Southern Sydney 24 Hour Ultra Race successfully revived in the Shire

Sunset: Evening of Saturday 8 hours after the first race started. Picture: Martin Cansell.
Sunset: Evening of Saturday 8 hours after the first race started. Picture: Martin Cansell.

The Southern Sydney 24 hour Ultra Race was run this past weekend, June 5-6, at the Barden Ridge Sporting Complex.

Previously held in Campbelltown, the event was renamed and moved south to the Shire for 2021 to make it more accessible to the many runners and walkers that call the Shire home.

The organisers themselves are from Engadine and wanted to bring the important race of National interest to the area.

There was a record 179 registered runners, 157 turning up to participate in the six races on the day.

The races ranged from the main race of 24 hours to 12, six and three hours, 100km and a marathon.

The 24-hour race had the most entrants at 42. Three of the male competitors impressively reached over 200km.

Joe Ward was the fastest, winning with a total distance of 241.8km. This result gives him the opportunity to qualify for the Australian team.

Jenny Morris won the women's race, with 186.5km. Also, an impressive feat as she had never raced on a track before.

The weekend saw three people break Australian age-group records.

In the Men's 12hr 25 to 29-year-olds, Dominic Bullock set a record, running 146.2km. Dominic had never run over more than five hours before this and still managed to run 10km more than the previous record.

Tia Jones broke two records in the women's six-hour, 55 to 59-years-old. She ran the fastest 50km in Australia at 4:15:46 and set the record for the furthest distance, with 69.7km.

Maybe the most remarkable record breaker from the weekend was the 95-year-old walker, Heather Lee, who walked 26.3km in the six-hour, a record for her age group.

Other notable older competitors were an 88-year-old male in the marathon and an 86-year-old female in the six-hour.

Ultra Running NSW Race Director Stephen Redfern said the weekend was fantastic and despite being their first time hosting the event, it was flawless.

"The weather was perfect, we had great numbers, and everyone loved it out there," he said.

"It was great to see, and we had really good feedback from everyone.

"Even locals who were just around and came down to see what was happening gave us positive feedback."

Stephen said that two-thirds of the runners were from the Shire and that this will become the new home for the annual event.

"We are definitely doing it again next year," he said. "When the past group ran it at Campbelltown, it was run on the first weekend of June each year. That's what we did this year, and it's what we are hoping to continue to do in the future. It was fantastic and we can't wait for next year.