Yesterday we took a look at the ladies and today it’s the turn of the UTA100km men. Props again to David Longo for this painstaking research for the bulk of this preview, edited and added to again by the idiot-in-chief.
The field is equally deep and is headed by global running talent, namely Rob Krar, Tim Tollefson, David Byrne, Ben Duffus and Matt Flaherty to name but a few. As with the last few years, the men’s race has been hotly contested with this mixture of local and overseas runner’s battling it out against one another. This year will be no different as the local Aussies look to keep the crown on home shores. Let’s take a look a some of the main contenders and those who will be challenging for a top ten placing too.
UTA100km Men’s Preview
We’ll begin with perhaps the biggest gun of them all, Rob Krar, whom we interviewed just under two years ago. Rob’s had a little break from running in the last 12 months, however he is known to prepare meticulously for races and when he shows up he is ready to push for the win. This will be his first time racing internationally we believe, however his local racing history speaks for itself.
In 2013 Rob was second at WSER and first at Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100k. In 2014 he was second at Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and first at WSER, Leadville 100 Mile and Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, and in 2015 he was first at WSER. That’s quite some record and for those years, you’d argue that Rob was the best ultra runner on the planet. Rob also has a pretty handy marathon personal best of 2.25 and after taking pretty much all of 2016 off, it will be exciting to see him return to the racing scene.
Tim Tollefson has only been on the ultra trail scene for a couple of years but he’s already had some great results in both the US and internationally, plus owns a not too shabby marathon personal best of 2.18. In 2015, Tim was seventh at Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and second at Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix (CCC). In 2016 he was third at UTMB and most recently, fifth at the Vibram 100. He’s also the 2014 US 50km trails champ.
Matt Flaherty has been racing ultras on all terrains for the last few years and like many others, brings much experience into the race. This year he was seventh at the Tarawera Ultra and first at Old Ghost Ultra (course record).
The US guns will have to work for it though as top local runners David Byrne and Ben Duffus give them a run for their money with their own strong personal running pedigrees and local course knowledge. Throw in a Kiwi, a Kiwi-based Swiss guy, another American, a runner from Japan and a Norwegian and we have a wholly international men’s edition this year.
Moving back to our local Aussies and Dave Byrne’s Strava profile indicates nothing for the last few months, but unfortunately I hate to tell you that Strava does lie people. A glance of Movescount gives you all the information you need to see that Dave has been training hard and fair. We all know of Dave’s pace, toeing the line in several big races and achieving some solid results thus far, mainly over the faster, flatter courses. It will be great watching him convert across to something with a few more hills and in some parts, some more technical running. Although, I’d still regard UTA as a ‘flat’ course, to use the words of Kilian Jornet. It’s not overly technical and there are big long stretches of open fire trails – the course record is testament to this fast nature too – with the right conditioning, Dave should run well here.
What’s also interesting is that Dave is racing Western States in five weeks time too. Running a big 100km is a big call ahead of that, but someone with Dave’s vast experience I’m sure will have a plan all sorted ahead of his massive ‘A’ race in a just over a month. I won’t second guess what Dave is going to do, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him ease off the pace in the back half if needed to save the legs for the big dance.
Ben Duffus has already been racing locally and internationally for several years and although he has had mixed success the last couple years, he has always raced strongly at UTA 100. Like Dave, he’s kept all training off Strava, plus Movescount, so we have no idea what kind of shape he’s in. But if someone is keeping their training off the Interwebz, then you know they’re training hard. In Ben’s last three races here he has achieved 7th, 5th and 2nd respectively, with his PB being a speedy 9.39. His recent results include first at Hounslow Classic in 2015 and third at Bogong to Hotham back in January. I’m sure he won’t mind us saying, but he’s had a mixed year or so of racing, but Ben brings a wealth of experience to this race and it’s likely he’ll adopt his usual approach of starting slow and then pick up the carnage towards the back half of the race.
While we’ve highlight four big guns, there’s also a wealth of other talent on show from both home and overseas highlight below. Norway’s Sondre Amdahl will go well on this course (see results below) and I would expect him to feature in the top five. He’s had some quality results in the last few years and is probably the quiet achiever of the group. Watch him in the latter stages.
Likewise, Martin Kern has had some cracking results of late, including a fine performance at the Northburn 100 miler. He certainly prefers the harder hillier stuff, but I’m thinking he’ll go well here. The only thing stopping him is the amount of racing he’s already crammed into the first half of this year could impact on his legs somewhat.
A shout out also to our Kiwi brother, Grant Guise who’s currently in the middle of a massive training load focused towards another Hardrock 100 attempt, but again will feature in the top ten I’m sure. And finally Jono O’Loughlin will run in 10th UTA100, finishing in the top ten for all but one year. He’s had a bit of an up and down preparation for this one, but you can be guaranteed there will be steam coming from both of his ears for the entire duration of the race, such is his determination.
Other likely UTA100km men likely to feature:
- Michael Wardian – 5th Tarawera Ultra 2015, 8th Lake Sonoma 50 Mile 2015, 7th Tarawera Ultra 2016, 4th JFK 50 Mile 2016, 8th Tarawera Ultra 2017
- Tom Brazier – 4th Bogong to Hotham 2014, 4th Buffalo Stampede Ultra 2015, 3rd Hounslow Classic Ultra 2015, 25th Lavaredo Ultra Trail 2015
- Andrius Ramonas – 1st UTA 50 2015, 5th UTA 100 2016, 6th Tarawera Ultra 2017
- Kazufumi Ose – 12th 80k du Mont-Blanc 2016, 8th North Face 100k Hong Kong 2016, 1st Translantau 50k
- Yoshikazu Hara – 3rd Tarawera Ultra 2015, 4th Tarawera Ultra 2016, 6th Nine Dragons Race
- Aurelien Collet – 3rd Grand Raid Reunion 2014, 9th Transvulcania 2016, 7th IAU World Trail Running Championships 2016
- Sondre Amdahl – 2nd Vibram 100 2015, 4th Transgrancanaria 125k 2015, 4th Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji 2015, 9th Marathon Des Sables 2016, 1st Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan 115k 2017
- Jonathan O’Loughlin – 4th UTA 100 2014, 1st Mount Solitary Ultra 2015, 10th UTA 100 2015, 7th UTA 100 2016
- Grant Guise – 2nd Ultra Easy 100k 2015, 6th Buffalo Stampede Ultra 2015, 8th Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run 2016, 2nd Taupo Ultra 100k 2016
- Martin Kern – 2nd Ultra Easy 100k 2017, 1st Northburn Station 100 Mile 2017
- Andrew Lee – 10th Buffalo Stampede Ultra 2014, 9th UTA 100 2014, 7th Hounslow Classic Ultra 2015, 13th UTA 100 2016
- Clarke McClymont – 1st Great North Walk 100k 2012, 1st Great North Walk 100 Mile 2014, 7th Buffalo Stampede Ultra 2015, 2nd Buffalo Stampede Ultra 2017
Pick’s for the podium
DAVID – 1st Rob Krar, 2nd Sondre Amdahl, 3rd Tim Tollefson
DAN – 1st Rob Krar, 2nd Tim Tollefson, 3rd Sondre Amdahl
Join us tomorrow for the UTA50km and 22km previews.
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