A guide to choosing and racing your next Aussie 100km – Part One

While UTA is just but a matter of weeks away, the usual email reminders have been flowing my way about a number of other 100km (and 100 miler) events where entries have opened or will be open soon. So with that, I thought I’d pick out some of the those on the radar in this first part of the article, and then tomorrow in the second part, offer some practical hints and tips about how to go about getting yourself in 100km shape.

We are blessed in Australia with a large number of races to choose from, but I thought I’d pick out some of my personal favourites, most of which I’ve raced personally, or I’ve had first-hand reports back that they absolutely rock!

Wild Goose Chase 100km – 22nd May

The Wild Goose Chase Running Festival in the Avon Valley, Western Australia is a new event for 2017 and is part of the Ultra Series WA trail series.

The races are on a combination of 5 different loops with the 106km and 53km run on the 37km and 16km loops, the hill climb on its own loop (twice), the 45km and half run on a 22.5km loop and the kid’s race on a 1.67km loop.

Gold Coast 100 super marathon – 11th June

If you’re looking for a fast flat road course to get that 100km PB in, or you want to keep the hills firmly off the radar, then you can do no better than this road course held up on the Gold Coast on June 11th.

The run course is flat and traffic free with aid stations are located every 2.0+ km, while the event is also a qualifier for the World championships too. There’s also a number of smaller distances too.

Centennial Park Ultra – 6th August

Like the Gold Coast 100, this is another fast flat course, but this time on the dirt grounds of Centennial Park, Sydney. The course is a 3.54km lap around the white fence of Centennial Parklands, with a mild descent in the first 1.64km and a very gentle climb as you approach the race start/lap/finish line. There’s also a 50km option for those not feeling the 100km love.

The Tan Ultra – 27th August

It seems to be that time of year for the fast track 100kms as The Tan Ultra takes place on August 27th  on the TAN walking and running track around the Melbourne botanic gardens.  This beautiful part of garden city is a great place for spectators to enjoy watching the race around the 3.8km loop. Like the ones above, there are numerous smaller distances to try too.

As the weather begins to warm up slightly in September, we have three trail 100km races to tempt you. The only downer is that all three take place on the same day, 9th September. If I’m honest, this is a real shame as having raced all three, I can tell you they all offer something great and unique, and it often means people stay within their own state to race. If you’re feeling keen, get out and try something new.

The Glasshouse 100 – September 9th

Although on trail, this one is pretty fast and flat with only 2,000m of climbing across the 100km course. There’s also a 100 miler and 50k option too. The race is held on predominantly fire trails and it does get pretty toasty up there in Queensland, even in early September. Glasshouse was my first ever 100km back in 2008 – I left a lot of emotion out on those tracks.

The Glasshouse Mountains – I finished my first ultra here

Surf Coast Century – September 9th

Another fast, flat track is the Surf Coast Century. This incredible race takes runners on an extraordinary journey below towering sea cliffs, along remote beaches and through the captivating wildflower hinterland on twisting single track where no two footsteps are the same.

As well as attracting many of Australia’s best runners, the Surf Coast Century also has a great reputation as the ideal event for those tackling their first ultra marathon due to the accessible course, terrific support services, easy logistics and the incredible energy around the course generated by all the supporters, other runners and event officials.

The Great North Walk 100 – September 9th

This is another favourite of mine, having started five times both in the miler and the 100km. The race is organized by the Terrigal Trotters running club, starting back in 2005 and are two simultaneous trail races, a 100 Mile and a 100 Kilometre, along The Great North Walk south from Teralba on Lake Macquarie.  The 100 Kilometre race will finish at Yarramalong in the scenic Yarramalong Valley and the 100 Mile at Patonga on spectacular Broken Bay.

Although the route is primarily on foot tracks and fire-trails, it does include some minor back roads.  There is more than 6,200 metres (20,000ft) of ascent (and descent) in the 100 Mile and 3,800 metres (12,500ft) of ascent in the 100 Kilometre.

Next up are a few other races you might want to consider later in the year.

The Great Ocean Walk 100 – 14th October

This is a real personal favourite of mine. I can safely say that I think this is the most scenic 100km you’ll ever do where it’s quite possible to run through four seasons in one day. You’ll also get to see quite a bit of wild life too, even a killer koala as I saw one year that chased me back down the trail at around 60kms in! Mostly on single track, you run in and out of the cliff faces along the south coast, finishing at the Twelve Apostles. Simply stunning. Get in quick though as entries are almost full!

Hume and Hovell 100 – 14th October

This race has a lot of history with Ultra168 as some of our founding members ran the entire length of the track a number of years ago and still hold the FKT for it today. The event uses The Hume & Hovell Walking Track, constructed as a Bicentennial Project in 1988. The walking track follows as closely as possible the historic route taken by Explorers Hume & Hovell on their 1824 expedition to Port Phillip Bay. It starts at Cooma Cottage near Yass and finishes at the Hovell Tree in Albury, some 440 km in length. This is a great, low key community style event that while accessible to first timers, will also push you a little too.

Blackall 100 – 21 October

If you like it hot and sweaty, then head on up to Queensland in October for this one, which is now only one of two qualifiers for Western States 100. It’s great that we have another race as a qualifier for the icon run over in the US, making it far more accessible for everyone else on Australia by not having just one race dominate that.

This is the first ever trail race to be held on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, hosted at the QCCC Mapleton (Queensland Conference and Camping Centre). One of the special features of the race, are the amazing volunteers at our Checkpoints. The volunteers are the backbone of the race. They ensure that all of the competitors are fed, watered and looked after. Other highlights include spectacular views and pristine rainforest.

The Blackall 100

The Ned Kelly Chase – 22nd October

If you’re looking for another fast 100km, then the The Ned Kelly Chase in Wangaratta, Victoria is probably right up your street. The organisers reckon its the fastest sealed, flat, AIMS / IAAF event in the country.  Usually no wind at that time of year, very moderate temperatures and virtually no traffic – foot or vehicle.  The course is also well shaded too, making for some quick times.

Alpine Challenge 100 – 25th November

Another 100km that’s been around for many years, this is certainly one for the tough nuts out there. Held over the ruggered and stunning Victorian Alps, there’s also a 100 miler and number other shorter distances and team events. he 100 mile (160 km) course takes in 6 major climbs with 7,600 m of ascent and descent including Mt Feathertop, Mt Hotham, Mt McKay, Spion Kopje, Mt Nelse and Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong plus five river crossings. The 100 km involves over 4,000 m of ascent and descent and the 60 km course over 2,000 m of ascent and descent.

There you have a massive selection of awesome races on your radar for later in the year. Look out tomorrow for some hints and tips about how to choose, train and prepare for your 100km.



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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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