While the Blackall 100 is taking place in the humid climes of Queensland, here’s hoping that it might be slightly cooler for those racing the Heysen 105 (and 57kms), down in South Australia – although I doubt it!
The Heysen 105 is the brainchild of Yumigo running guru, Ben Hockings – it’s also part of the Ultra168 Supporters Club and I know a fair few of you will be racing tomorrow too.
Traversing a 105km section of the 1200km-long Heysen Trail, runners will experience the best trail running has to offer in the State, taking in rolling farmland, sandy forests, rocky hillsides and lots, lots more.
The views are spectacular through the magnificent conservation parks, with the backdrop of gum trees, abundant wildlife and wide open spaces making this a truly Australian experience and one I personally would love to come and run one day soon! The great thing about this race that I noticed about the start list is the healthy abundance of females running in the 105km – a very even split of male to female ratio.
So let’s start with the ladies race as it looks to be a pretty even contest among a few, with one standout performer in Joanna Kruk – she won this race last year and has had a pretty good year all round too. She’s ventured over to Hong Kong and came second at the Translantau 100km race, as well as winning what I think is perhaps the best name for a race ever, The Most Beautiful Thing 100km trail race which starts at Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, with over 5,200m of elevation. I think Joanna is a firm favourite to win this race again.
But she will have competition in the form of Erin Colebatch, who finished 6th here last year and has run a respectable Ultra Trail Australia time too. Also in the running will be Tina Nielson who grabbed third place at the recent Adelaide 6hr track race. Bronwyn Young looks good for a podium spot I’d say, having finished seventh at Tarawera 60kms in just over 7h hours earlier this year too. Finally, Jane Luke could be up there too, having finished just ahead of Tina at the Adelaide 6hr race too.
In the men’s race, I think it will be a battle between five names, all fairly evenly matched too. Veteran runner, Howard Norton is probably my favourite for this one having run fourth here last year. To date, he’s also run a 76kms distance in the Adelaide 6hr as well as just over 12 hours at Ultra Trail Australia. At 53, he’s giving a lot of the younger guys a run for their money and some. I think he’ll win this year.
Biting at his behind (figuratively!) will be the likes of Andrew Hough, a fellow 12:xx Ultra Trail Australia runner, along with Sean Ward who recently ran a sub 10hr 100kms at Centennial Park. Also in the mix will be Toby Hughes, who finished 10th here last year and Steve Hanley who performed well at UTA also.