Races in Australia are like buses right now… None for months and then six previews in the last two weeks. All of which makes for a very busy editor trying to make head and tail of who’s running and what their chances are. Fortunately, as we’re community focused, it’s great when the community lends a hand to this rather sleep-deprived scribe, and just as Dave Kennedy, race director of WTF100 lent a hand for a preview of his race, young gun, Tom Brazier does with the Canberra 101. Tom was the winner of this inaugural event last year, so he knows his shit. He’s also a self-confessed Strava-addict, so he’s been busy stalking all the runners to view their form. I’m forever in gratitude to people who stick their arm up to lend a hand, so a very public thank-you to those that do. Take it away Tom…
No 100km course is easy, but with about half as much climbing as TNF100, the Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101km gives plenty of people an opportunity to improve their 100km PB set in Katoomba, or to have a crack at their first 100km. 2013 saw the Canberra Centenary 100km debut, with the course set by multi-day legend Martin Fryer. The idea is to extend the course by one kilometre each year in line with the age of Canberra. This Sunday 28 September will see plenty of people showing up to enjoy the bush trails in the heart of Canberra. Photos are from the 2013 race, courtesy of Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.
Disclaimer: Preview based on the online start list and skewed by my personal knowledge of competitors – this may not be a fair, accurate or exhaustive list. Apologies to anyone I might have overlooked and best of luck to all the runners!
There are 13 ladies duking it out for solo honours this year. Unfortunately I haven’t found any of them on Strava so I’m not sure about their current form. Pam Muston (NSW) could be tough to beat, with some strong results this year with first at the Narabeen 12hr and a 10:18 at the Gold Coast 100. ACT local Sarah Fien finished Coast2Kosci last year in 34:37 and will be very familiar with the course. With Susan Keith and Simone Hayes (first-second in last year’s race) absent, Natalie Best of NSW is the highest placed returning runner. She is joined by last year’s fifth placed Kathryn Alley from Qld. Georgia Bamber (NSW) has a string of Ironman 70.3 triathlon finishes so clearly the endurance aspect shouldn’t be a problem. Jessica Robson has strong adventure racing and ultra history so could be a threat depending on current form. I’m going to tip Pam and Sarah for first and second with a close contest for the podium.
In the field of 38 men, it looks like a strong local contingent with some solid interstate challengers popping up. Realistically I’d have to put my money on Paul Cuthbert, no pressure mate! He is incredibly consistent and smashes out his training schedule rain, hail or shine. With solid performances at 100 milers like GNW (second in 2013) and UTMF (past two years), as well as second in this race last year and a dominant win at the Bush Capital 63km recently, look for Paul to dish out the hurt in the back half of this course.
Paul won’t have it all his own way. A key rival looks like Wes Gibson from Bathurst. Wes will be back with a vengeance, after experimenting with his first ever 100km at this race last year. He knows the course and this year has ultra experience to match his speed, such as his 10:32 at Buffalo Stampede earlier this year – looking promising for a big run. Brad Carron-Arthur hasn’t raced much recently but you may remember him as the crazy guy who ran from Canberra to Cape York at the start of 2012. Over those four months he averaged around 50km per day for five days each week, to raise money for mental health. He also managed a top ten finish at Glow worm this year off basically no training, as well as a blistering 48mins at City2Surf 2014. A bit of a wildcard with plenty of experience is John Power. He’s had an inconsistent and late notice build up, but if he is in form he will certainly be putting pressure on near the front. Some more options for top five finishers are below and I’m sure there is plenty more talent hidden in the rest of the starters:
- Darren McClellan (NSW) – sub 12hrs at Buffalo stampede this year, depends how he has pulled up from GNW a couple of weeks ago
- Jason West (Qld) – 2014 TNF100 in 13:07
- Tom Banks (ACT) – young guy who ran the fastest time from the non-elite wave at Glow worm this year with a 4:12
- Brett Easton (ACT) – 2014 You Yangs 100miler in 26:20
- Ben Grimshaw (ACT) – consistently smashes out huge training miles and could describe every inch of the course off the top of his head
In the teams event, the course is broken into four legs of 24/32/22/23 km each. The solo runners get a half hour head start before the teams of four set off to start mowing them down! It’s hard to imagine anyone matching the blistering record of 6:59 set last year by the crack team of Martin Dent, Rob Walter, Matt Fenech and Philo Saunders. Marty and Philo are back this year, teaming up with Kathie Dent and Susie Sprague. It will be interesting to see if there is camaraderie or rivalry between the multiple teams from these clubs/groups: ANU Mountaineering, HPT, OBC, Pink Arrows, Pioneer, the Puffs and the Blue Mountains Marathon Clinic – including an Inov8/Hoka hybrid team with Jo+Joe Brischetto. I can confirm that Puffcake’s Tragic Dragons (my team) will definitely be out to sabotage the efforts of Stuff the Puffs.
Rogaining champions Julie Quinn and David Baldwin appear to be making up their own category with just a team of two to complete all four legs. They might have some competition on that front with Hoka’s Roger Hanney + Jess Baker as well as Kym Chisholm + Paul Mahoney also opting for two person teams. Mick Donges has been spotted on team ‘Three tired legs and one smart ass’. Andrew Donaldson has opted for a team entry this year after last year where he paced himself to third in the solo category by ripping through the solo field on the final leg. Canberra adventure racers the Stromlonauts look like they’re doing a tune-up for their 5 day race the week after.
There should be plenty of carnage out on the trails this Sunday and I’m excited to see how it all turns out.