It was a big weekend of racing just gone around the world, what with the Western States 100, Lavaredo Ultra-trail and the Marathon du Mont Blanc to name a few.
The great news is that many an Aussie and Kiwi lined up for some of these races and put down some very respectable markers for things to come.
Starting over at Western States, a number of Aussies towed the line, including our now Welsh resident, Andrew Tuckey.
Tucks has had a stonker of a last few years, which saw him on the start line of Western States as number M9 in recognition of his ninth place at last year’s race. As always, Tucks starts out these races in conservative fashion, before moving up head of all before him – and this year was no different. Tucks grew stronger as the race went on to finish in 15th place, that after a competing and finishing top 50 at Comrades just a few weeks prior.
Overall, Andrew Miller became not only the youngest winner of the race, but youngest finisher too in a time of 15:39, this after Jim Walmsley had led for most of the race. Jim set out at a blinding pace and was at times 29 minutes under Rob Krar’s record run. But a missed turn and mistakes cost him loads of time for him to eventually finish just behind Tucks.
Another young gun, Kaci Lickteig took out the ladies race in a time of 17:57, with the highly experienced Amy Sproston finishing second in 18:54 and Devon Yanko third in 19:10.
Rounding out the men’s race, Didrik Hermansen was second in a time of 16:16 with Jeff Browning third in 16:30. Overall it was a slower year in terms of times and you could argue some big names missing from the starters sheet. But hey, you’ve got to be in it to win it and we all know how tough the conditions can get at Western States and the heat that emanates from the course.
Over in Italy, Kiwi-Aussie resident and soon to be father, Scotty Hawker, snagged an excellent fifth place at the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, just one place down on his position from last year’s race, but still, a rather excellent performance from Scotty post his run at UTA a few weeks back too.
Meanwhile over in France, a cluster of Aussies raced in the French Alps. Ultra168 contributor, Lucy Bartholomew bagged a 10th place in the highly competitive Marathon du Mont Blanc. While in the men’s race, Dave Byrne got 13th, this after leading the race, but then a slight issue with crew saw him cramp up and drop back somewhat. Matty Abel grabbed 12th in the 23km event and Aaron Knight a cracking 10th in the vertical km.
Next up is the Eiger Ultra Trail on July 16th and 17th, which will feature David Byrne again and also New Zealand’s Fiona Hayvice. I’ve been massively impressed with Fiona’s form this year having won Tarawera, and then an excellent placing at UTA too. The girl is on fire right now, I hope she shows Europe what she’s got and perform well at Eiger.