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By Steve Jackson

If we truly are a product of our environment, that would go a long way to explaining the preference of father and son duo Ian and Steve Cornelius who respectively run trail and ocean swim events on the Gold Coast; both of which lean toward the LONG end of the scale!

Gold Coast Ultras, under the ownership of Ian Cornelius as Ultra Trail Gold Coast, has just announced a 500 kilometres trail race to be held in the Nerang National Park in September 2019. It follows on from the very successful 200 miler (Australia’s first) held in September 2018.

Race Organiser Ian Cornelius, a veteran of 4 x 330 kilometre stage races and a contestant in the 1994 World 1000 mile championships says, “This will be the longest and perhaps most extreme trail race ever conducted in Australia and likely the longest off-road race in the world.”

The event will be conducted on a 25-kilomtre looped course hubbing out of the Gold Coast cycling velodrome in Nerang. The benefit of the looped course is that it provides ideal facilities for crew support, fluid and energy replacement, running repairs and encouragement with access to friendly faces, food, showers, toilets and camping at the conclusion of each loop across the six days of the event.

Timing checkpoints every five kilometres will facilitate tracking and optimise the safety of runners. Real time progress will be available for viewing online by family, friends and other interested parties. With 895 metres of elevation gain per lap, totalling some 17,900 metres for the entire race, this is not an ‘easy’ 500; the event is tough and the hills unrelenting.

There will be supporting ‘short’ events of 100kms, 175kms (108 miles) and 325kms (202 miles). The races have been certified by the International Trail Running Association and will form part of the Asia Trail Master series and are the only races in Australia awarded such recognition. Entries for the 2019 event are now open at www.ultratrailgoldcoast.comand well, if you start training now…

Given this is the environment he grew up in, it’s no surprise that the ocean swim event that Ian’s son, Steve Cornelius organises is on the lengthy side also! Steve heads up the Burleigh to Surfers Paradise Ocean Swim; a 10km point to point swim on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

This year, he’s driven a rebranding of the event; ‘The Gold Coast Festival of Swimming’ and it will be a weeklong celebration of swimming with the traditional 10km event bolstered by clinics and workshops, 3km and 5km events, the Queensland leg of the Banana Boat SWIMKIDS Series, BBQs, dinners and of course the obligatory party to finish! Held around the Easter period each year, the event, like its offering, continues to evolve and grow. For full details, click here

If you like your events looooong; the Cornelius clan have got you covered!

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