As we draw towards the end of another year, we have one final big bang to pass through, that of coast2kosci, a 240km epic that starts in the seaside town of Eden, winding its way up inland to the summit of Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain.
Forty-nine slightly strange people (I mean that as a term of endearment), will set-off from the beach at Eden, dipping their toes in the ocean, as is tradition at this race, making their way for around 150km or so along some nice sweeping fire trails, before hitting the road at Dalgety, or thereabouts to push into the Alpine region and a long hard 60km slog from Jindabyne to the summit.
In many respects, this race isn’t always about the fastest or those who win, it’s about a crowd of people who enjoy each other’s company and love to run long. Which is why you tend to see so many regular names on the list of entrants, such as Kevin Heaton, who will this year complete his tenth C2K, a pretty outstanding achievement. Kevin got seriously injured at UTA a few years ago, but managed to get himself back into some form of shape to finish C2K and keep his streak of finished here alive.
Jane Trumper is going for finish number seven, and one of the original four runners to start this race back in 2004, Jan Herrmann is going for finish number eight I believe. Queenslander, Trevor Allen is hoping for finish number six this weekend too. Congrats to them all for such a fine record at this awesome race.
So who’s on the doors for line honours this weekend?
For the men, there are quite a few guys in this race who will be there or thereabouts, with a number sitting on around a 25-27 hour Great North Walk 100 miler finish, so the racing will be pretty competitive within the first 10-15 males, more on the ladies in a minute. However I’ve picked out seven names to watch for the overall win this weekend, and I’ll start with my favourite, Paul Munro.
Paul’s a Victorian lad and on paper, probably the quickest guy in the field. What propels him there is the 14:37 100 miler he ran at Great Naseby over in New Zealand this year, winning that race and putting himself on the eyeballs of a few. That’s no fluke however, as he’s also won the Surf Coast Century in 2015 in a speedy time of 8:17 too.
While the C2K course has around 5,500m of elevation, it does so over 240kms, in that regard, it’s not a hugely hilly or technical course either, with only a few short sharp climbs. This is going to suit a runner like Paul in a big way. He’s my tip for the win, and depending on what kind of shape he’s in, he could run close to 24 hours. But that’s a big call, given this is a big step beyond what he’s done before. I’m sure a win is the first priority, but he has the goods to challenge if the weather is good.
Two regulars at this event who are always there or thereabouts are Kevin Muller and
Rob Mason. Both sit around the 28-30hr mark for C2K, which has in the past, been good enough for the podium position most years. Expect both to feature here again and battle it out for a spot on the big three table. Rob’s PB here is 28:21 while Kevin has finished on the podium a few times as well, his best being 28:28 – two very evenly matched athletes. EDIT: Rob is apparently a DNS now 🙁
Kieran O’Brien, a younster (at the age of 30!), is a Queensland runner to keep an eye on. He’s won everything he’s started north of the border this year, including a 20:14 hundred mile win at Glasshouse this year.
Another guy floating around that sort of timeframe is Rohan Day, former race director at the Rollercoaster run and a pretty handy runner too. He grabbed a second place this year at the You Yangs hundred miler in 20:21, while also keep an eye on Stephen Redfern, who won the Hume and Hovell 100 miler in 22:58.
Finally, Jason Weston from NSW is the last one to watch here. He has a sub 24hr Western States to his name and a 24:57 Leadville 100 miler too. Clearly, he is OK with the tough stuff, given Leadville is raced at altitude and the furnace that can be WSER100 too. Should have the stamina to challenge for a top five spot.
In the ladies, there are 11 starters from the 49 entered.
Chantelle Farrelly has to be one of the favourites, certainly a lady on the up and up as far as performances go. She was fourth at a very competitive GNW100 miler in 25:49. She ran sixth at C2K last year in 36:36, but she’s a far better runner this year than that time now. Expect her to be running low 30s, which based on the last few years running and no Jess Baker, could potentially win her the race.
After a quiet few years, Sharon Sholtz is back at C2K, where in the past she’s finished on the podium regularly and was a former winner of the race back in 2010 in a time of 32:14.
2016 has seen Sharon make a bit of a resurgence in the track racing, winning both the Sydney and Coburg 24hr events. One thing about Sharon is that she’s highly consistent, so you pretty much know what you’re going to get from her, expect her to be near that podium once again.
Another lady making her return to this race after a few years absence is Pam Muston, a former winner like Sharon, back in 2009 in a time of 32:31, as well as a couple of second-placings too. It’s been four years since Pam last finished C2K, but she’s already had four wins this year, so again expect her to be challenging.
Blue Mountains runner, Susan Keith is our last pick from the ladies and is back for her second consecutive C2K, having finished fifth here last year. Normally one for the rougher, technical stuff Susan has won the Wilson Prom 100km this year, as well as second at the 64km Razorback run. She’ll certainly look to better her time from last year by a few hours too.
All the best to runners and crew this weekend.
Feature Image: Paul Every, C2K race director