Big Red Run 2016 Stage 1

25 Jun 2016 09:27
Niandi Carmont
Big Red Run Stage 1Credit : Ian Corless

The Big Red Run 2016§staticmap(64077,5,800,400)

The event starts and ends in Birdsville which is traditionally owned by the Wangkanguru people and is situated in Central West Queensland, Australia. Birdsville is on the edge of the Simpson Desert and has a population of about 100. There’s an airport, a fuel station, a couple of hotels, a camp site and that’s about it. With the big Red Run the population triples. Oh and there is a pub in the Birdsville Hotel called the Green Lizard Bar. The story has it that in 1968 flooding isolated the town from all directions and the pub ran out of beer but there were extensive stocks of Creme de Menthe and lemonade. And so for the ensuing months “Green Lizard” cocktails were the only alcoholic beverages available to quench the locals’ thirst.

Today the tiny slumbering outback town was woken up to pre-dawn noises of inflatable structures being blown up, the hustle and bustle of volunteers preparing spot trackers and the almost 90 registered participants of this years edition of the Big Red Run (250km) and the Little Red Run (150km) dropping off camp bags for the first stage of this annual 6-day multi-stage event through the Simpson Desert.

Big Red Run Stage 1Credit : Ian Corless

There are two race options:

The Big Red Run: 250km

Day 1 = ‘Birdsville Marathon’ – 42.195km
Day 2 = ‘Adria Downs Marathon’ – 42.195km
Day 3 = ‘Arpilindika Marathon’ – 42.195km
Day 4 = ‘Sprigg Sprint’ 31km
Day 5 = 84.39km (the equivalent of two individual marathons back to back!!!)
Marathon 1 “Mohan Marathon”
Marathon 2 “Roseberth Marathon”
Day 6 = ‘Birdsville or Bust’ – final 8km run to Birdsville Pub

The Little Red Run:150km

Day 1 = ‘Birdsville Marathon’ – 42.2km (same as Big Red Run)
Day 2 = ‘Adria Downs Half Marathon’ – 21.1km
Day 3 = ‘Arpilindika Half Marathon’ – 21.1km
Day 4 = ‘Sprigg Sprint’ 15.4km
Day 5 = Marathon 1 “Mohan Marathon” – 42.2km (Same as 1st day 5 Marathon of Big Red Run)
Day 6 = ‘Birdsville or Bust’ – final 8km run to Birdsville Pub

Big Red Run Stage 1Credit : Ian Corless

The terrain is a mix of gibber plains, sand dunes, salt lakes, clay pans and dusty station tracks with temperatures depending on weather conditions as at this time of the year it often rains in Australia’s fourth largest desert. There were 88 starters on today’s start line for the first stage and the weather conditions favourable to the runners – cooler temperatures than 2015 with a slight breeze, The early morning winter start was very chilly and due to recent rainfall the course was relatively easy running with packed and firmer sand as well as softer gibber plains.
Big Red Run Stage 1Credit : Ian Corless

Swedish Elisabet Barnes was first overall on this first 42km stage, coming in at just under 4 hours, with a 15-minute lead on the second runner. “I pushed myself a little too hard today but I felt good considering I’ve just come back from the Richterveld Transfrontier Wildrun. Tomorrow will tell.”

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