This weekend we have two very different types of races on offer. Down in our nation’s capital, the Canberra 48hr race kicks off tomorrow (preview coming very soon), but for now we stick to the montanes of the South Island over in New Zealand, the Northburn 100s. This was the scene of my first ‘miler’ finish back in 2011 and for anyone even remotely considering a tough mountainous miler, this one should be on your list. It’s also one of only two races down this neck of the woods (the other being Alpine 100 miler) that act as a qualifier for the Hardrock 100.
In the ladies there are a number of names in with a shout for the win. That includes the track legend that is Kim Allan who knows how to stick races out for days and days quite literally. Last year she ran second at the Self-Transcendence 6 Day Race in New York, running 585kms in the process. In 2014 she also clocked a top 10 placing at Spartathlon, notorious for its tough initial cut-offs which force runners to go out hard. She finished in a very credible 33hrs there.
Another name to watch is Tania Miller (not 100% sure if she’s starting yet), who finished second here in this race last year. She was a bit of an unknown back then, but my trusty on the ground spies (aka the man aiming to become the 3rd fastest ‘Hardrocker’ from Dunedin), let the cat out of the bag and now she’s under the watchful eye of the form guide. Expect another solid performance from Tania, who if the weather conditions are good, should go sub 27hrs.
Caeley Thacker is another one to keep an eye on after her sixth place here last year too, along with Marie Ford who came third at Northburn in the 50km race back in 2011. Sue Brooks could be another contender, although likes a few ladies int he field, has not raced for a few years, but back in 2016 came third in the Salt Flats 100 miler. Also keep an eye on Vicki Woolley, who came fifth last year in the Wellington Urban Ultra 2K.
For the men, the field is probably equally as wide open with about names on the list, who depending upon their day could all equally podium. A couple of standouts could include three guys from either side of the Tasman.
First up is Kieran O’Brien who enters this race with a fine pedigree of running behind him. He’s reigned supreme at the Glasshouse 100 miler for the last two years on the trot on the new, modified course up there, running a time of mid 18hrs last year. He’s also run in second place at C2K back in 2016 as well. My money is on Kieran to take out the win here.
Battling him will be local lad, Glen Sutton who’s started every single Northburn 100 miler since it’s inception back in 2011, winning the race in 2012. Glen’s as solid as can be and you know he’s going to run in the 25-26hr region come wind, rain or shine. Another solid performer over the tough stuff is Adam Keen. He was fourth at the Ultras Easy a few months ago and then second at the Great Naseby Water Race 100 miler last year too.
Other guys to watch out for include:
- Matt Cutter – 4th Great Naseby Water Race 100km (2017)
- Ian Evans – 2nd Ultra Easy 100km (2018)
- Matthew Jessup – 6th GSER50km (2017), 11th Hounslow Classic (2017)
- Tim Lyndon – 6th GNW 2016, 12th C2K (2016)
- Andrew McDowall – 8th GSER100, 17th Tarawera (2017), 3rd Northburn (2016)
- Andy Millard – 5th Ultra Easy (2018)
- Kieran O’Brien – 1st Glasshouse 100 miler (2017), 2nd C2K (2016), 1st Glasshouse 100 miler (2016)
- Richard Pinckney – 1st Northburn 100km (2016)
- Glen Sutton – 6th Northburn 100 miler (2017), 1st Northburn 100 miler (2012) 8th time racing.
- Robert Woolley – 11.5hrs at UTA (2017)
In the 100km race, watch out for Shannon-Leigh Walker in the ladies and Melbourne-based Thierry Lamarque.