Join our mailing list

kMR stories

Articles & news from our kMR community.

Back to stories index

Who to look out for at kMR 2024

18 March 2024

Photo: Brodie Nankervis
Brodie Nankervis

Guest writers (and Salomon runners) Brodie Nankervis and Simone Brick, give us a taste of who to look out for across #kMR2024 weekend!

kunanyi Mountain Run returns for its third year with an exceptionally strong field of 800 plus runners who’ve chosen to #runwithkunanyi. With the Mountain Run 25km on Saturday also round 2 of the inaugural Golden Trail National Series, it’s made the event a huge drawcard for runners from across Australia, including some of the country’s fastest trail runners.

Photo: Simone Brick
Simone Brick

The unique Vertical Kilometre kicks off the weekend of racing at the 2024 kunanyi Mountain Run, which sees powerful elite Tassie runner Amy Lamprecht returning, to try and complete the trifecta after a 2nd in 2022 and 3rd (but faster time) in 2023. Also competing for the win will be Simone Brick, a seasoned trail runner from Melbourne who, after injury has plagued her last 12 months, isn’t able to run the Mountain Run, but will be trying to put cross training to good use on the steep stuff. Other names to watch in the women's field are Ursula Adams, who has past podiums in the Brisbane Trail Ultra 60km and 100km, Julia Manning who was 6th in the VK in 2023, and Margaret Pearson. The men’s VK will be a hotly contested local affair, with Hobart trail runners David Bailey (regular winner of kunanyi Trail Series), Andrew Hagger (2nd Mountain Run 2022) and Oskar Bucirde (2nd Mountain Run 2022 and part of the winning 2023 ultra relay team) going head to head up the mountain. They will be kept honest by mainlanders Liam McKenzie (champion Spartan racer from QLD) and Dominic Bullock (2nd place Bondi to Manly 2023).

This year's Mountain Run 25km will arguably be the highlight of the weekend. It will be the 2nd stop of the inaugural Golden Trail National Series, and therefore has attracted one of the hottest fields Australian trail running has ever seen. Supported by Salomon, the Golden Trail National Series has some serious prize money up for grabs, and for the best open and U23 male and female runner when the series concludes in Brisbane in June, a fully funded trip to the Golden Trail World Final in Europe awaits!

Photo: Katinka Von Elsner Wellsteed
Katinka Von Elsner Wellsteed

The women’s Mountain Run field is going to be hotly contested, with many women backing up from the Donna Double (at Warburton Trail Fest). Topping the list with a strong second place finish at Donna Double is a newbie to the trail scene, Katinka Von Elsner Wellsteed. However Sophie Broome will no doubt be hot on her heels again, after finishing only 90 seconds behind Katinka for 3rd. This will be Katinka’s second trail race, after her junior career in triathlon and a short stint on the roads. Sophie is more seasoned to the trails, with some longer races under her belt, including a third at UTK 100km in December ‘23, but her downhill at Donna Double showed she has all the speed she needs to mix it at the top of these shorter races too.

Two locals who weren’t at Donna but will be no doubt shaking things up at the very pointy end and certainly have the capability of taking home the win, are Maggie Lennox, who was a close second in last year's VK, and Grace Tame. With Maggie's fresh legs, paired with local knowledge and climbing ability, she will be hard to beat, but Grace’s recent impressive show of endurance smashing the course record for the 64km Bruny Island Ultra could see her coming through the field for a strong finish.

Also backing up from Donna Double are Cecilia Mattas and Elena Stephenson, who were 4th and 5th respectively. Typically known for her ultra prowess, with a win at UTA100km 2021 and podiums at Brisbane Trail Ultra 100mile and Grampians Peaks Trail 100mile in 2023, Cecilia will be another strong finisher. Some of the extra climbs and descents in the kunanyi course compared to Donna Double may work in her favour. On the other hand, Elena is a short distance specialist who is coming into the race with the kMR 25km Course Record (set in 2023), so obviously knows how to execute on this course and if she has recovered well, could show a big improvement on her 5th place at Donna Double.

