Airlie Beach ultra-distance runner Chris Murphy completed the Run the Great Whitsunday Trail 57.4km race this year.
Airlie Beach ultra-distance runner Chris Murphy completed the Run the Great Whitsunday Trail 57.4km race this year. Contributed

Another Whitsundays run under the belt

POWERING home to shave close to a 10-minute off his personal best time, ultra-distance runner Chris Murphy knows the battles running hours on end will present.

Completing the 57.4km Run the Great Whitsunday Trail course in 6 hours and 36 minutes in warm conditions, Murphy said his race at the weekend threw some challenges his way, despite tackling the course last year.

"I gave up on running about three times during the race," he said.

"I was thinking I was done with running as a sport, but somehow you always find something that gets you to the finish."

The annual event, held on Sunday, hosted 136 keen trail runners for the three distance - 10.5km, 28.7km and 57.4km.

In a 19-strong field, Murphy crossed the finish line in 5th position in the ultra-distance, which was taken out by Townsville runners Sam Heames in the men's and Sonja Schonfeldt-Roy in the women's.

Sarah-Jane Miller impressively took out first place in the 28.7km race, beating first place male Mackay-based runner Brendan Rigley across the line.

Airlie Beach was well represented in the 10.5km Honey Eater event, as Sally Archibald stopped the clock in one hour, 19 minutes and 16 seconds, making her the first female to finish the distance.

Unlikely to find her ever running on the road, fitness fanatic Archibald said running in the mountains is a sport she can get into.

"I don't like running, but trail running I love," she said.

"It's gorgeous here in the Whitsundays, the trails are interesting, and they stop you from thinking about running because you're thinking about not tripping."

Event manager Wendy Downes said once again the event attracted runners from across Australia, and even from New Zealand and Uruguay.

"People love the destination of the Whitsundays and the track is a bit different each year because of our changing climate here," she said.

"This is one of those events where it's a challenging journey but is certainly a happy achievement once you complete it."


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