Before we get into the big report of the GSER100, a mention to Victorian Blake Hose, who this past weekend was mixing it with the US creme de la creme of trucker cap-donning, leading ultra trail runners over in San Francisco at the TNF 50 Championships – one of the biggest ‘shorter-distance’ ultras in the States. Putting in some hefty and rather quick sessions on Strava, Blake lined up with the best of them and it was great to see him back in awesome shape and highly competitive in this one.
Blake claimed seventh place (6:37:53) in a highly stacked field that saw Tim Freriks take out the win in a time of 6:02:26, Zach Miller was second in 6:15:23 and Hayden Hawks third in 6:20:39. In the ladies race, Ida Nilsson won for the second year in a row in 7:07:56, with Clare Gallagher second in 7:12:05 and Megan Kimmel third in 7:19:27.
The inaugural running of the Great Southern Endurance Run (GSER100) also ran this weekend and it certainly lived up to its expectations of being one of the toughest 100 milers out there. On paper, 10,000m of vertical and a similar amount of descent (11,000m) doesn’t sounds overly challenging compared to a number of other runs of similar vertical gain. But man, the terrain underfoot was on another level at times.
The first taste we got of what I now call ‘single no track’ was on the descent to the first checkpoint at Gardiner’s Hut. One minute you’re following it, the next the trail simply disappears before your eyes, playing hide and seek with you while you desperately pull out your Avenza maps to see if you’re still on course. And this carried on and on for vast quantities of the entire race, particularly through the section that I know everyone looked forward to running, purely for the namesake. The track across from Mount Howitt, saw runners traverse through ‘Horrible Gap’ (it was truly a nasty place) and Mount Buggery, where I was quite literally ‘buggered’ sheltering from a thunderstorm passing right over the top of us as we crested its peak. In total, that measly 7kms of ‘running’, took me over 3.5 hours.
I’m not ashamed to say that the race annihilated me. But others made it look easy, although I know it was far from it. The performance of the day belonged to Frenchman, Martin Kern, one of our favourites in the lead up to the race. He ‘ran’ the 181kms in a 29:20, well over fours hours ahead of the next two runners, Stephen Redfern and Tim Locke, who finished joint second in 33:49. To put Martin’s race into perspective, he won the Northburn 100 miler (with very similar elevation and descent) in 21:52. That gives you some sense for how slow-moving the GSER track can be, even with the extra 20 kms GSER has over Northburn.
In the ladies race, Amanda Meggison took the win in 47:05 with Cathy Duffy running a superb second to finish in 49:15. Tamsin Barnes was third in 50:22.
In the 50 miler event, Nick Montgomery on in 12:52 with Katherine MacMillan winning the ladies in 15:04. Also a special mention to team Holiday Hopkins who actually ran the fastest time of the day over the 100 mile course, completing it in 28:15.
Feature Image Credit: David Jones