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ULTRAMAG Editorial - June 2000

ULTRAMAG Editorial - June 2000

Written by Kev Cassidy
The name "Paul Ashton" may not be familiar with many members but as the newly elected AURA president, Paul's name is about to become quite well known. Paul brings a new enthusiasm to the organisation and has many new ideas, in fact a whole new committee has been elected and the full committee appears in this issue. With the resignation of Geoff Hook, I guess all we have to do now is throw Hookie off a cliff and claim the inheritance !!!!!!!!!!!!

On a pleasing note, Cliff Young is reported to be doing well after suffering a mild stroke in the weeks after running the "Cliffy's Dream" 1,000 miler. Cliff will always be known as the man who put Ultrarunning into the public eye with his efforts in 1983.

The Australian 100km Championships were held in Canberra on February 20th and unfortunately we have had almost no news of it. Ultramag can only report on events that submit information. If you have run in an event and are wondering why you have not seen any results then you need to contact the race director and ask why, it is of no use calling AURA about it.

It would be an understatement to say that ultrarunning has been in a bit of a lull since the demise of the Sydney to Melbourne race in 1991 but we may well see things change with the "Race of Fire" Trans Australia race planned for January 6th next year. The event, from Perth to Canberra, is being organised by Pat Farmer's brother, Bernie, and is offering good prize money.

I am sad to report the loss of Kevin Nippard after a battle with cancer, the ultra world would best know him as the voice behind the PA system at the Coburg 24 Hour Race. This also reminds me that the anniversary of the Late Great George Perdon's death is not far away [June 29th]. Has it really been 7 years since he left us?

The Ultra world has been abuzz in recent times with much doubt being cast on the claims of a Robert Garside who is reported to have spent the last 2-3 years running around the world. Unfortunately, solo runs seem to bring out all sorts of arguments about their authenticity. Here in Australia in recent times, we have seen both Pat Farmer and Gary Parsons run around the continent. Anyone who knows Pat or Gary would never doubt their integrity or their ability to do what they have done, at the other end of the scale we have seen a previously unknown youngster from Melbourne claim all sorts of mighty deeds that are simply incomprehensible, these deeds have received substantial press coverage.

Solo or Journey runs will always attract some sort of controversy and the best way to sum this up is to reprint a statement made by IAU statistician, Andy Milroy, in 1998.

Andy states,
"A journey run is essentially unprovable, and the perception of the run within the Ultra Community depends almost entirely on the reputation of the runner within that community. A log book only proves the runner has covered the route claimed, some of it on foot, but cannot prove that the claimant covered the whole distance on foot.

"Any solo run of any distance is dependent on its supporters. Those supporters would not be there unless they were committed to that runner. There therefore cannot be any independent verification of the feat from such supporters. The great advantage of opposition within a race is that one's opponents provide independent proof that the run was completed reasonably verifiably. They provide independent monitoring during the race.

"Races probably originated because of disputed claims, or arguments of solo running claims. If a solo performance is challenged then the runner must prove his/her credentials against opposition in a proper organised race. If she/he fails to do that, then he or she can have no credibility within the running community. It is put up or shut up."

Kevin Cassidy
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