More than 170 runners, up from 120 in 2017, from across Australia and overseas will start in the 2018 Run Larapinta, a four-day, four-stage event beginning on Friday.
There are two different lengths: The Malbunka has stages between 20 km and 45 km each day, whilst The Namatjira provides a shorter option with stages varying between 11 km and 30 km over the four days.
Lars Oppermann, who is returning from Melbourne, will set a new record this year as the first to compete at every Run Larapinta since its inception in 2015.
“I love the area,” he says according to a media release. “Especially Day Three has scenery that I hadn’t seen on the short course. I thought it would be nice to see something new, as well as revisit some of the familiar places.”
Ballarat endurance runner Mick Marshall has included Run Larapinta in his Guinness Book of World Record attempt for the Most Desert Races Ran in a single Year.
Deb Nicholl from Brisbane tackled Run Larapinta as her first stage race in 2017 and after running 136 kms through the MacDonnell ranges, triumphantly crossed the finish line as the first female and third place overall.
Run Larapinta was first held in 2015 when 78 runners took part, 116 participated in the 2016 edition and over 120 runners competed in 2017.
Rapid Ascent General Manager Sam Maffett says ultra marathons are growing in popularity around the country: “But Run Larapinta Stage Race is unique in Australia. It also provides the ideal opportunity for runners to combine their love of running with a visit to one of the most spectacular destinations in Australia, the Red Centre.”