Tomorrow, 5:30am sees the kick-off of this year’s Coast to Kosciuszko – a 240km point to point race from Eden on the south coast of New South Wales to the highest point in Australia, Mount Kosciuszko. The race is the brainchild of Paul Every, one of Australia’s most decorated ultra runners. He, together with Jan Herrman (also in the race this year), Sean Greenhill and Lawrence Mead, ran the first ever Coast2Kosci on the 10th December 2004.
As usual, there are only 50 starting places allowed and I’m sure for the first time in a while (I’d have to check), it’s an all-Aussie affair.
The women’s field on paper looks wide open with any number of the ladies starting up for line honours.
Nikki Wynd, after what has been an awesome year for her after winning Badwater is on the starter’s list and I’m sure raring to go to win this one. Last year’s winner Sabina Hamaty is back for more of the pain train and looks like to go head to head with Nikki on this one. Sabina was just 10 minutes off the course record last year, I’m sure she’s got it in her sights this year if the weather Gods play ball!
Nicole Barker has a strong showing at the recent 24hr Coburg race, recording 213kms, expect her to be nudging the front end too. After a four-year absence, Marie Doke is back in the C2K mix and ready to roll after recently winning the Thames Challenge Stage Race in the UK.
I feel though, Susan Keith could be a dark horse for this one. Susan’s an incredibly strong runner, who finished second at the inaugural Buffalo Stampede last year. So too is Robyn Bruins who snagged 7th place at this year’s TNF/UTA 100.
In the men’s race, the field is just as open too. There are quite a few of what you might regard as newbies not only to this race, but also going over and above the 100km distance. Mixed with this are some true stalwarts of the C2K running community thrown in too. Could it be a case of the young guns streaming off way too fast, only to be reeled in my the old blokes later in the day? Will Dalgety, which for many is the start of the charge into the night, be the scene of carnage? Let’s see who’s about…
Kieran O’Brien has had some strong performances in the last few years, including fourth at last year’s Blackall 100 but not been over the 100km distance yet – this is a massive jump, so pacing will be critical here. Laurie Laine has been a super consistent performer on the Glasshouse Mountains trail scene and could go well here. He’s got some sub 20hr Glasshouse 100 milers to his name. So too has his fellow Queenslander, Sean Mulholland. Sean’s a great bloke and had a very strong run at the recent Great North Walk 100 miler too.
It’s also great to see some old stalwarts of the Aussie ultra scene continuing to make appearances on this very old-school type of race. Wayne ‘Blue Dog’ Gregory, a former winner of C2K in 2006 is back. It’s been a slow-burn recovery for a man who’s known as one of the hardest in the sport. Another top man, and great supporter of this website over the years.
Jan Herrman continues his streak of starting every C2K. Here’s a fact for you, Jan ran his first ultra in 1979, 36 years ago and a year after I was born – humbled is the word. Jan also ‘ran’ this race totally self-supported once, wheeling an esky behind himself if my memory serves me right!
Another former (two-time) winner, Jo Blake is back. A constant regular on the starters list and at the ripe of old of fifty-something, always gives it 110% and will be riding the wave at the front for sure. Watch out too for David Turnbull – second at this year’s Ned Kelly Chase and winner of the Adelaide 12hr race clocking in just shy of 140kms. This again is a big jump up.
Kevin Muller is back again for this one and has all the experience, performing very consistently at this race – expect him to feature too. Kev regularly clocks in the 220s-230kms for 24hrs and has a 407km – 48hr PB too. This guy knows how to run long. As too does David Graham, a man who’s quietly getting better and better He bagged an 18.5hr 100 miler at You Yangs earlier this year as well as a sub 24hr GNW 100 miler last year too – podium potential for sure.
Best of luck to everyone running and crewing this year. Having crewed here a few years ago, I think it’s harder than actually running the damn this. On that note, I hope to be a starter here next year…