First Time Winners Take Top Honors on Day Two

14 May 2021

Two first time winners have taken top honours on the second day of racing at Ultra-Trail Australia, with Charles Hamilton and Paige Penrose claiming the men’s and women’s UTA22 titles.

More than 2,000 runners took on the 22 kilometres, testing themselves across 910m of elevation gain as they made their way around the stunning Blue Mountain’s course.

Charles Hamilton winning UTA22

Charles Hamilton was first over the line in 1:51:44, almost four minutes ahead of second place getter Charles Brooks, with Michael Nicholas finishing third.

“It was amazing, I’m stoked, running on that course was just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done I reckon,” said Hamilton. “To come away with the win unexpectantly was unbelievable.

“I’ve been hearing about this race for as long as I’ve been running so I just wanted to run it, didn’t get the chance last year obviously and then got a ticket this year last minute and I’m so happy.

“It’s only been six or eight months since I started running properly, this is the mecca, this is where we want to be in Australia, I can’t believe it,” he said. It was stunning, we started up the hill on the road which I didn’t expect and it hurt a lot more than I thought it would and then coming down the stairs I fell about four or five times, I was pretty lucky to get away with it. On the way up I felt good and ran by myself, got a bit of a gap, got to the top and then it was six kilometres to go so I just told myself to hold on.”

Paige Penrose winning UTA22

Paige Penrose was the first female runner across the line in 2:01:57, ahead of Kellie Emmerson in 2:07:03, with Harriet Smith third.

“It was really good out there, it was actually quite enjoyable along the bottom bit once you go down Golden Stairs and then running through the forest it was really nice,” said Penrose. “To be honest I wasn’t too sure that I wanted to race until I crossed the start line, I wasn’t sure if I had any drive in me. In the end I was just going to be out here for a good day, turns out the legs turned on once I got going so I just rolled with it and here we are.

“I haven’t been trail running for too long, started two years ago at UTA11, coming through that finish line again was pretty surreal,” she said. “It was great to see people out there today, doing it safely, and we still felt the love.”

The UTA22 field included more than 1,200 runners who were taking part in the event for the first time, with over 65% of runners female.