What is it?
The Buffalo Stampede is a skyrunning event held over a weekend in April, based in the alpine town of Bright in Victoria. There are four distances to choose from: 12km, 26km, 42km and 77km ultra-marathon. There are also two trail runs for kids: 4.5km and 1.5km.
Sounds harmless, what’s the big deal?
Oh, don’t be fooled. This event ruthlessly makes you tackle vertical ascents in every race. The ultra-marathon had the gnarliest first 10km of any run we’ve ever done. And in 2016, it didn’t matter which race distance you ran, they all followed the same course for the first 12km. And just to be clear that course was STRAIGHT UP.
Ugh. Sounds horrendous! You must have hated it.
On the contrary. Sure, it might have tested every single iota of strength in our minds and bodies. And sure, our calves and quads may never be the same. But this event was brilliant. There was really a fantastic atmosphere along the course (especially because all the supporters were given cow bells to ring!) and the volunteers were a class of their own.
And running down the hill must have been fun, right?
Actually…no. Going uphill was easier! Downhill was less of a run and more a challenge to stay on your feet – especially because the trail was really torn up from the other events. Scrambling, sliding and bum shuffling are all skills you should perfect in training.
Wait, you walked uphill and slid downhill…was there any running in this run?
There were long, beautiful downs through the Buckland Valley and around the top of Mount Buffalo. Though we did have to squeeze through the famous Chalwell Galleries rock formations. So I suppose, no, there wasn’t as much running as you might think!
So, any advice for future runners?
If you’re running the ultra, consider training with walking poles. If you’re running any of the shorter distances, train for insanely steep ups and downs. This is one run that doesn’t exaggerate! And if you’re feeling really crazy, sign up for the Grand Slam.
NEED TO KNOW
WHAT: One of the gnarliest runs on the train running calendar. Touted as Australia’s first skyrunning event.
WHEN: Mid April
WHERE: Starts in Bright. Loops up and down the surrounding mountains.
WHY: Because you love insanely steep ups and sliding downhill on your arse.