Slithering slope race at Serpentine

Slithering slope race at Serpentine

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Stuie Caufield hits the trails as leader of the pack at Sunday’s Snakes N Ladders race. Photograph — Brady Johnston.

Sunday’s Snakes N Ladders trail race held by the Perth Trail Series saw 289 racers take to the bush at Serpentine National Park in perfect running conditions.

It was the third race of the Summer Series and provided the most elevation over any distance with the first big climb starting just 400-metres from the start line.

With cool and overcast skies prior to the horn it had begun to get warmer by the time runners set off just after 7am but despite the heat views of the valley and West Australian coastline were enjoyed by many near the seven-kilometre mark.

The long course (14.9-kilometres) had 157 entrants while the short course (11.8-kilometres) saw 132 compete, all enjoying some big hill climb ascents and descents – the meaning behind calling it Snakes N Ladders.

Long course winners in the men’s division were Stuie Caufield (1:07:58), Richard Bason (1:16:59) and David Kennedy (1:17:53) while in the women’s it was Rachel Brooks (1:24:20), Ingrid Cleland (1:29:27) and Marlene Lootz (1:31:01).

Caufield and Brooks have so far won all three events in the Summer Series (Stay Puft at Yanchep National Park on January 8 and Wallygrunta at Walyunga National Park on January 22) and with only two more to go, they are certainly the competition to beat.

In the short course winners for the men were Phil Gore (59:54), Daniel Wedge (1:02:20) and Felix Poli (1:05:58) and in the women’s division the winners were Joanna Maynard (1:21:25), Melissa Gildenhuys (1:22:25) and Lisa Payne (1:23:48).

PTS race director Melina Mellino said it has been an unpredictable race season this summer due to the weather.

“With Wallygrunta there was a fire the week before and then the Avon flooded the week after,” she said.

“Serpentine National Park was closed Australia Day weekend due to heat and fire danger but then we had rain the following week which upped the humidity.”

She also said she was thrilled with how quickly the Summer Series was gaining popularity and that there have been more than 100 first time trail runners hitting the tracks this year already.

“We organise a fun, safe and friendly trail experience that everyone can appreciate and it’s awesome seeing more people join in and really feel welcomed,” she said.

“What we see is about ten per cent of the runners are in that top and speedy group but the majority of our entrants are out there just giving it a go and doing their best.

“They’re after the nature experience so they’ll stop and take a photo.”

Entries are still open for the next two PTS events.

Visit perthtrailseries.com.au for information and to register for the Qi Gong race (Wungong Regional Park, February 19) and Swissmurdie (Lesmurdie Regional Park, March 12).