WTF Race Preview

In what I think is the best-named race in the entire world, the WTF (Waterous Trail on Foot) 50 and 100 takes place this weekend over in Perth. To let us know what the down-low is over in Western Australia, race director of WTF, David Kennedy has very kindly penned us this thoughts. If you’re looking for something different, a chance to get stuck into some fabulous wine and see the stunning coastline over in WA, then you should seriously consider this race. What’s more, Ultra168 Supporters get 25% off race entry and free accommodation thrown in too. Stick it on the list and thanks to David for his ongoing support too.

The fourth official edition of the Waterous Trail on Foot 50 & 100 Milers gets underway this weekend. What started as a fat-ass race in 2007 on the Waterous Trail the race has since moved to the trails north of race HQ Dwellingup.

This year sees a strong field in the 100 with more than double last year’s entrants. In the ladies event there are four runners on debut and my favourite is Emily Laidley who won the 50 last year in a smart time. Back in May she managed to drag herself through a 21 hour UTA so has the experience of time on feet. Her recent form is solid too with a 50K in about 5 hours at the WA Track Ultra 6 weeks ago.

Next up is Emma Black who won the Lark Hill Dusk to Dawn 100K 30 months ago. DUV shows no ultras since, but as one of only a handful of women to beat the tough 13 hour cut-off at Lark Hill she is a strong runner with a big chance of victory here if at her best.

Jaqui Clark has been making a slow steady build with her ultra running over the last three years. Beginning with the gateway event of 6 Inch Trail Marathon and surviving the epic 39C day of 2013, Jaqui has gradually built up in distance with 2015 being a big year with over 480K raced. A 20hour + UTA 100, a 150K 24 Hour and an 11:28 at the WTF 50 last year are probably the most relevant to her potential. She’s been training up a storm and I’m looking forward to seeing her cross the finish line whether first or last.

The real dark horse in the women’s 100 is Alice Robb. Alice hasn’t been seen on the WA ultra scene in over five years. Her form from 2011 including a 12:01 100K at Kep Ultra would put her into favourite position here. Since then she has run the Grand to Grand stage race in the US in 2013 and a trail marathon last weekend. A bit of Facebook stalking reveals she is a Kiwi, which makes WA ultra runners hoping to beat her very nervous.

In the men’s race another Kiwi, Richard Avery would be the raging favourite after his 240K 24 hour effort at the WA Track Ultra in August except for a niggling ITB issue. If he’s fit enough to finish it will be at the pointy end.

The two Ben’s are both massive chances here. Ben Harris won last year on debut and another year of ultra experience should see a big improvement. I’m tipping him for sub 20 this year, especially with the weather looking up to 14C cooler. Ben Treasure has steadily improved over the last few years ever since he started training with HURT 100 winner Paul Hopwood. His sub 30 at GNW last year, as well as many other solid shorter runs makes him a chance for the win here and almost a certainty for a podium.

Nathan Fawkes has been running ultras in WA since 2005, and after many years making up the numbers he had his first win last year at the Kep 75K. He finished 2015 with two more wins, including the WTF 50 in a solid 7:32. Having not run further than 100K since 2009, he’s by no means a sure thing but if he has a good day Nate should go sub 18.

Another runner from the original WA trail ultra in 2005, Jonathon Phillips, is running his first real ultra after many years of marathons, trail marathons and a couple of 50Kers. We wish him a happy healthy finish in the 50 Miler.

The 50 Miler this year is wide open. In the Men’s Rob Badger was 4th last year and with no podium finishers running the 50 this year I’m backing him for the win. The hot conditions saw him fade in the final few hours in 2015 and cooler conditions this year should see him go sub 8.

Those likely to threaten Rob or push for a podium are Lukas Scheidegger who has a 14:13 from the UTA 100 and Nick Swallow who has run 5:55 for the Mt Helena 40miler east of Perth. The ‘smokies’ for a podium are Bryant Burman, Scott Bunny and Alan Stabler.

In the women’s race, word on the street is Kelly Robinson is the woman to beat. After running over 100K at the recent 12 Hour track race she should go in as favourite. Beck Hefferon is an experienced ultra runner with a good turn of speed. Although she hasn’t raced an event this long in three years, she should be battling it out for a podium. Michelle Lane is likely to be the 3rd runner on the podium.

With many novice runners taking on the 50 miler it will make for an interesting event with the potential for many close finishes in the middle of the field. Let the games begin and best of luck to all runners this weekend.


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I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

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