ADRIAN MACDONALD & SARAH LUDOWICI WIN FIRST EVER KOSCIMILER IN THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS
ADRIAN MACDONALD & SARAH LUDOWICI WIN FIRST EVER KOSCIMILER IN THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS
America’s Adrian MacDonald and Broome’s Sarah Ludowici are the first ever KosciMiler champions after crossing the finish line of Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB® in the Snowy Mountains.
MacDonald and Ludowici were first male and female runners across the finish line after 100 miles on course which took in everything from snowy peaks to lake crossings.
Cold weather and snowfall resulted in a course change for Friday’s 100km and 100-mile events, with the start moving to Perisher Valley, though runners took it all in their stride as they made their way through the early snow.
MacDonald, from Colorado, a two-time champion at the prestigious Leadville 100 race, took the men’s win in 14:07:42, over an hour clear of Newcastle’s Vlad Shatrov, with Luke Barrett third.
“It was a great day, everything went well, I mean there are always a few low points but it was pretty much a high all day. I got out here a week early and we did a little bit of research on Vlad and Reece (Edwards), we knew Vlad always went out hard so I didn’t want to go with him and he ended up running with the 100km leaders which we thought was silly,” said MacDonald. “We thought Reece might go out hard too but he ended up sticking back with me so I ran with him for 50km and then I sort of started making my move to catch up to Vlad and I caught him after about 50 miles and then I just pulled and pulled away.
“It’s tough with a new course to really push for a fast time or anything because you don’t know what a fast time is and hopefully they’ll be able to do the planned course next year and I won’t even have a course record or anything,” he said. “I just wanted to get the win and the ticket to UTMB, it’s big, after Leadville in the summer I had to decide if I wanted to Western States next summer or UTMB and I decided to UTMB because they had invited me out to do this race and they’ve been supportive of me and other professional athletes. UTMB is huge, it will be a bit different than any race I’ve done before with twice as much vert as Leadville but I’m excited to test myself, I’ve won three all by a decent amount, hopefully I can get a good match there.
MacDonald arrived in Australia just ahead of the event, with conditions more like what he was used to in the American winter.
“I’m glad I didn’t spend time heat acclimating in a sauna for 30 minutes a day because I didn’t need that, it was a little cold and windy at the start but once we got down here it was perfect all day,” he said.
The 36-year-old enjoyed the support from runners and spectators the whole way across the 100 mile course.
“It was great, especially towards the end of the race I was passing the mid pack of the 100km and they were all very supportive which was fun, we’re all out here doing something hard and challenging ourselves, they give me inspiration and hopefully I inspire them too,” said MacDonald.
Newcastle’s Vlad Shatrov set the pace early, opening up a lead over the opening stages before MacDonald eventually reeled him in.
“I was in a pack and a couple of the other really good milers who are here today were in that pack but they must have dropped back a couple of kms in and I didn’t realise, and those eight or nine guys who were all doing the 100km they formed a really good wind block for me because I’m pretty small and it got so windy after about 10 or 11km so I just sat in there,” said Shatrov. “It was crazy because the guys were saying the whole way you’ve got an eight minute lead and it didn’t change. Then I actually felt pretty bad after I got off the boat the first time at 75km, I was really struggling in Jindabyne and I got overtaken and you’ve just got to block everything out and focus, usually you come good and I came sort of good.”
“Reece overtook me on the second lap around the lake and I was struggling a bit, but I was still in third and I had a really good race still, third racing against world class athletes and a time of 15:30, all I do is focus on what I can control and not worry about anything else and I said, I just wanted to focus on what I could control and if it happens, it happens. Then I felt really good when I was running with Matt, my pacer, and he fired me up at the crew checkpoint, and then I caught Reece coming up to here and I felt really sorry for him, he’s a lovely guy,” he said. “And then it was just survival, the last 10km was really hard, it’s uphill, it’s muddy, it’s tough.”
