Australian Outback Marathon 2018
Setting off in a south-Westerly direction from the start/finish area, the ground underfoot turns from a graded bush road to a genuine bush fire-trail, with a combination of packed and soft, red earthy sand underfoot. After approximately 3km you will cross the Lassiter Highway and turn north-west for another 3km. Look out for stunning views of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) on your left.
The course then turns in a north-easterly direction for another 2km and the ground changes once again from a desert track back to an unsealed but graded road. After approximately 8km you hit one of the few sealed roads on the course, Mala Road, which takes you through the village of Yulara on your way to more off-road trails. After crossing both Giles Road and Coote Road, a brief turn due North takes you back onto the red earth as you head up towards Connellan Airport.
You start to head back towards the start/finish area after approximately 12km. There are a few small dunes to navigate here with some spectacular views of Uluru awaiting you over almost every tiny bump in the road.
The 15km mark sees you cross a different sectiuon of the Lassiter Highway and another short stretch of sealed road awaits you before you head off once again into the bush. After approximately 18.5km you will take a left turn where a 5km stretch of pure Australian Outback awaits you, and there are once again some truly amazing views to be had here. Look out for the view at the top of Jem’s Dune which is almost exactly half-way.
At around 22.5km you take a right followed by a left (approx. 200m) and you start the trip home. Utilising some of the tracks near the resort, you take a long, meandering loop over a small dune and continue on until you hit the track at the 26km mark. This marks the way back to the finish and you are now 3/5ths of the way back.
After once again crossing the Lassiter Highway you will get to see some fantastic views of Kata Tjuta, especially in the 30km-32km stretch. Back through Yulara village at around 32.5km sees you once again on Mala Road, the only sealed section of the course, with the red earth once again waiting to welcome you at around 36km. Here you will also get to see the twin sights of Kata Tjuta on your left and Uluru on your right.
From here it is plain sailing all the way to the finish line, with yet more breath-taking views to inspire you over the last few kilometres.
The entire course is relatively flat from a topographical point of view but there are a few little inclines here and there. A couple of short sand dunes also make an appearance and whilst they are not long or high they will certainly feel like a challenge when running up them. The views at the top will certainly make the effort worthwhile.
Underfoot can get a little soft in places but this is “the red earth” after all!