Apparently there was a race on in the Blue Mountains this weekend? Ahhh don’t worry, there will be no pictures of pre-race kits on the floor, thanking of sponsors or smiley pictures on the trail at 74kms when really you want to just kick the shit out of something. Nope, we’re just giving you the run-down of what happened at the weekend, who won and our take on it all.
We’ll begin with the crown jewel, the UTA 100kms, which after a few years of international competition popping on over for a free holiday courtesy of UTWT, saw a massively Australian dominated favourites list. You can read our preview here, but to be fair to Ultra168 in the most humblest of ways, boy did we nail it! hahahaha – I jest of course 🙂
In the ladies event we had a fabulous battle between the hot favourite, Kellie Emmerson and the dark horse we picked ahead of the race, Jess Carroll. These two ladies went toe-to-toe pretty much all day before they got to the QVH checkpoint, Kellie a minute up on Jess, which from there, she pulled away to win overall by nine minutes. I had quite a few texts during the race from people asking me who Jess was (read the profile!), and there’s no doubting now that she’s a class performer who deserves to be mentioned as right up there with the very best Aussie ladies we have over the 100km distance. Well done both Kellie and Jess on a fabulous race.
Third place in the ladies went to the ever-reliable Amy Lamprecht who ran strongly in the final quarter to overtake Cecily Butler (who had held third for much of the day) to finish in 12:15.
In the men’s race, it was the return of the Blue Mountains prodigal son, Brendan Davies who last won this race back in 2013, breaking the then record held by a certain Kilian Jornet. He ran 9:16 that day and as an indication of just how consistent Brendan is when he’s at the top of his game, he ran 9:18 this weekend to take out the title.
With Brendan, it was very much a four horse race all day. Harry Jones, an exciting Welsh-born, Thailand-living runner was at the head of the field for much of the first half, but with Brendan, Mark Green and Ben Duffus lurking in the background. Jono O’Loughlin was always there or thereabouts too.
But as the race drew to the final stages, it was Brendan out in front with Ben doing his usual plough through the UTA field antics of past races, so much so I think Ben’s new nickname for this race should be ‘Combine Harvester’. As the two approached the sewage works with just 7kms or so to go, there was just 2.5 minutes in it, but Brendan held on to win by just under six minutes in the end, with Ben finishing in 9:24. Harry Jones was third in 9:36.
The ladies 50km race was one of the most stacked in terms of raw talent of any race held that weekend. There was a mouth-watering line up between Six Foot track winner, Steph Auston, Italian Kiwi resident, Cecilia Flori and another speedy marathon-running Kiwi, Victoria Beck. In the end, just ten minutes separated these three with Cecilia coming home the winner in 5 hours dead. Steph was just four minutes behind her in 5:04 and Victoria in third in 5:10.
The men’s race produced what was probably for many a bit of a surprise result with Sam Burridge coming home in first in 4:34, followed by Michael Daly in 4:40 and Ashley Hoffman third in 4:41. Both Sam and Michael are a couple of names to keep an eye on, and with Ashley coming off the back of the win at Bogong to Hotham earlier this year, there’s strength in depth in men’s trail running right now.
UTA 22km recap
Although the shorter format, this race again had a ridiculously stacked field of talent in both the men’s and ladies event, with the course records being smashed in the process. Starting with the ladies, Lucy Bartholomew obliterated the ladies course record by 14 minutes to take out the win in a brilliant 1:49 as she fine tunes ahead of her Western States assault next month. Second, and also under the course record was another young gun, Simone Brick who ran an awesome 1:54 to finish just under five minutes behind Lucy. Jasmin Sargeant finished third in 2:03, just 5 seconds outside of the old course record too.
What makes me particularly happy about that podium is all three ladies are running in the F18-29 bracket. Here we have three absolute gun runners smashing up the trails and doing awesome thing. This should be celebrated and nurtured.
The men’s race was a star-studded affair with two Olympians and a whole host of high-class runners doing battle for the honours. There was a bit of deja-vu about this race with Ben St. Lawrence and Vlad Shatrov going toe-to-toe again, while throw into the mix the skills of Courtney Atkinson too. In the end, it was Ben making amends for his torrid time at 6ft after having to withdraw through injury to completely smash the UTA 22km course record in a time of 1:35. On such a short course, he was to be fair, light years ahead of the pack with Courtney coming in second in 1:43 and Vlad third in 1:44, just holding off Vajin Armstrong by 20 seconds.
Well done to all who raced this weekend, I hope there were may PBs and photos of pizza on Facebook 🙂
Feature Image:Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography