despite much of the race being held on single trail, the spirit of the event sees slower runners making room for the faster runners as they work their way through the field.ioCrew member Sputnik who has been adventuring in Cambodia returned to Australia for the race, but had a less than ideal day out on the trails. “This really is one of my favourite races which is why I had to come back for it. It’s got a bit of everything and isn’t too extreme. The forecast was for a relatively mild 24c which was much cooler than I’d been training in over in Cambodia, so I was looking forward to a nice day out. But my training and preparation hadn’t been anywhere near enough, so I was expecting to run a pretty modest time this year” he said.That modest time consisted of an 8:50 finish, almost two hours off his PR on the course a few years earlier. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that there’s a lot of variables in these longer races. The more time you’re out there, the more things can go wrong. I was comfortable enough in my exclusive ioMerino Altitude Tee which performed perfectly as always, but everything else from my shoes to my nutrition I struggled with and had a really tough day from about he 20km mark onwards. In the end, I was probably lucky just to finish.”
Without wanting to make Sputnik’s time look too bad (it’s a respectable enough time for a regular runner), this year saw David Byrne smash the course record with a blistering run of 4:22 while Lucy Bartholomew returned to the event after a disappointing outing in 2014 and took out the women’s field in 5:44.
Anyone looking to sample some of South Australia’s finest trail running can find details of the event here.
Keep up to date with Sputnik’s adventures here.