The Great Southern Endurance Run (GSER100) is one of the newest 100 milers to hit the calendar this year in Australia and it threatens to be probably one of the hardest races in the Southern Hemisphere if mumblings from the race director are true.
The GSER100 starts in the ski town of Mount Buller, traversing across some pretty seriously remote Alpine country, before finishing in the township of Bright for a few beers at the brewery. The fact that there’s a time limit of 53 hours on this one shows you just how tough it’s going to be and to be frank, I’m crapping my pants.
So who’s racing the GSER100 and in with a chance? Well, for a first time miler, the numbers are pretty good for this one with well over 150 guys and gals entered and some high quality ones at that too. Due to a few personal time constraints we’ll only be previewing the 100 milers.
Starting with the men and there’s going to be serious competition up front. Coming over from the UK and probably one of the standout favourites for this race is Charlie Sharpe. He’s no stranger to racing in this neck of the woods, having won the Northburn 100 miler a few years back. In preparation for this race, Charlie also ran and won the run around Lake Taranaki 100 miler in a course record time, just over a week ago in 14hrs 55 mins. And this isn’t even his 100 mile PB, which stands at 13hrs 58mins – still a good hour or so slower than Camille Herron though 🙂
Charlie’s a bit of a serial racer, but seems to have the recovery powers of a superhero. Despite running a miler nine days ago, Charlie will be in tip top shape for this and starts as one of the strong favourites.
Hot on his heels will be two New Zealand residents, Danny Garrett and Frenchman, Martin Kern. These two are no strangers to each other having raced against one another time and time again over the last 18 months or so – and both being highly evenly matched too. Danny has probably just about edged Martin in the races they’ve been pitted against one another. Both will be raring to go against Charlie and looking at their times on similar runs, if they all race to their potential, there could be as little as 15-30 minutes between them, which over 100 miles means it will be close.
Behind our international stars will be a few Aussies hoping to upset the applecart. Top of the lists for me, looking at the entrants are Stephen Rennick and Tim Locke. Stephen, like myself raced the Blackall 100 a few weeks back, the difference being that Stephen is a very good runner and I’m a little bit average. Clocking just over 10 hours for the 100kms or so, Stephen has good gas in the legs and with a nice long 100km training run in the bank, he could find himself challenging for the lead too.
Tim Locke doesn’t race ultras much, but when he does, he pulls it out of the bag. His biggest performance to date was probably the win at the Great North Walk 100 miler last year, which he took out in a time of 21hrs 26mins.
Another Aussie on the list threatening the top dogs will be Stephen Redfern. He’s had a barnstorming year, which started with a win at the Narrabeen Allnighter, then another at the Sri Chinmoy 24hr track race, followed by another at the Hume and Hovell 100 miler just last month in a new course record time of 18hrs 42mins.
WA ultra runner Ben Harris could also be in with a shout having won the WTF 50 miler this year as well as winning the 100 miler back in 2015 and then third at the same race last year too.
Great also to see Tim Cochrane lining up. He was 2nd at the Alpine Challenge 100 miler 2016; 2nd Hume and Hovell 100km 2016.
The ladies field is not as deep (in terms of numbers) as the mens unfortunately, which is a shame, not just for this race, but for milers in general in Australia. As the distances increase, the number of women participating goes down. We won’t get into that here and now, but regardless there’s still some quality ladies entered into the race and we’ve picked out some we think who’ll be fighting for the top spots.
Delina Rahmate, based up in Northern New South Wales has had a very consistent couple of years which saw her podium at the Buffalo Stampede ultra earlier this year as well as a win at the Washpool 50km last year, along with 13th at UTA and 12th at Tarawera in 2016 too. And she’s no stranger to the tough stuff either, having won the Alpine Challenge 100km back in 2015.
Victorian Isobel Ross is no stranger to the Alpine region with plenty of experience in these mountains. She was fifth at the Buffalo Stampede ultra earlier this year a well as having won the Brisbane 24hr track ultra and second place at the Canberra 12hr track race too. Last year she was second at the Alpine challenge 100 miler. Plenty of mountain and ultra pedigree in Isobel and she will feature strongly in this race too.
Another Victorian lass to keep an eye on is Karina Taylor. Earlier this year she was fifth at the Mount Buller Skyrun as well as second place at the Wilson Prom 100km. Last year she was second at the Walhalla Wound-up trail race, along with seventh at the Great Ocean Walk 100km.
Other ladies to look out for in the GSER100:
- Kit Salah: 6th Hounslow Classic ultra 2016
- Amanda Meggison: 5th Yurrebilla Trail 56km Ultra 2017, 7th Surf Coast Century 100 km
All the best to everyone racing out there, starting on Friday at 5am. See you down there.