Race Preview: Surf Coast Century

It’s a busy week for ultra running in Australia with no less than three events taking place this forthcoming Saturday. Up in Queensland it’s the longstanding Glasshouse 100s, in NSW the Great North Walk 100s in its new September slot and then finally down in Victoria, the Surf Coast Century, which is where our focus lies for today. Additionally, I (Dan) will be headed down to Surf Coast this weekend to race (stumble!) the 50kms, as well as report upon the final stages of the 100km race (check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates) where we have some quality athletes taking part up front and where our focus for the preview lies today.

So whom should you look out for? As always, we start with the ladies…

Jodie is a real contender for the SCC title
Jodie is a real contender for the SCC title

In the 100kms, four names stick out as potential winners and ‘podium-getters’ in the ladies race. Kellie Emmerson features regularly in the top 10 of most races she enters, particularly down in the Victorian trail scene, where she has a number of wins to her name including the Maroondah Dam 50km this year as well as the Tan 50km and You Yangs 50kms from previous years. She also placed in the top 10 recently over in Chamonix in the Orsieres-Champex-Chamonix (OCC), a 53km alpine run as part of the UTMB festival of running. A lady that certainly looks to be on the rise in the Aussie trail scene, but not masses of experience over the 100kms distance just yet – but building sensibly for sure.

Jodie Oborne is another woman who has built nicely over the last few years and is putting in some very good results of late, and has the pedigree over the long distance. Last year and indeed this year she’s really coming into her own and the flatter terrain of Surf Coast looks like it will suit her, given her times and distances achieved over the more ‘runnable’ distances. She knocked out an 8:01 Comrades last year to finish 21st, as well as smashing out 212kms in the Coburg 24hr race. Potential winner.

Colleen Middleton is probably more of the unknown in the four over the 100km distance, but has the pace to burn over the shorter stuff. A former winner of Australia’s largest trail marathon, 6ft Track, she regularly podiums at this event. From what I can tell, this will be her first time at 100kms, so it will be interesting to see how she fares. Once again, the flatter terrain will probably suit her. One to watch.

Nikki Wynd is the lady with all the form as far as going the distance is concerned. She has the pedigree having ‘podiumed’ at Badwater earlier this year with a cracking sub 30hr performance. She’s also on the national 100km team too and has raced a lot this year already. On paper the leading lady, but it will remain to be seen if she’s got another fight left in her come race day.

Our pick…

  1. Jodie Oborne
  2. Nikki Wynd
  3. Kellie Emmerson
Brendan at TNF100
Brendan at TNF100

Mens 100kms

The mens race is equally as good in terms of calibre, with two standout names on the draw card. To win this race, someone will need to run  around 8hrs 30mins and there are probably two guys that can do that, Mick Donges and Brendan Davies.

Starting with Mick, he’s been quiet since he had to pull from the Buffalo Stampede earlier in the year through injury, but was by all accounts in good nick for that race. If he’s rediscovered that form then he’ll be a serious contender in this race, such is his natural ability and talent.

Brendan as we all know is the serial racer amongst us. His ability to keep knocking out race after race, especially 100kms and over is unparalleled here in Australia. I can’t think of any runner that has the ability to keep knocking these runs out of the park and consistently perform too. Brendan scored an amazing 8th place at Western States just a few months ago, which gives him guaranteed entry for next year’s race, a spot that is coveted by many in the ultra world. Not only that, but he came back and won the Centennial Park 100kms a few weeks after and then recently set a new record with his team at the Oxfam Trailwalker 100kms. It’s hard to see him losing this one. No pressure 🙂

Then we have a couple of dark horses in Thomas Bakowski and Joel Fitzgerald. Thomas is perhaps a name not known to many outside of WA, but has consistently produced some pretty good performances over the years, most notably 13th place at TNF100 earlier this year in a stacked field. Joel is another up and coming runner with bags of talent, finishing close to Thomas’ time at TNF100 this year for 19th overall.

And finally, there’s the stalwart among them, David Eadie. David’s highlight this year was a 20.5hr Western States performance, which saw him secure a top 50 spot. He’ll be first to admit that his best years are behind him, but he’s still a highly competitive runner who regularly features in the upper echelons of the results table.

Our pick…

  1. Brendan Davies
  2. Mick Donges
  3. Thomas Bakowski

As mentioned, I’ll be running in the 50kms and then reporting on the 100km winners, but if you’re keen to follow the progress of the race, here are some links to help you out:

That concludes our thoughts for the SCC, over the next few days we’ll have previews of GNW and Glasshouse, so watch this space!

*Information on runners is correct at time of writing – as always, runners drop, runners join – if we haven’t mentioned you and you think you are in with a shot of winning, let us know!

Dan

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