The time is nearly upon us for the last big race in our Big ‘G’ series competition, and it’s the Big Daddy of them all, The Great North Walk 100 miler. Yes indeed, there is a 100km event still going on and we acknowledge that, but for the purposes of our competition we’re focused on the big one (technically 108.5 miles).
So who is your favourite?
Are you racing this year?
How are you feeling if you are?
I know all of our team is extremely excited about getting onto the start line for this one, and the great news is that we’re all going to get there, that is an achievement in itself after the months and months of hard yakka that goes into training for something like this. Personally, I’m both excited and to be honest extremely nervous about it all. This monster of a race deserves so much respect come race day when the NSW winter suddenly disappears and summer comes at you full on. Many a great name has fallen in this race and with only a 40% completion rate, we’ll all be standing on the start line knowing that less than half of us will actually make it to the beach at Patonga. To see more insight into the race, have a look at this video too.
So who’s going to win? Will Ultra168’s Andrew Vize make it three in a row? Will Dave Waugh back up from his superb performance at Glasshouse with another sub 24 hour time here at GNW? Or will an unknown young gun shoot through for victory this year? Having poured through the data and assessed the form and where possible, the training of those involved, we give you our odds for this year’s race.
Remember, the competition is wide open still. There are a number of people still only on ‘1 winner’, this means that if you correctly guess the winner of GNW, you could still be in with a chance of winning the overall prize of $1,500 worth of gear, which you can find out about here. So email you winner and their predicted time to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
So without further ado, here are the scores on the doors:
Dave Waugh and Andrew Vize – 2-1 JOINT FAV
It’s pretty hard to separate these guys, so we’ve made them joint favourites for the race. Andrew has to be there as he goes for his hat trick of wins, but Dave, as a previous winner and record-holder is surely going to be pushing Andrew all the way to Patonga Beach. We predict that either one of these two will take it out, and that the course record is going as well. Mr. Byrnes, polish those gold medals…
Matt Cooper – 3-1
A proven athlete over this course, Matt snagged third place last year behind Beth Cardelli, but with no Beth in his way this year, Matt is sure to be going toe-to-toe with Andrew and Dave over much of the first part of the course. The question is, can he challenge over the back half and maintain his killer pace?
Philip Whitten – 4-1
Known as Pipi on the scene, another excellent runner who comes from the Rogaining stable. A solid performer and expect him to be quick over the first 80kms or so – again can he hold the stamina for the back-half once the going gets tough past Yarramalong? Good each way bet.
Chris Turnbull – 5-1
Coming from the Quality Meats stable, Chris is well proven over 100kms, but a huge blow-up saw him pull at the 100km point last year. This guy is tough as nuts and proves this by casually running from Sydney to Melbourne – just for fun. He’s been training hard this year and has what it takes to challenge, but again will he be there when the going gets tough at Somersby? Good podium bet.
Levi Martin – 5-1
One from the Trotters stable, Levi got the better of Chris recently at the Sydney marathon, running a 2:57 and is sure to feature towards the pointy end. Faded last year after a rip-roaring start, but is sure to be wiser this year.
Jono O’ Loughlin – 6-1
A very solid performer and another from the Quality Meats stable that seems to run themselves into the ground. Was lining up in third place last year before an attack of the ‘pussies’ hit him at Somersby and he pulled. Since then he’s vowed revenge, but his build-up has been hampered by an injury since the superb performance at Trailwalker Sydney in August. Never say never with this guy – he’ll be the one in the crop top and is belly on show for the ladies.
Darrel Robins and Phil Murphy – 7-1
Both these guys defy the laws of age and can certainly mix it with the young guns any day of the week. Spud comes to this race from the back of a PB at Glasshouse, and Darrel, well is just Darrel. He won’t stop trying and won’t stop moving. This is his back yard and his manor where he plays with his toys each and every day. They don’t call him ”straight-liner” Robins for no reason you know. These two will run each other very very close, and if there’s carnage ahead of them, expect two very real podium chances.
Meredith Quinlan – 8-1
The first of the ladies to make an appearance this year, and a very real podium contender overall. Ran an amazing first 100kms last year, but paid the price on the back-half, losing nearly 3 hours overall to her nemesis and good friend, Darrel Robins (who was superbly paced by a Pommie). Recently finished in third place overall at the Commonwealths in Wales – will this push her onto great things, or will the performance still be in the legs somewhat?
Gordi Kirkbank Ellis – 10-1
Some doubts remain on this fillie after a shocker at GOW where in his words “his knee blew up trying to chase down Dan Bleakman”. Seems like the pace was too tough for him there, and the big question will be if he’s made sufficient recovery in time for this race. A hard man with a big heart, expect him to give it his all on race day, or die trying.
Ian Gallagher – 10-1
A fellow Pommie, with a penchant for the shorter distances, but by his own admission lacking in a bit of quality training time. Expect him to feature early on, but again doubts remain if he’ll seriously challenge over the back-half, or if he’ll sit tight and give the crowds a smile with a hand-holding finish with some idiot called Dan Bleakman.
Jess Baker – 11-1
Another of the Pommie infiltration that’s gradually taking over the ultra scene, Jess is a loveable character who seems very happy go lucky on the outside. On the inside is this dark destroyer that will eat up all in her path! A great performance at The North Face 100km earlier in the year, she’s got real natural ability and will push Meredith all the way in the ladies race – a real top 10 chance overall too.
Robin Cameron – 11-1
A hugely solid performer and real banker over this distance, Robin comes to GNW from the back of a great performance at Western States and knows how to pace herself just right for the big occasion. Another ‘veteran’ of the ultra scene who will again mop up carnage that takes place before her as she marches confidently to Patonga Beach. Definite women’s podium for sure.
Rachel Waugh – 11-1
If your surname is ‘Waugh’ there’s an automatic right of path for you in ultra running. Rachel has recorded the fourth fastest time ever for a female in this race, and was fourth outright in 2008. They say women are better equipped at dealing with pain than men, that’s why we have so many female contenders this year for the big prize. We predict that at least 3 out of the 4 listed here will make the top ten overall.
Seth Campbell – 12-1
One of our friends from across the ditch, there’s not too much known about Seth, other than a very decent placing at the Great Lake 100km in Taupo last year where he finished in the top 10. An unknown quantity, but maybe one to watch for.
As always, this is a bit of fun and frolics and there might be one or two missed off the list that could ultimately come through. If you have suggestions, feel free to list them out in the comments box, as always – debate is good, so keep it constructive and keep it fun.