The Run Larapinta Stage Race gets underway this Wednesday in the four-day, four-stage event which will see participants take in some of the most spectacular sections of the iconic Larapinta Trail in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Held from Wednesday 21 to Saturday 24 April, this is the rescheduled 2020 event after it was postponed due to COVID-19 last year.

The popular stage race has developed a cult status among trail runners since its’ conception six years ago, and organisers Rapid Ascent can’t wait to share the Outback experience with the 140 participants this week.

Photo by Rapid Ascent

“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 in the MacDonnell Ranges with like-minded people,” said General Manager of Rapid Ascent, Sam Maffett.

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

Two different course lengths will be staged: the Malbunka long course features stages of 20km – 41km each day and The Namatjira stages of 11km – 26km.

Both course lengths will experience running in the in heart of the West MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to magical places such as Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, and Birthday Waterhole.

Run Larapinta Stage Race

Stage 4 on Saturday will see participants finish at the serene Ellery Creek Waterhole where they will get to cool off and celebrate their achievements with an unofficial party in the water complete with ‘pool’ floats.

Designed for runners of all types, the terrain is rough and rocky; but is unlike any other landscape in Australia, adding to the drawcard for participants.

In fact, as you are aware, 2021 will feature a second Run Larapinta Stage Race on 26 – 29 August with entries to this event reaching capacity earlier this year. Rapid Ascent have a self-imposed field limit of 200 runners.

“We feel it is very important to preserve the experience for all runners rather than compromise the course and runners’ experiences for the sake of more people,” said Maffett.

The popular event would not be possible without the support from the NT Government which has helped event promoters Rapid Ascent market the event at a national level and reach capacity fields.

For more information on the Run Larapinta Stage Race please head to the official website at

Stage 2 Run Larapinta. (Stage 3 of Larapinta Trail, coming into Standley Chasm) (Pic Thanks to Reg Hatch)


DatesWednesday 21 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 (this is the rescheduled ‘2020 event’)

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: 20km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station
  • Stage 2: 41km from Simpson’s Gap to Standley Chasm
  • Stage 3: 31km from Birthday Waterhole turn off to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 432km from Ochre Pits to Ellery Creek Water Hole.

The Namatjira (the shorter course):


  • Stage 111.5km around Alice Springs to the Old Telegraph Station.
  • Stage 222km from The Old Hamilton Downs Station to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 320km Birthday Waterhole to Standley Chasm.
  • Stage 426km from Counts Point turn off to Ellery Creek Water Hole.


Run Larapinta Stage Race