THE inaugural Outback to the Stack half marathon has been run and won, and if the comments from the competitors who tackled the new course are anything to go by, the event will be a 'must-do' in everyone's 2013 calendar.
93 individual runners and walkers, along with seven teams, pitted themselves against the new 21.1-kilometre course on Sunday morning, setting off from Lake Moondarra in chilly conditions before the sun was even visible on the horizon.
While many competitors entered just to test themselves and complete the challenge of finishing a half marathon, several hardcore athletes set their sights on being the first to have their names etched onto the new perpetual trophies.
Aidan Hobbs was the first runner across the line and finished in a blistering time of one hour, twenty-one minutes, 18 seconds to claim the open men's crown, narrowly pipping Greg Mitchell, whose time of 1:21.25 gave him Masters men's honours ahead of Rick Leeman and Owen Barnes.
Gavin Fee (1:24.54) and Clinton Elliot (1:28.18) bagged open men's silver and bronze honours respectively.
Hobbs said he was pleased with winning the event in its inaugural year and rated the new course highly.
"It's definitely a good course," he said after the race.
"The new layout makes it more interesting; you don't go stir crazy on it like the old one [Mine2Mine course]."
Tina McCarthy has had a stellar year in 2012 and topped it off with first place in the open women's class, securing a six-minute victory ahead of Anthea Barrow and Michelle Rowlingson in a time of 1:33.48.
McCarthy echoed Hobbs' sentiments about the new course, which started at the lake and weaved a way to Tony White Oval.
"It's really fun," she said.
Donna Mullaly (1:59.38) claimed top honours in the open women's class, ahead of Victoria Corner (2:20.44) and Isa Rats stalwart Rosina Oliver (2:37.11).
Cool Runnings, consisting of team members Cam Clayton, Hunter Asanuma, Scott Anderson and Jacob Fry, became the first team to taste victory in the event with a time of 1:27.33.
Isa Rats president Kylie Baker said the event had been a success and that all indications were that Mount Isa's newest half marathon would become just as iconic and popular at the Mine2Mine event.
"Based on the feedback we've received, everyone's happy with the new course," she said on Sunday.
n Results, P19