I don’t know about you guys, but I’m so pumped after watching the coverage unfold at Transvulcania yesterday. The sport of ultra and trail running is changing fast before our eyes, and yesterday I think we witnessed the birth of something special. It’s perfect timing ahead of the highest profile trail ultra in Australia, the North Face 100. We think that everyone who’s involved in the race, not just the runners should feel a special wave of excitement as we count down towards our own amazing event.
In some regards I can see a number of parallels with the race in Spain yesterday. We have major sponsors and athletes all coming together, and the competition is going to be hot. We’ve already said in our preview that we don’t think the international guys are going to have it all their own way this year. The Aussie boys want to make sure of that, and speaking to a few people on the ground, both athletes and those who reside up in the mountains all say the same thing – it’s going to be a very strong and deep race this year.
This morning, we had the chance to catch-up with a couple of the leading contenders for this year’s race, South African Ryan Sandes and local trail rising star, Mick Donges. Both run for Team Salomon, who put on a gear testing and 5km trail run down at Clifton Gardens in Mosman, Sydney. Additionally, we handed over the limited edition Salomon Sense shoes as won by Martin Pluss in our picture competition.
I think what’s great about this is that they seem to be one of a few companies that invest both at the top end in terms of elite athletes, but also importantly at a grass roots level, but actually prove this through action. They put themselves out there and bring along one of the world’s leading trail runners out on a Sunday morning to a park in Sydney for some of us to run alongside and have a chat to. To be frank they are one of a few companies that actually ‘get it’.
Chatting to both Mick and Ryan, both seem super relaxed about the task ahead. Ryan arrived just over a week ago and has already been training out on the course. The Salomon guys and girls are well known for this, and give their runners every possible chance by allowing them time to prepare for each race. The go into it to win, they’re not just here on a nice little holiday.
Ryan returns very much a different runner to last year, and with that massive win at the Leadville 100 under his belt, he’ll be using this to gauge his form and training ahead of his big one for the year, Western States.
For Mick, it’s been a huge year thus far with the win at Tarawera, and of course UTMB later on this year – so like Ryan he’ll using this one as a stepping stone towards some very heavy training to get race fit for what is one of the world’s premier 100 mile races. Here’s what the boys had to say, including Ryan’s hot tip for the race, Australian fast bowler, Brett Lee 🙂