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The world’s biggest shooting sports festival has a new weapon.
Gunrunners are a class of competitive shooter who train with the aim to shoot every bullet on target.
They have become the biggest sporting event in Australia, and the number of gunrunners is expected to grow by more than 500 by 2020.
But for the gunrunners, the sport isn’t about guns.
It’s about running.
‘The whole idea is to run the whole world’, said gunrunner Daniel Smith, who started training in 2007 after spending years running his father’s marathons.
“There’s a real sense of adventure about running.”
In 2013, he set up the Run the World Championships in Australia and now boasts more than 3,000 competitors, all of whom have gone on to win gold medals.
Running in Australia was originally a sport played by Australian boys and girls, with the emphasis on the sprint.
But as the sport gained popularity in the mid-1990s, it took on more of a competitive bent.
”We wanted to take the sport to a whole new level, to a sport where the athletes were not just runners but athletes, who wanted to run and be in shape,” Mr Smith said.
He said there were no restrictions on the number or speed of the guns the runners could use.
In Australia, there are currently about 600 guns in use, most of which are made by a company called Colt Manufacturing, which is based in the Gold Coast, but also makes other firearms including Glock pistols.
At the 2016 World Gunrunners Championships, gunrunners used up to 500 rounds of ammunition.
This year, Colt manufactured about 1,600 rounds.
It’s a lot of bullets, and so are the gunrunner’s body parts.
Mr Smith said the guns are usually manufactured by hand, and can take up to 12 months to make.
As the sport has evolved, so have its rules, with most of the events requiring the gun runners to pass a test to prove they are competent in the sport. AAP/ABC