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Known to the ever-expanding community of runners in Sydney as an owner-manager of Running Science in Rozelle, Inner West local Brent Harris has just returned from a successful visit to New Zealand.

Harris won the 84km Molesworth trail run in a time of 7 hours 29 minutes. As a sports physiologist who aims to be his own guinea pig, Harris was very happy with this culmination of 12 weeks’ hard focussed training. He said that although he was reminded “a few hundred times” how last year’s race ended for him – second place, physically ill and on an intravenous drip – locals celebrated a victory which was essentially seen as redemption.

Harris would certainly have liked to run faster but given the conditions, which included unanticipated hills and a headwind over the last 15km, he hopes Molesworth will provide the springboard he needs at the New Zealand national trials in February. There, he’ll be aiming to run 100km in under 8 hours to qualify for the NZ national team attending the World Championships in late 2010.

Not only is black and white easier to match, but Harris grew up in NZ and expects his dad would kill him if he ran for anybody else.

Trail running has finally caught on in Australia, says Harris, with established annual events like the Glasshouse Mountains, the Coast to Kosciusko and Katoomba’s North Face 100 punctuating a calendar of opportunity for those who want more than the ever-popular road marathon, both in endurance and natural beauty.

In road-based ultras, though – particularly the international standard of 100kms – Harris sees a need for further development in Australia. Given the growth and diversity of the sport and the possibilities for showcasing natural settings, we hope to see such an intriguing battle of wills come to Sydney in the not too distant future.