With the tough nature of the kMR 25km course, the GTNS Under 23 category is not as hotly contested this time around, with youngster Evie Griggs (16) being the only contender. Evie completed the course last year, so she comes in with plenty of course knowledge and a year more preparation, to no doubt surpass her efforts of 12 months ago. Still, with a week left to the race and a trip to Europe on the line, some of the contenders from Warburton may still just be waiting to see how their bodies recover from the first race before deciding to jump in and give Evie a run for her money.

Photo: Ben Duffus
Ben Duffus

The first round of the GTNS for the men was next level, with the top 4 men breaking the previous course record and finishing within 2 minutes of each other. kMR looks to be no different, with 3 of the top 5 from Donna Double making the trip to Tasmania. With a second place in the Donna Double, and possibly race favourite, Leo Petterson will be doing his best to take the top spot at kMR. Leo is an accomplished mountain runner, with several representations at the world championships in mountain running. Now trying his hand at some of the longer stuff, Leo will be tough to beat. His two main challengers will be Blake Turner and Brodie Nankervis. Blake was 4th at Donna Double and whilst he is usually crushing the longer races (1st at UTA 50km in 2023 and 2nd at the Skyrunning World Champs Ultra in 2022 😯), he showed at Warburton that he can also compete on the shorter stuff. Brodie Nankervis is a Tasmanian-born trail runner and orienteer who is quite at home on the technical trails of kunanyi. He has had some impressive results on the short stuff, with a win at UTA 22 in 2023 and taking the long-time course record of Stu Gibson at the Triple Tops Mountain Run late last year. He also has some experience at kMR, with two 3rd places in the VK and a win in the Ultra relay with Esk Valley Orienteering club in 2023.

Photo: Claire O’Brien-Smith
Claire O’Brien-Smith

The 3 front runners will be racing a healthy number of challengers, all of who could fight for the podium. Some were at Donna Double, whilst some will be fresh and raring to go at kMR as their first race. Ben Duffus, renowned trail runner from Brisbane, will be eyeing redemption at kMR after not having his best day at the Donna Double. He will be joined by a couple of QLD’ers, Jack Gill (10th in a very competitive 50km field at UTK in 2023) and Liam McKenzie (backing it up after the VK the previous day). Add to the mix Marc Iseli (3rd kMR Mountain Run 2023), Tait Hearps (2nd at Coastal High 50km in 2023) and Dominic Bullock (also backing up from the VK) and we have a race on our hands. That’s not to mention the strong U23 runners who will also challenge the Open runners. The U23 contingent will be led by Toby Lang, 2022 trail running world championships representative, who came 2nd U23 and 11th outright at the Donna Double. He will be challenged by Ethan Penck (4th U23 Donna Double) and Zack Newsham (two-time trail World Championship representative). It’s fair to say that both the men and women’s Mountain Runs will be worthwhile watching!

But there are other events to watch too at kMR 2024 too! In the 66km Ultra Solo, we have two incredible strong women who will no doubt be pushing each other all the way, in Patricia McKibbon and Claire O’Brien-Smith. This will be a step down in distance for Claire, who is well known for her ability to grind out impressive Milers, while this time and distance is right in Patricia’s wheelhouse, which may give her the upper hand. With the technical terrain and so much elevation gain, this could be anyone’s race though. Other runners to watch in the Ultra are Jessie Whittle (5th in 2023), Joanna Sinclair (9th in 2023) and four women who achieved top 10 in the 2023 Mountain Run; Karen Hill (5th), Yvette Edward (6th), Renae Melnyk (8th), and Julia Manning (10th).

The men’s Ultra Solo will also have some strong Tasmanian runners toeing the line. Adopted Tasmanian (Poland-born) Piotr Babis, a well-known Ultra specialist, has been training hard for this race and will be hard to beat. He recently broke Stu Gibson’s course record at Tassie’s Gone Nuts 50km, in a blistering average pace of 4:55min/km on the tough coastal course. But it won’t be easy for Piotr, he will be up against 2023 Ultra Solo winner and Australian trail running representative, Andrew Gaskell, as well as the speedy Joshua Chugg, who the 2022 Surf Coast century (100km trail race) in 8:43! Other runners of note are Patrick Bowring (1st Alpine Challenge 2023) and local developing young runner Ryder Jamson (who came 9th in the 2023 edition but will have his eyes set a lot higher in 24).

Back to stories index