Race season continues this weekend here in Australia, and for a change we move away from the Eastern seaboards and over to some of the other parts of Australia that might not get as much attention, but are just as equally deserving of it. Over in Western Australia, we have the best-named race in the world, the WTF100 & 50 miler (Waterous Trail on Foot) and then in South Australia, the Yurrebilla 56kms,which we’ll cover in a separate post. We start first up with the WTF, and we’d like to thank race director David Kennedy for pulling together the preview for us…
WTF Race Preview
Starting with the girls as is tradition and in the 50 Miler, Nikki Wynd needs no introduction, as she get’s one regularly as a contender at races all over the country. This year she has finished top 10 overall and 3rd female at Badwater, probably one of the highlights, if not the highlight of her running career to date. Has she got the speed for a quick 50 miler though? A 4:05 just last month around The Tan for a win and 4th overall would suggest she has.
Racing Nikki is local legend Barb Fieberg. Barb moved from Germany to sunny Kalgoorlie as a cyclist but has taken to running with the friendly hash house harriers. WTF will be Barb’s longest trail run but with a win in her last ultra the 75K Kep Ultra in sub 6’s for the offroad race she has to be a chance of an upset. Barb will be familiar with a lot of the course as the 2nd half uses a lot of the same trails as 6 Inch Trail Marathon which she has run 3 times.
Such is the quality of the Men’s 50 field that it would be hard to make a case for Nikki to finish higher than 7th overall. From the top we have Tom Bakowski a 2:35 marathoner who finished 13th at TNF. The favourite for sure. Next up is James Roberts who was 2nd in front of Brendan Davies at Surf Coast last year. James has had an injury plagued year but is building some solid form.
Josh Garrett is somewhat of an unknown even locally. Quietly he has amassed a 6th at 6 Inch Trail, a 2nd at Lark Hill 50k and a win today (a week out) at the Cape to Cape marathon. A handy adventure racer Josh shouldn’t have problems with the longer distance and a 2:44 makes him the 2nd fastest marathoner in the race. I saw the entrants for the 50 this year and decided to switch from the 100 and take on a quality local field. I’m proud to say I still have the fastest 6 Inch time of all the runners with the other contenders all racing at least once before. That said I’ve never really raced well over the 4-12 hour events but happy to put it on the line and enjoy the competition.
Brett Tucker is fairly new to ultra running but has 2 wins this year including a course record 8:42 100K at the Lark Hill race. We finish with 9x 6 Inch finisher Nathan Fawkes. Nathan has been concentrating on marathons the last few years while studying law. He celebrated his degree with a trip to Kepler last year and has continued with the longer stuff including a 3rd place over 40 miles this year in 5:09.
In the 100 mile event we have one main question. What does Big Red Run (BRR) form mean? We have four runners racing including the male and female winners. Anne Ziogos was 5th overall at BRR this year and easily accounted for the other women. She seems to like the desert racing as she also had a great run at Mds finishing 16th female in 2013. Natalie Wallace though would have to be favourite with a proven record over 100K +. A sub 9 hour time on the Gold Coast as well as a sub 28 hour 100 mile finish at Glasshouse will give her an advantage if it comes down to experience.
The mens race is wide open. For this race you have to throw out experience as a factor as all but two guys are on debut. For me the favourite is Ben Treasure. A couple of 100k runs this year including a sub 10 hour 3rd place at Kep means he is one to watch. Hunter Dodds is the main challenger though. Hunter has enough ultras on the board that he knows what he’s doing and is in career best form as he continues to pump out 100 mile weeks.
So what will our BRR runners do? Dan Casey took out this year’s race and is a definite dark horse. A 9:33 double marathon to finish a multi-day means he can run well on tired legs. Wayne McMurtrie was 2nd just 8 minutes behind Dan and they finished together on the last day. Wayne also ran 6 Inch last year so he knows what to expect but his time was a lot slower than his competition.
All the best to the runner this weekend.