OK, with Andrew off to run in the Western States 100 miler next Saturday, needless to say, the rest of Ultra168 is very excited for him. He flew off today (hopefully avoiding the ash cloud, which delayed my trip back from NZ earlier this week), and should be somewhere over Fiji right now.
Bryon Powell, one of the leading trail writers over the US (and competitor too), has got the ball rolling with a predictions article where people can choose their top eight runners in both the men’s and women’s events. I must admit to not being overly au fait with the leading ladies in the 100 mile scene, suffice to say that I do hope Australia’s Beth Cardelli can do us proud. She has a real chance of a podium we believe and could cause a flew shocked glances when she runs over the finish line.
In the men’s, I’m putting all my cookies on a certain Kilian Journet. Most yanks don’t rate him (no surprise), but I think he’ll kill it this year. When he visited Australia, a few of us were lucky enough to speak with him and it’s patently clear from his attitude that this year is all about Western States. This is a guy who hates losing. He is a born winner and he made some mistakes last year that he’s keen to rectify.
As for the other placings, as a Brit, I think Jez Bragg and Ian Sharman are serious contenders for top 5 placings. Ian ran the race of his life at the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler, setting one of the quickest 100 mile trail times ever recorded (12hr 44mins), and Jez is a very consistent performer too. Of course, last but not least will be the US contingent, Geoff Roes, Andy Jones-Wilkins, Hal Koerner and Dave Mackey are also up there with quite a few others too – it’s going to be an absolute dog-fight for top 10 placings this year.
If you’re interested in putting some predictions in, click here to read Bryon’s article and how to enter.