2024 Cairns 50 - Race Preview


In the first two years of Cairns 50, it has all been out-of-towners taking away the chocolates and there is yet to be a Cairns local win our blue ribbon events. With a strong local field, could 2024 be the year that we see a homegrown runner on the top step of the podium?



The female field may be small, but it is very strong with proven performers over longer distance running. Top of this list has to be local coach and runner Kryssi O’Hare Siplon who has gone from second place in the 30k in 2022, then third place in the 50k in 2023. 2024 could be the year she puts it all together off the back of a PB marathon in 2024 and a solid, but interrupted, training block.

Perhaps her biggest challenger is local pocket rocket Akane Goode. Although quietly spoken, she is a beast on the run course and is back in 2024 after missing the 2023 event. But in 2022 at the inaugural Cairns 50, she blitzed the field to finish second female only 4 minutes behind the winner in a time that would have taken out last year’s event. Her race results include first female at Unreasonable EAST 100 Miler in 2023, so she is more than capable of going long as well as fast!

But our dark horse is Isis Flynn-Pittar. This will be her first time at the distance, but she is a proven runner and has some recent form with a win at the new Rail Trail Ramble held in February. We think she can match it with the best!

Then we could continue to list most of the remainder of the field as they all have a shot. But in particular, keep an eye out for race ambassadors Devicca Embahe, Kelly Priddey and Samantha Gallagher. This is the first time running 50k for Devicca who has made it a big goal to get this one done and put many eggs in the Cairns 50 basket. Sam is a proven performer in triathlon, but how will she cope over 50k in the heat after training through a Melbourne summer. And Kelly had a solid race in the 30k in 2023, and has gone super long with a finish at Kosciuszko Ultra-Trail late in 2023. They will all give it a shake!



Similar to the women, the men’s field is not big, but the class runs deep. With so many runners of similar ability from such diverse backgrounds, it becomes difficult to pick a winner. Plus, the entire podium from 2024 won’t be on the start line leaving the door wide open.

Which puts local runner and 2023 Cairns 50 ambassador Jarrod Ausburn on top of the list. In 2023, Jarrod went out hard, struggled but managed to cross the line in fourth. And this was after a third place finish in 2022. This year he is backing up after the epic 6 Foot Track, so could well be amongst it again.

Julian Picot is a class runner and super fast – expect him to be towards the front! The Tablelands doctor recently finished second at the Bustard Express but ran much faster than the rest of the field. He’s proven he can be fast over the shorter distance. The question will be weather he can match it with the ultra-runners in this field.

Of the other locals, Kevin Durose is backing up from the Tarawera Miler and Ironman New Zealand double, plus third place at the recent Bustard Express. He will put up a fight like always and do everything in his power to push those around him. And Brad Miller is looking in fine form and will give this race a good crack. With his eyes set on the Unreasonable EAST 100 Miler later in the year, this should be a walk in the park.

But then there is a contingent coming from out of town looking to continue the trend of non-local winners. Mitchell Cumming will make his way up from Victoria looking to push himself in the heat. And Aran Hayes has been putting in some big miles on the bike and run which will enable him to go the distance. Then there are two more unusual visitors; Brandon Foor and Jimmy Judge. Brandon, all the way from the USA, is running Cairns 50 as he aims to run ultras on every continent, and just finished 50k in Antarctica! This weather will be a challenge! And Jimmy, making the drive up from Townsville, will likely finish the 50k than smash down 50 weet-bix as his next food challenge!

Our pick, however, is Joshua Chugg. Coming off the back of a second place at the recent Kunanyi Mountain Run in Tasmania, he is a class runner with significant ultra-running experience. He is the two-time winner of the Margaret River Ultra Marathon, two time winner of the 65km Transcend Ultra and the 2022 Surf Coast Century champion. He has pedigree, but with 66k in his legs from last weekend and then the challenge the heat and humidity will pose, will he be able to put it all together?


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