The magic of the Run Larapinta Stage Race awaits adventurous runners in 2021 with entries now open to two event dates after the 2020 event was postponed due to COVID-19.

The 4 day, 4 stage trail running race will be held on 21-24 April and 26-29 August both in 2021 – providing more people the opportunity to be part of this life-changing experience. The 2020 event was postponed and will in effect be replaced by the April race, whilst the August event is in the usual timeslot for 2021.

Run Larapinta Stage Race

As one of Australia’s most anticipated trail running stage races, organisers can’t wait to share the Outback experience twice-over!

“We are very excited to host two events in 2021,” said General Manager of Rapid Ascent, Sam Maffett. “Run Larapinta really is far more a running experience than a race. Yes, you can challenge yourself and race hard, but far more people do it for the opportunity to run MacDonnell Ranges with other people,” continued Maffett.

The trail running race has become a drawcard for both recreational and elite runners across Australia (and overseas) with the 2021 events both expected to reach their field limit of 200 runners per event date.

“It’s definitely become a bucket list event on the ultra running calendar, and it’s easy to see why!” said Maffett. “Participants come away with life-long friendships and an incredible sense of awe after spending time running through the timeless red centre landscape. It really is a unique event for any runner.”

The courses take in the most spectacular sections of the iconic Larapinta Trail in Australia’s Northern Territory in the heart of the West MacDonnell Ranges. It is rough and rocky terrain that is unlike any other landscape in Australia which is part of the drawcard for runners.

The event provides two different course length options: The Malbunka (long course) features stages varying between 19km – 46km each day and a total of 130km across all four days, whilst The Namatjira (short course) features stages of 11km – 31km with a total of 80km across the four days.

Run Larapinta Stage Race

Keen trail runners can also enter individual stages of the race with this option especially popular among local participants.

“You don’t need to be an elite runner, or a runner with a long list of ultra-marathon race finishes to your name. You just need to be an active person who is willing to chip away at the course and keep moving from start to finish” said Maffett.

Previous participants have nothing but positive enthusiasm for the stage-race over its 5 year history:

Karen, a 2019 participant said, “This was an amazing way to see a beautiful part of Outback Australia. The trail is tough, but the beauty of the area, its vastness and majesty made every step worthwhile. I feel privileged to have seen a special part of our country and met some lovely people along way.” 

Robyn, at 64 years of age from the 2018 stage race said, “This was one of the most enjoyable and challenging experiences in my life. The comradeship of the other competitors and the event organisers left you feeling like you had been friends forever.”  

Run Larapinta Stage Race

Andrew from 2019 said “I loved this event. It challenged me and I hope I am a better prepared runner because of it. The landscape we ran through is unbelievably beautiful and inspiring. The event organisation was flawless and allowed us runners to just get on and enjoy ourselves.”

2021 participants are encouraged to enter early to avoid missing out; and to look at extending their stay in the area, making it a memorable holiday with numerous organised tours in the Outback on offer.

For more details on the Run Larapinta Stage Race in April or August, or further tourist information, head to the official website at



When: 21-24 April 2021 AND 26-29 August 2021

Where: Larapinta Trail in the MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
What:  A 4-day, 4-stage trail running race along the most spectacular sections of the Larapinta Trail with two course distance options:

The Malbunka (the longer course):

  • Stage 1: 19.5km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station
  • Stage 2: 41km from Simpson’s Gap to Standley Chasm
  • Stage 3: 30.5km from Ochre Pits to Ormiston Gorge
  • Stage 4: 46km from Redbank Gorge to Mt Sonder and Glen Helen

The Namatjira (the shorter course):

  • Stage 1: 11km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station
  • Stage 2: 20km from The Old Hamilton Downs Station to Standley Chasm
  • Stage 3: 22km from Glen Helen to Ormiston Gorge via Ormiston Pound
  • Stage 4: 31km from Redbank Gorge to and Glen Helen