Shatrov has had success over the 100-mile distance in the past, winning New Zealand’s Tarawera Ultramarathon in 2020, and he enjoyed the conditions that runners faced on Friday.
“Running up to the snow, next year will probably be different, there was 1.5km to 2km of foot deep snow, it was crazy, but it was beautiful, we had snow around us for 30km, it was amazing, and then we ran into Jindabyne and to get into the boat and have a lap around the town was great,” he said.
Sarah Ludowici, from Broome in Western Australia, was the runner to beat all day in the women’s KosciMiler, impressing on her way to victory. Ludowici came over the finish line in Bullock’s Flat in 19:23:01, 25 minutes ahead of fellow West Australian Claire O’Brien-Smith, with Amy Lamprecht third.
“I’m feeling pooped, but stoked, super stoked. It was tough, it was really tough, the first 20km was hard, the middle section I found my groove again and then it was a battle over that 20km section from Banjo Patterson to the Hatchery, that was a long slog,” said Ludowici. “It’s really crazy that it’s snowing up here, it didn’t really change things, you just take it as it comes and whatever comes your way you just keep stepping forward, keep calm and one foot after the other. This is my first 100 mile race, I didn’t really have a plan, more just take one step at a time, keep going, keep cruisy, keep it easy, fresh 50, fresh at the next 50 and then just hold on for dear life.
The KosciMiler course saw the more than 200 runners take two boat trips along with journeys in kayaks across the very full Lake Jindabyne, adding to the sense of adventure.
“All the staff were lovely, in particular the boat guys, that was always pretty fun to do, it was a nice excuse to sit down for a little bit, it did make it hard getting off the boat and onto the soft sand,” said Ludowici. “It was a bit of an adventure, we sign up for an adventure race, we got some kayaking and that was pretty hilarious falling into the kayak.”
Ludowici had great support from her team throughout the day, and the 29-year-old put much of her success down to their assistance.
“I couldn’t have done it without them, I always joke to my husband that I didn’t let him pace but I said I needed him on the crew line, we just work so well together as a team and he knows what I need more than I know and he just keeps me going, and then some of my friends who were doing their first races this trip were here and it was just so lovely to have my Mum and friends here to cheer me on,” she said.
Perth’s Claire O’Brien-Smith followed Ludowici into the finish in the early hours of Saturday morning, finishing in 19:49:01
“It’s so good to have a solo sport but have a team behind me, it was awesome, I felt so supported, people were dropping in everywhere, doing everything for me, I sat down at an aid station and I had about 10 people around me, people taking off my socks which was disgusting, it was awesome,” said O’Brien-Smith. “Sarah was way too strong today, I have so much respect for her, she’s such a strong athlete.”
“This was a world class event, all the volunteers were so nice, the guys driving the boats wrapped us up in blankets, everyone was lovely, it was so nice to have support out on course, every time someone said ‘good job’ I felt 10 times better,” she said.
Runners will continue to cross the KosciMiler finish line in Bullock’s Flat until 6pm on Saturday.
Ultra-Trail Kosciusko by UTMB® is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB® - KosciMiler – Men’s Results
- Adrian MacDonald – 14:07:42
- Vlad Shatrov – 15:10:36
- Luke Barrett – 15:50:44
- Shane Johnstone – 17:27:56
- Hayato Nishikata – 18:08:55
- James Quaife – 18:28:05
- Jared Penetcost – 18:43:22
- Thomas Scott – 18:45:48
- Elijah Mayr – 18:56:01
- Leigh Chapman – 19:17:35
Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB® - KosciMiler – Women’s Results
- Sarah Ludowici – 19:23:01
- Claire O’Brien-Smith – 19:49:01
- Amy Lamprecht – 21:14:43
- Monika Georgieva – 21:43:40
- Sarah Jalim – 22:24:42
- Ursula Adams – 22:58:13
- Jessica Garner – 23:08:30
- Kelli Skoda – 23:44:55
- Shara Jones – 24:20:03
- Alessandra Martines – 24:26:51