Bogong boys do it tough in the Alpine Challenge 

Mountain running, trail running, call it what you will but it is becoming very popular. Over the weekend of the 17-18th of March, the Alpine Challenge, Australia’s toughest and most scenic 100mile (160km) /100km mountain run was held in the spectacular Australian Alps. The event route commenced at Bogong Village situated on the Bogong High Plains Road and passed through well known scenic landmarks such as Mount Bogong, Mount Nelse, Mount Hotham, Mount Feathertop and the Fainters before finishing back at Bogong Village.
A total of 65 runners fronted up for the 4.30am start from Bogong Village, with a 14km dash up Spion Kopje being the first of many challenges throughout the gruelling race. At the start of the race a sub-24-hour finish stood as the as yet unobtainable time to beat in the premier 100 mile solo event. Some runners were there to better their own personal bests in the solos and some were there to pit their grit and determination against the elements in the team events such as the 100km solo/team challenges. And some were there to run in the 60km Alpine Experience, a two-day introductory event to the joys of trail running!

The Bogong Boys - Merv and Vic

Amongst it all was team Bogong Boys, made up of our very own Merv Trease and his long-time friend and running buddy, Vic Sedunary. Merv and Vic had opted to enter the 100km team event. Says Merv of the race, "We were competing for the mental and physical challenge of doing 100km, which would include some 4000 metres of ascent and descent, and we knew we needed to do it before our bodies got much older!"
Heavy wind and rain in the two weeks leading up to the event had downed and toppled some vegetation and had swollen three major river crossings which were to be part of the race route. Luckily the water levels subsided to a safe level and three hours before the race start, the river crossings were deemed to be back in the route. Of the race conditions Merv added, "The real blessing was that before the start the sky was clear indicating good weather. The temp was about 7°C – not too bad. Most of the first 15km was uphill. It included a knee deep river crossing after about 30 minutes which certainly woke us up! The sun was rising as we headed east over Mt Spion Kopje. The beauty was breathtaking as the valleys were filled with cloud. Soon the cloud from the valleys lifted to provide a broken cover from the fairly hot sun – ideal conditions for the event."
The 100 mile (160km) solo event has a reputation of being one of Australia’s most challenging trail runs. With the strength of this year's field, the 45% did not finish (DNF) rate demonstrates how gruelling the event really is, especially considering the ideal running conditions. As runners passed Pole 333, a major checkpoint located on the Bogong High Plains, the temperatures with wind chill dropped to near freezing. In the 30km between Pole 333 and Harrietville eight of the 20 starters in the 100 mile distance succumbed to fatigue, cold and loss of direction. Alpine Search and Rescue who had coordinated a training event in support of the Alpine Challenge quickly stepped in to assist these runners.

Merv at the 60km mark - still going strong

Merv presents Matt Cooper with his prize, courtesy of Bogong Equipment  


By the end of the race the 24-hour barrier remained unbroken but was given a mighty nudge by Matt Cooper who took more than two hours off his personal best for the event and set a new course record for the 100 miles of 25 hours 19 minutes. First woman over the line in the solo 100 miles was Kathy MacMillan finishing in a time of 37 hours 45 minutes.


With the strength of this year's field, the 45% did not finish (DNF) rate demonstrates how gruelling the event really is......

In the 100km relay Simon Morcom and Chris Carr smashed the course in 12 hours 49 minutes with Todd Jenkinson from Queensland leading the solo runners home in 19 hours 51 minutes. Team Suck it up Princess, participants in the introductory 60km Alpine Experience had a great time finishing in a leisurely 15 hours 19 minutes.
This year the event aimed to raise money to assist Road Trauma Support Services and was backed by a number of sponsors including Bogong Equipment. As it happens our Bogong Boys won their 100km team event in a time of 20 hours 46 minutes and raised over $1000. Merv says, "We were delighted to finish in the time we did and to know we raised over $1000 for Road Trauma Victim Support." How did the bodies hold up? "No problems, we were both back running by the Wednesday after the event. We were totally in awe of the winner of the 100 mile event with 7000m up and down in 25 hours 19 minutes. Amazing."

The winning time - 20 hours 46 minutes 


Merv presents a prize to women's 100km winner Tamsin Barnes



Events like the Alpine Challenge require appropriate footwear. Just in store at Bogong are the new La Sportiva Wildcat trail running shoes.

More details here....

Bogong carries a good range of trail running or mountain running shoes.

See our range here....