The Namatjira Stage Descriptions

Listed below is a summary of the Namatjira (short course) stages for both April and August events. NOTE that stage 3 and 4 are different for each race.

APRIL EVENT course index:

  • Stage 1: 11.5km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station.
  • Stage 2: 22km from The Old Hamilton Downs Station to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 3: 20km Birthday Waterhole to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 4: 26km from Counts Point turn off to Ellery Creek Water Hole.

AUGUST EVENT course index:

  • Stage 1: 11.5km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station.
  • Stage 2: 22km from The Old Hamilton Downs Station to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 3: 22km from Glen Helen to Ormiston Gorge.
  • Stage 4: 31km from Redbank Gorge Ridge Campsite to Glen Helen.

The Namatjira STAGE 1 – April and August events

This stage is the same for both April and August events.

Date:APRIL: Wednesday 21 April, 2021
AUGUST: Thursday 26 August, 2021
Start location: 1km north of Mercure Hotel in Alice Springs
Finish location:Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs
Length:11.5km. Elevation: 130m up and 130m down
Start time:17:30
Water point:Approx 6.5km pt
Cut off times:6:45pm at the water point (~6.5km pt)
Difficulty rating:Easy/Medium

Runners start just before sunset and then run through twilight and into darkness for the unique experience of running through the desert at night time, under a universe of stars and the outback world around you. All runners must start with a head torch that you can turn on when darkness descends (at 6:15pm).

The course follows a scenic route around the perimeter of Alice Springs on some of the running and MTB trails that surround the town and finishes in the grass parklands of the Old Telegraph Station where the finish chute it lined by hisoric Ghost Gums.

These trails are not overly technical (with the exception of a couple of short sections), but they do have a great sense of ‘flow’ and will provide a terrific introduction to the Central Australian terrain you’ll enjoy over days to come.

The Telegraph Station is just 5km from the centre of Alice Springs making for an easy transfer back to your hotel (warm down jog?).

The first race of the event takes place on the running and mountain biking trails that surround Alice Springs and follows a scenic route past many of the town’s landmarks. These trails are not overly technical(with the exception of a couple of short sections), have a great sense of flow and will provide a terrific introduction to the Central Australian terrain you’ll enjoy over days to come.

MERCURE STAGE 1 MAP – CLICK HERE FOR DETAILED MAP

The Namatjira – STAGE 2 – April and August events 

This stage is the same for both April and August events.

Stage 2 is a very challenging but incredibly scenic run that takes runners across some challenging (but spectacular) terrain.

Date:APRIL EVENT: Thursday 22nd April 2021
AUGUST EVENT: Friday 27 August 2021
Start location:Old Hamilton Downs Station – 1hr30 drive from Alice Springs
Finish location:Standley Chasm – 45mins drive from Alice Springs. (2hrs drive from Hamilton Downs)
Length:22km. Elevation: 600m up and 525m down
Start time:08:00
Water point:400m south of Fish Hole at the 6.5km point. Runners must depart with a minimum of 3lt water with you. 
Cut off times:12:00pm at Fish Hole water point
Difficulty rating:Hard – steep and technical terrain

Namatjira runners will start at the Old Hamilton Downs station homestead on the northern side of the range and then run ~6km along an easy 4WD track to join the Larapinta Trail at Jay Creek and the water point at 6.5km pt.

From here on the trail is a lot harder with some very technical running over rough and very rocky ground as the course climbs to the top of the Chewings Range ridge line – providing some incredible views across Central Australia and the MacDonnell Ranges. Descending into valley the trail continues to undulate and remains rocky as you run, walk and scramble along the valley that ultimately leads to the finish at the Standley Chasm café.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Competitors please note this is the hardest stage of the event with long rocky sections providing slow going and many climbs and ascents that can proove tough in the heat – so please come prepared to embrace all elements the course throws at you.

This stage uses Larapinta Trail section number 3:

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILED GOOGLE EARTH MAP

The Namatjira STAGE 3 – April

This is a new stage over a very rugged and spectacular section of the Larapinta Trail, in some ways similar to stage 2 (but a little bit easier).

Date:APRIL EVENT: Friday 23rd April, 2021
Start location:Birthday Waterhole track – 1hr drive from Alice Springs (last 10km 4WD only)
Finish location: Standley Chasm – 45mins drive from Alice Springs
Length:21km. Elevation: 760m up and 680m down
Start time:08:15 – tbc
Water point:4km – Birthday Creek Waterhole
Cut off times:NA
Difficulty rating:Medium / Hard – steep and remote terrain

April Stage 3 runners start on the Birthday Waterhole Track, 10km in from the junction with the Red Centre Way (where the long course runners start). Runners commence with 4km of easy running along the 4WD track to the waterpoint at the Birthday Creek Waterhole.

Past the water point the course picks up the Larapinta Trail and skirts the base of some ridges before a very steep and tough climb up to the iconic Brinkley Bluff – the course climbing 550m in just 3km as it zig-zags its way up the side of this steep ridge. The views from the top make it well worth it as you are high up in the Chewings Ranges with views across the continent.

From the summit it is largely ‘all downhill’ for 10km to the finish line at the Standley Chasm café although the highly technical terrain and loose rock remains that makes it a taxing descent through Reveal Saddle and finish arch.

