Walhalla Wound Up 50km
The Walhalla Wound-Up was conceived on a regular (at that time) run on Monday nights from Rob Embleton’s house in Morwell in early 2002. At that time a couple of us were dabbling in ultras and the general feeling was that we should stage one closer to home.
One of the crew took this on board and after a lot of weekends spent running and riding around the area found a course he liked at Walhalla. A 37k and 19k course were also on offer to those who thought 50k too far. Originally it was to be called the two bridges, but this was altered after Barry Higgins had a talk with Michael Leany of the Walhalla Star Hotel who said he was prepared to sponsor the events with some accommodation as prizes, but would like to call it the Walhalla Wound-Up. This duly happened and a run was born.
After a couple of years the 37k and 19k events were altered to a 21k and 10k to make it more compliant with traditional distances, plus they were less labour intensive for the organiser to set up, though this did take a few more weekends running around Walhalla. The organiser at the time wanted something that people would recognise as being from this event and was looking at worn out running shoes to start with, but eventually settled on little children’s shoes painted Gold for first, Silver for second and Brown for third and in an attempt to get people to return offered the privilege of being called a Wally if you did 5 x 50k events and a T-shirt to proudly wear for all to see you were a Wally. He settled on 5 years as he thought it would struggle to go that long. It has now been an annual event since 2002 with a few runners completing 10 years to become double Wallys.
Recollections from Bruce Salisbury
The various distances complement other club events such as the King and Queen of the Mountain (Mt Tassie) and the Traralgon Marathon, but are different in that they are all run on uneven surfaces which include gruelling uphill and downhill sections. It is a challenge to complete any one of these runs and crossing the finish line gives the runners a feeling of elation and great achievement.
The current Wound-Up has these three race distances, these being 50km, 21km and 10km all of which start in the valley floor outside the Star Hotel, Walhalla and proceed through the rustic beauty of the gold mining area. The two longest events then continued into the surrounding rugged, Spring-flowering bush land and mountainous terrain. On a day of glorious sunshine, the event attracts a large number of participants.
Despite the obvious difficulties of marking out the longer trails the organisers pride themselves on providing excellent runs in all aspects. Emphasis is concentrated on retaining a welcoming, informal atmosphere whilst offering the chance to test mind and body over some of the most challenging and beautiful terrain available.
The prima donna of the three races was the 50km trail run which covered historic features that included the old steel bridge at Poverty Point and the 1886 Victorian heritage-registered Brunton’s Bridge on the Thomson River southeast of Walhalla. The 50km event is an exhausting race that requires a large dose of stamina and sustained determination to complete. Entry fees are very minimal and the local eateries catered nicely throughout the day.