This week, we welcome back the thoughts and musings of Troy Lethlean as he gives us a run down of the Glasshouse 100s, the oldest 100 miler in Australia, and also the scene of carnage at my first ultra back in 2008. It’s not an overly beautiful course as most people tend to look for these days, but what it has is people and a community built around it. That’s why I love this event, the people around it and the deep cultural significance it has. Look beyond the aesthetics and dive into something that’s a little deeper. Fond memories.
You may remember 1996 as the year that ‘Friends’ TV show was finally aired in Australia… or, you may have been out running, preparing for the first Australian 100 mile race… the Glasshouse 100! Flicking through the archives, the stories are hilarious, including the local Custard Apple Farmer who finished 3rd in the 106km option, and didn’t train for it (hiking and climbing trees was enough, it seems), and Sean Greenhill’s run in 2002 where he drank 6 litres of water early on as a ‘weight buffer’ due to the heat that year.
Yes, 21 years ago this race was started by Ian Javes, with runners from all over the world there to compete. The result in the 100 miler? Heat was the winner, with no finishers. So, with Phil Hungerford (from www.theruninn.com.au ) in his second year of running this epic event, who is there this year to add to the heritage of this historic race?
Poring over the start list, the women’s race will most likely be close between Jill Thompson and Cassie Smith, although I think that Jill’s consistent training and her results on trails this past 12 months, including a solid Blackall 100, show that she will be hard to beat.
The men’s race is a mixed bag. Steve Pemberton should be out to achieve a fast time for his first miler, as he has been consistent over the past few years in the 100km trail races he has competed in. That said, with 1st and 2nd place from 2015 not returning, my winning pick is last years’ 3rd placed Kieran O’Brien. Kieran had a big 2015 with a 7th place effort at C2K and he took out the men’s division for the Run Larapinta race earlier this year. He is in good form at the moment and training well. The only unknown for me is 22 year old Makoto Hasegawa – he appears to be a quick marathoner, but I couldn’t find any information about him in longer events such as this.
Third place could come from a bunch of starters, including Mat Grills, Ben Dennien or Wayne Gibbons. Mat is completing the Grand Slam of 100 milers/Ultras in the next couple of months, starting here at GH, and including Nerang 100 miler, a 200mile grind and Coast to Kosciusko. Ben is hoping to wipe a few hours off his 2015 time, and Wayne finished sub 23 hours in 2014, although the course appears to be tougher from 2015 with times being overall slower.
In the 100km, Suzanne Chatterton will be hard to beat after her sub 12-hour win last year, however Sam Yarnold should be able to come close to that time. The men’s race is more open, and several stand out, however the heat could possibly be an issue for some. My favourite is Nic Moloney, who should by now know every inch of the National Park and State Forests they run through, although my research shows that he may be challenged by Steve Marton, Stephane Galli and Barry Scott (3rd male last year).