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19th December 2022

MacDonald and Ludowici take the spoils in the snow at season-ending Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB

The American trail runner, Adrian MacDonald, produced a beautifully-measured performance at the inaugural Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB on December 17, to convincingly win the Kosci Miler (100M). The 34-year-old two-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100, in his home state of Colorado, arrived in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia with winning on his mind and securing his place at next year's UTMB World Series Finals at UTMB Mont-Blanc, and he paced himself perfectly at the head of a 200-strong field.


Race organizers, at what was the last event in the hugely successful 2022 UTMB World Series, had to change the route because of snow on the spectacular course set around Australia's highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko, that included two trips in kayaks across Lake Jindabyne.

But MacDonald did not miss a beat, finishing over an hour ahead of Australian runner Vlad Shatrov, with Shatrov's fellow countryman 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,” said MacDonald at the finish. “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.”

MacDonald is already looking forward to UTMB Mont-Blanc in 2023, where he will take on the very best trail runners in the world. “UTMB is huge,” he said. “It will be a bit different to any race I've done before, with twice as much vertical ascent as Leadville, but I'm excited to test myself.”


In the women's division, Sarah Ludowici, from Broome in Western Australia, ran a dominant race, finishing 11th overall and 25 minutes ahead of her nearest rival, Claire O'Brien-Smith, also from Western Australia, with another Australian runner, Amy Lamprecht, third.

Ludowici admitted that her first 100-mile race had been super-tough and, by the end, she was, as she put it, “holding on for dear life.” But she took the unseasonal conditions, 300 miles southwest of Sydney, in her stride.

“It's really crazy that it's snowing up here,” said a delighted Ludowici after the race. “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 follow one foot after another,” she added.


In the Kosci 100 - the 100KM distance - another top American trail runner, Hayden Hawks from Utah, was in impressive form in his first race on Australian soil, winning by almost 16 minutes from the Sydney-based British runner, Ronnie Sparke, with Blake Hose of Australia another 10 minutes back in third.

Hawks, 31, was pleased with a strong performance to round off 2022, at the start of a schedule in 2023 that will include five more UTMB World Series events. “I feel pretty good, I feel like I executed my gameplan perfectly today,” said Hawks at the finish at Bullock's Flat. “I was able to stay on top of my nutrition and my hydration, so I don't feel too beat up. I feel like I'll recover pretty good from this and I feel pretty happy that I was able to get the win today.”


In the women's race, Stephanie Auston, from Newcastle in New South Wales, led from early on and crossed the line 12 minutes ahead of the Finnish competitor, Cecilia Mattas, and 27 minutes in front of third-placed Patricia McKibbin of Australia.

Auston loved this new UTMB World Series event in Australia that featured not just snow, but smooth, runnable trails through alpine meadows and ski villages and what the course designers intended were “achievable” amounts climbing. “It was an amazing course,” she said. “Just to run in the snow in December in Australia is epic. The course was lovely, it was magical and I had a really good time. I'm obviously tired, but I feel good and the energy out there was awesome. When you are running down the road, and people are tooting in their cars, you feel supported the whole way,” she added.

The Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB also featured two shorter race distances, which saw Germany's Fabian Rahn and Australia's Helena Michael take honors in the Ksoci 50, while the UK's Charlie Hamilton and Australia's Paige Penroe won the Kosci 27.

Full Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB results are available here.