The Namatjira STAGE 3 – August

Stage 3 is a little longer than Stage 2 but easier on the knees and the ankles as the trail is generally less technical in comparison to Stage 2 and passes through the spectacular Ormiston Gorge.

Date:AUGUST EVENT: Saturday 28th August, 2021
Start location:Glen Helen Homestead – 1hr20 drive from Alice Springs
Finish location:Ormiston Gorge Car Park – 1hr25 drive from Alice Springs
Length:22km. Elevation: 530m up and 490m down
Start time:08:15am
Water point:Ormiston Gorge at the 13.4km point
Cut off times:11:30pm at the Orimston Gorge water point (13km pt)
Difficulty rating:Medium

Starting from the historic Glen Helen Homestead the course covers some relatively flat and runnable terrain interspersed with some sandy river crossings as you run towards the ranges and the bluffs of Ormiston Gorge. Runners pass through the Gorge car park (and finish line location) for a water point at 13km then complete the Ormiston Pound Loop walk.

The Orimston Pound loop walk is one of the most popular walks for tourists visiting the west MacDonnell Ranges and as it takes you into the astounding Ormiston Pound – a water catchment that appears to have no exit. The trail cuts across the pound and then continues through the Gorge itself with some sections of sandy and rocky terrain with the gorge cliffs high above you.

Climb out of the gorge and past the Ghost Gum Lookout and followed by a short descent to the finish line back in the Ormiston Gorge Car Park.

  • This stage uses Larapinta Trail section number 10 plus the Ormiston Pound Loop walk.
  • Section 10 details on the Larapinta Trail website (including maps, trail notes and more).

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILED GOOGLE EARTH MAP


The Namatjira – STAGE 4 – April event

This new Stage 4 covers some great terrain, visiting one of the MacDonnell Ranges’ favourite lookouts before finishing at its favourite waterhole for a swim.

Date:APRIL EVENT: Saturday 21st April 2021
Start location:Counts Point track – 1hr drive from Alice Springs
Finish location:Ellery Creek Waterhole – 1h drive from Alice Springs
Length:26km. Elevation: 730m up and 800m down
Water point:13.5km pt at Serpentine Gorge
Race start:08:00 tbc
Cut off times:11:00am at Serpentine Gorge 13.5km pt – tbc
Difficulty rating: Medium

Runners commence with 3.5km along an easy 4WD track to join the Larapinta Trail as it climbs steeply up the ridge to the spectacular Counts Point lookout on the main ridgeline (runners complete a short 700m out and back to visit the iconic lookout and get their name ticked off.)

The spectacular running continues along the ridgeline and then drops down to water point at Serpentine Gorge at ~13.5km and continues along the undulating trail below the ridgeline to the ultimate finish line at the Ellery Creek Waterhole.

We will have a ‘beach party’ style set up at the waterhole with chairs, shade, music, food and drinks – and of course the magnificent waterhole to swim in – to help celebrate the end of the 2021 Run Larapinta. It will be a finish line to remember!


The Namatjira – STAGE 4 – August event

The final stage is the longest of all the stages and includes a terrific sense of journey as you race along the range and across the flats to finish at the Glen Helen Homestead.

Date:AUGUST EVENT: Sunday 29th August 2021
Start location:Redbank Gorge Ridge Campsite – 1hr45 drive from Alice Springs, 25mins from Glen Helen
Finish location:Glen Helen Homestead – 1hr20 drive from Alice Springs
Length:31km. Elevation: 565m up and 635m down
Water point:Rocky Bar Gap at the 13km point
Race start:07:00
Cut off times:11:45am at the Rocky Bar Gap water point (13km pt) – carrying a minimum of 3L of water
Difficulty rating: Medium

Runners start at the campsite and then continue along the Larapinta Trail around the south flank of Mt Sonder (while the long course runners go to the summit and back!) providing some good running over non-technical terrain to Rocky Bar Gap and the water point at the 13km point.

Through the gap and the course soon climbs ‘Hilltop Lookout’ for some more lofty views and then continues along flatter / hotter terrain ultimately to Glen Helen and the Finke River waterhole for a well-earned swim and a drink from the bar.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed the Namatjira at the Run Larapinta Stage Race!

  • This stage uses Larapinta Trail section number 11 plus a bit at the end.
  • Section 11 details on the Larapinta Trail website (including maps, trail notes and more).

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILED GOOGLE EARTH MAP

GPS Course file – RECOMMENDED FOR ALL COMPETITORS

CLICK HERE to download a GPS file for all courses that you can import into your own device.

This link downloads a KML file to your phone / computer that can be used to help navigate the course during racing. It can be used on your GPS watch or mapping app on your phone (CLICK HERE for instructions how to download this to your phone and use it on the free mapping app MapsMe – our recommended app!).

ITRA pts  /  UTMB qualifying race

2021: The Run Larapinta – Malbunka stage race is registered with the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) and will provide successful runners with ITRA points (to help runners qualify for large international races), and UTMB points as an official qualifying race for this iconic event::

Malbunka – 4 stage finisher receives:

  • ITRA rating: 3 Endurance Points, 3 Mountain Points and Finisher Rating of 250.
  • UTMB points: 3 Points (new system).

For further information on what the ITRA points mean click here and for more information on the UTMB (Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc) click here.