Lucy Bartholomew on her way to winning Ultra-Trail Australia 100km title.
Lucy Bartholomew on her way to winning Ultra-Trail Australia 100km title.

Race win perfect birthday present for trail runner

ATHLETICS: Australia's Lucy Bartholomew and American Tim Tollefson have taken out the Ultra-Trail Australia 100km title on the 10th Anniversary of the trail running event.

From the 18-21 May, more than 5000 runners competed in the Southern Hemisphere's largest trail running event, Ultra-Trail Australia, which took place in Katoomba in the NSW Blue Mountains.

Faced with temperatures of less than 6 degrees and 22 millimetres of rain across Friday and Saturday leading to last minute course changes, runners tackled steep stairs, harrowing descents ranging from sea level to an elevation of 1100m, thick bushland and overflowing creeks.

Bartholomew from Melbourne, not only celebrated a win but it was also the day of her 21st birthday. She finished in 10 hours 52 minutes.

"It was the most special race I've ever done. I had people coming at me, wishing me happy birthday, telling me I've got this and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

"The win is a bonus, but having my dad and my brother to come up here and my brother to crew me and his girlfriend, that means the world to me, more than a first place on the podium. But it's a bonus, I wouldn't change it."

Six-time gold medal Paralympian Michael Milton, who was the first person to attempt the race with one leg and on crutches, competed in the 50km race, alongside winners Samir Tamang (NEP) and Kellie Emerson (AUS).

Michael, who finished in 12 hours 8 minutes, said that the race pushed him to his limits.

"It's great to finish. Finishing is just about keeping moving, so we minimised checkpoint times and stop times ... and eventually you get there. There was the party at the start and the party in the finish."

Race Director Tom Landon-Smith was thrilled with the turnout for the event's 10th Anniversary.

"This year's Ultra-Trail Australia was epic, with the weather making the course tougher than ever before. We had record participation numbers and one of the biggest international line-ups to date.

"We'd like to thank all the runners, local community and visitors to the area, for all their support and making the 10th Anniversary of UTA one of our most memorable events."

"We are looking forward to another successful year in 2018, with entries opening this October. Spaces for the UTA100 and UTA50 fill up fast so put it in your diary!"