Amandas race report

strong women trail runs Jul 16, 2022


ULTRA ADELAIDE 34K (TRIAL RUN), Morialta Falls to Elder Park Adelaide – Amanda Carne

Sometimes you gotta give scary things a go.


After making the Belair Half marathon trail run in May, the Ultra Adelaide arrived.  This was the inaugural race where competitors could choose their preferred distance – 100ks (starting in Kuitpo), 50ks (starting at Mt Lofty), 34ks (starting at Morialta Falls), or the 19k linear park run, which followed the Torrens River bike path into Elder Park in the city.


Arriving early to drop off a friend doing the 50k, we park up the hill from the Adelaide Oval. The morning is overcast and cold, but no rain. The organizers and volunteers are a fantastic bunch. There is wholesome energy of fun around the finish chute and tents in Elder Park.  We collect our timing chips and have our packs checked for the mandatory items you must carry with you throughout the race. (eg water, space blanket, snake bandage, whistle, mobile phone, etc.).  There will be spot checks at the aid stations through the race, so you can’t offload anything.


The start times were staggered apart, with shuttle buses transporting runners to their respective start lines. The 100k-ers had already left at 6am, the 50k-ers at 9am, with the 34k-ers (my bus) leaving for Morialta Falls at 11am for a 12noon start.


On the bus, we hold up our hand and recite the ‘Trail Runner’ oath – very entertaining; once at Morialta Falls, we disembark, do the necessary toilet stop, and get ready to race. Just as the race briefing commences, the front-runners of the 50ks are coming through (woohoo!). They have to check in at the aid station and continue on.

We are reminded to do the same at the Linear Park aid station and to follow the pink ribbons and green arrow markers along the course.


We line up near the Ultra Adelaide flags, and on the starter’s go, we commence the 34 kilometres into the city … GO TIME … straight up a long, steep, winding hill. According to the end, this Morialta section of the Ultra Adelaide is the hardest, with some very high unrelenting peaks and steep downhill descents! 


The fun of trail running is the challenging terrain…. hills, valleys, fire tracks, trails, rocks, creeks, mud, clay, puddles, embankments – it’s all there! I plan to not blow my legs up on the first few hills, so “strong walking uphill, jog downhill, and keep good form for as long as I can before walking again” was the key.


Onward and [literally] upward, these hills were obscene … I have never seen anything so steep… you walked under duress, and just when you thought it was over, the damn thing kept going! LOL, Some trail runners use walking poles … I just trudged on… Your calves burn. Your quads ache. You stay focused on not tripping or falling… it’s quite a challenge.  Mid-incline, I stop momentarily facing downhill to relieve the pain in my calves. It’s unbelievable.


On the flats, I set myself a rhythm and steady myself along the narrow, rocky goat tracks. There are fallen branches and logs to navigate and scratchy brambles to avoid. I’m 2hours in, and my nutrition and hydration are in check; I’m feeling pretty good.


Then I reach the 19k start/aid station, and it’s time for the long bike-path run into the city. The volunteers throughout this race are great. Here I have to stop, and they check my pack for two of the mandatory items. Tick and tick – done, and I am off at a steady pace.  Unfortunately, the last long downhill on a horrible surface has caused my pelvis to ache. I set good form and did my best to keep pace with a 50k-er with his pacer in front of me… but this was not to be. The undulating bike path into the city is playing havoc … downhill slopes are hurting, and uphill is tiring, so I dig deep and just keep moving.

The last aid station appears… a little girl in a cat hoodie is holding out a large foam hand and ringing a cowbell ... I accept that high five with a big smile and ask her for a power surge.  About 10ks to go … Keeping the negative thoughts at bay, I just must dig deep and get to the end.

“Rhythm on the run. Steady and strong” … walking only when my form drops.  By this time, I had caught up with several 34k-ers that raced ahead at the start and passed some tailenders of the 19k runners.  The sun is lower in the sky, and I just want to get in before sunset.  I can only control how I go from here.

A 100k runner and his coach pass me… he’s doing well. I forge on … and I finally make Hackney Road… only 2ks to go. I am so close!

Under the King William Street bridge and my friends come into sight!  Their cheer spurs me on… I find a final kick of speed to run past the rotunda, around the fencing onto the grass and through to the finish chute! WOOT!! I DID IT … a swimmer runs 34 kilometres… what the?!

RESULT: 5th female in the 34k (in 4hrs33:30).

I have never done anything so hard in my life! – we were blessed with good weather, and that sense of achieving a scary goal is the best.





Amanda has come so far with her running in the last few years, not only with the triathlon speed but also endurance; building the foundations of aerobic capacity has definitely paid off in a big way, not to mention the posture, core and strength work that definitely played a massive part in this race, keep up the great training and keep an eye on Amanda in the up and coming triathlon season as I know we will see some truely out standing perfromances.