Skip to Content
17th May 2023


Wins on debut and tight racing have highlighted the UTA50 race at Ultra-Trail Australia by UTMB in the Blue Mountains on Saturday.

Sydney’s Blake Turner and Vietnam’s Hau Ha claimed victory in the men’s and women’s races, with both runners taking to the UTA start line for the first time.

Turner took the win in 4:20:13, more than four minutes clear of Canberra’s Charlie Hamilton, with Ben Duffus third.

“I am spent, I absolutely had nothing left, I was lucky to hold on up Furber Stairs but it was worth it, I wanted it so bad, it was just push, push, push,” said Turner. “The boys went out hot, I wanted to stay in touch but the two boys in front really wanted to put the pace on so I kind of just took it easy and held back a bit, they fanged it down to the bottom of the river at Kedumba and from then on, I’ve ran this course so many times that I just ran up every hill and just kept going on from there.”

“I went past second coming up Jamison Creek and then I got Charlie a couple of k’s later, and then when I got to the forest I knew it was nice easy running so I just kept on going,” he said. “With 5km I was feeling really good, I was thinking this is easy, I want to go for the record here, but I blew up about 2km later and thought this is a bad idea but held on.

“I haven’t raced at UTA before and I’ve really wanted to come and show what I can do and that I can race and I really want to go and leapfrog from this over to Europe and have a go over there,” said Turner.

Charlie Hamilton last raced at Ultra-Trail Australia by UTMB in 2021 where he won UTA22, stepping up to the 50km event this year and impressing on his way to second place.

“I’m sore, that’s bloody hard, really hard,” said Hamilton. “It’s such a nice course, Blake was so strong today, he just flew past me at the bottom of the climb, we had such a great day, the weather was great, all of the volunteers out there were so nice, it was so nice to be cheered on.

“I just started off pretty cruisy and everyone seemed to drop back, I was expecting Scotty Hawker and Ben Duffus to be with us but they were just cruising so I ran with another Canberra guy who I’ve done a bit of running with so that was really nice,” he said. “I just ran pretty controlled and then once I got to the bottom of the river I didn’t climb as well as I would have liked and that’s where Blake came past, he was just so strong. I’m pretty happy altogether, it was a tough day but I’m glad we got through it.”

Vietnam’s Hau Ha was impressive on her way to the top step of the podium, pushing ahead early and extending her lead throughout the 50km race.

Ha crossed the finish line in 4:47:41, with Newcastle’s Stephanie Auston just over six minutes behind, closely followed by Dutch runner Renee Cardinaals who was less than a minute back in third, with all three in the top 10 overall.

“I feel good, great, I couldn’t imagine that I could win this race, I didn’t think it was possible,” said Ha. “The downhills were good for me, I like the downhills very much and the course is so beautiful. This is my first time racing in Australia and I have enjoyed it very much. I came here to enjoy it, I run with my speed and I’m happy with that.”

Auston is no stranger to the podium at UTA, claiming victory twice in UTA22 in recent years, along with a second place in the 50km. The Newcastle-based athlete has also had a strong last six months, with a win in the 100km at Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko by UTMB and a second in the 102km at February’s Tarawera Ultramarathon by UTMB.

“I’m so stoked, it’s 10 minutes faster than I did a couple of years ago, the competition was so good, the girls really pushed each other,” said Auston. “I had to fight to get into second with about 5km to go and hold on, to get all of the girls in the top 10 is just really good, really happy with that.

“I thought we started really fast, I’m not great on descending on the stairs and I didn’t want to have a stack, I’ve got Western States in six weeks so I was thinking that I must stay upright, I was really conservative on those and just tried to save some for all the hills at the end, just tried to finish as strong as possible,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to get second but I did and I held on which was really good but first was so strong, everyone was good today.”

Next stop for Auston is California and the iconic Western States Endurance Run.

“Today was a tick that my fitness is good, I go to America on Tuesday to prep for Western States now, going to get some mountain legs in me, it’s going to be my first miler so this is a good test in the lead up so I would say it couldn’t have gone any better,” she said.

Runners have until 10.30pm this evening to finish UTA50, with UTA100 also currently underway.