Tough conditions and competition at the Falls Creek Mountain Raid Adventure Race Aus

15/02/2015 by Steve Knowles

After two days of intense adventure racing in varied weather conditions there was only 22 seconds separating first and second place in the Falls Creek Mountain Raid Adventure Race, with Team Peak Adventure taking the win for the second year in a row.

credit Rapid Ascent.

The Falls Creek Mountain Raid Adventure Race, held on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February, required competitors to navigate their way around Falls Creek and the Bogong High Plains, whilst trail running, mountain biking, paddling on Rocky Valley Lake and a few stage surprises along the way.

Day 1 truly tested the 22 adventure race teams, with the cold, wet and foggy conditions proving extremely challenging. Despite the inclement weather, spirits were high and it was tight racing with Team Adventure Junkies finishing the Long Course with a 25 second lead at the end of the day.

Competitors welcomed the beautiful, sunny conditions on Day 2 that allowed them to really enjoy the magical scenery of Falls Creek in summer. Again, racing was tight and in the end Team Peak Adventure - Jarad Kohlar, Mitch Bodycoat, Ian Franzke, Emma Weitnauer – proved too strong and managed to secure the win. It’s the second year that Jarad Kohlar’s Peak Adventure team has been victorious.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to defend the title, especially given it’s a new team this year and Emma’s first race in about three years.

“It was a good contrast in the weather across the two days, going from wet and cold to sunny and scenic, and we definitely raced better on the second day.

“Racing and training at Falls Creek is fantastic with the high altitude, the Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley lakes and the plateau being so close to the village; it’s great up here.

“I’d like to thank the event sponsors for helping to make this event happen and the support from Peak Adventure’s sponsors Hammer Nutrition, Thule, 2XU and Jetts,” said Jarad Kohlar, Team Peak Adventure.

International team The French Toasts – Alexis Scheid, Wandrille de Pierrefeu, Alexandre Catu and Emilie Varral - were all born in France and now live in Singapore, and came across to Australia specifically to do the Falls Creek Mountain Raid.

“Yesterday was a nightmare as the weather conditions made it really tough but it was still a good day. Then today it was perfect and the scenery made it even more enjoyable. We weren’t so good on the mountain bike but the running was really good and we’re proud that we finished. It was such a great event and yes, we’d love to come back again,” said the team at the finish line.

There was also a Short Course Adventure Race designed for new comers to adventure racing and was approximately half the distance. This too proved challenging given the weather but the enthusiasm of the competitors was to be admired.

The Trotting Chicks Mark II, an all-female team from Melbourne, met through paddling training with Peak Adventure. Two of the team members hadn’t done an adventure race before.

“We loved every minute of it, especially the views today. Physically it’s a real test of endurance and mental strength but it was really fun,” they said.

The Star FM team of Jodie Wills, Guy Wills, Linda Bogotto and Julie Clarke won their entry into the event through a radio competition on Albury’s 104.9 Star FM.

“We haven’t done anything like this before and it was longer and more intense than what we were expecting. There was great camaraderie between the teams and we feel 100% satisfaction in finishing the event. It was awesome and we’re definitely booking in for next year. Loved it,” they said.

The adventure racers weren’t the only one’s competing at Falls Creek. Held in conjunction with the adventure race was a series of four trail running races with 130 runners taking part.

The 10km Alpine Ash Run started things off on Saturday morning and took runners through some magnificent parts of the Falls Creek ski area, giving runners a ‘Grand Tour’ of the resort.

Ben Derrick, a 16-time Australian cross country ski champion from Mt Beauty, won the men’s event and then went on to win the afternoon’s sprint as well. He may have had a slight advantage given he works at Falls Creek and is responsible for designing many of the trails.

Sharon Nannery, an experienced trail runner from Melbourne, won the women’s event.

Saturday afternoon was the muscle-burning 3km Summit Sprint, taking runners from Slalom Plaza, up through the village and the Summit Bowl to ring the bell at the very top, and then back down to finish at the event expo area in Slalom Plaza.

Again Ben Derrick proved too quick in the men’s event and Melbourne-based Louise Crossley won the women’s, after finishing second that morning.

On Sunday morning, runners chose between the 19km Heathy Spur Run and the shorter 9.6km Rocky Valley Run, both courses boasting scenic alpine trails featuring sections of forest, great views and fields of wild flowers.

Luke Preston from West Wodonga and Megan Spencer-Smith from Melbourne were victorious in the challenging 19km Heathy Spur Run.

In the 9.6km Rocky Valley Run, it was Ray Bradbury from Jan Juc who won the men’s event and Heather Wright, a teacher at The Alpine School in Dinner Plain, won the women’s.

Joe Kuriel from Melbourne competed in three of the trail runs and wasn’t at all deterred by the weather.

“Race 1 was cold, wet and windy - exactly how mountain running should be – and Race 2 was a quad smasher. It was an excellent couple of days and I’ll be back next year for more fun,” said Joe Kuriel.




Adventure Race - Long Course Overall Winners

1.       Team Peak Adventure (Mixed) - Jarad Kohlar, Mitch Bodycoat, Ian Franzke, Emma Weitnauer – 6:03:47

2.       Team Adventure Junkies (Mixed) - Hugh Stodart, Serge Kurov, Sam Stedman, Bernadette Dornom – 6:04:09

3.       Team DASH (Male Team) - Jarrod Mitchell, Dave Leggo, Andy Turner, Stuart MacQueen – 8:47:09

Adventure Race – Short Course Overall Winners

1.       Team Born to Taper (Male Team) – Paul Carter, Simon Kinsay, Aidan McDonald, Marius Roman

2.       Team Bulls Deep (Male Team) – Paul Ellis, Luke Hall, Steve Pearse, Mark Robjant

3.       Team Canberra Cockatoos (Female Team) – Phoebe Dent, Kathie Dent, Allison Jones, Mace Neve

Trail Runs


Overall Male

Overall Female

10km Alpine Ash Run

1.       Ben Derrick   1:00:17

2.       Ben Lucas 1:02:40

3.       Anthony Weir 1:09:55

1.       Sharon Nannery 1:16:40

2.       Louise Crossley 1:21:30

3.       Lara Cann 1:23:42

3km Summit Sprint

1.       Ben Derrick 0:19:39

2.       Ben Lucas 0:19:58

3.       Jarad Kohlar 0:21:33

1.       Louise Crossley 0:27:44

2.       Lara Cann 0:29:10

3.       Kathryn Aplin 0:32:32

19km Heathy Spur Run

1.       Luke Preston 1:24:45

2.       Andrew Mock 1:26:50

3.       Ben Derrick 1:28:07

1.       Megan Spencer-Smith 1:43:38

2.       Marie Sinclair 1:47:59

3.       Sharon Nannery 1:54:07

9.6km Rocky Valley Run

1.       Ray Bradbury 0:57:35

2.       Alan Owen-Jones 0:58:55

3.       Joe Kuriel 1:01:13

1.       Heather Wright 1:07:28

2.       Elizabeth Bell 1:07:34

3.       Jessica Callaghan 1:08:49

Ben Derrick and Sharon Nannery were named King and Queen of the Mountain based on the aggregate of placings across three events.

For more information on the Falls Creek Mountain Raid visit