Held on what is a very popular cycling and walking route, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail now has its own ultra and this inaugural 100 miler is billing itself as the fastest miler in Australia, and with just under 2000 metres of elevation across the whole thing. With three events, the 100 miler, 50 miler and 50km, there’s a healthy dose of entries and talent lining up to take out the win. Here’s our pick for the winners/podiums.
Ladies 100 miles
Beginning with the ladies miler and a Queensland/Kiwi legend, Deb Nicholl looks a good bet to win the inaugural ladies title. She warmed up for this one with a win at another event that saw the light of day this year, the Margaret River Ultra (80km), which is knocked off in a speedy 8:39. In 2017, she also won the long course, Run Larapinta stage race, as well as second at the Washpool Heritage Trail (50km). Deb, who is equally a home across most terrains, is strong over the faster flatter stuff and lest we forget her phenomenal performance back in 2013 where at the Caboolture 24hr race, she knocked over a massive 239kms, which earned her the third best performance from a woman globally over a 24hr timed race.
On her heels will be a number of talented ladies, including the likes of Jane Ruston, who has this year, grabbed fourth at the Caboolture 6hr race, along with fourth too at the Ned Kelly 100km and fifth at the Glasshouse 52km Hares and Hounds trail race in 2017. Also in the mix will be Janet Smith, who finished seventh at the Margaret River Ultra this year as well as first at the Wild Horse Criterium (55km).
Men’s 100 miles
In the men’s miler Cam Munro is probably our pick of the bunch and when he’s trained up, he’s more than likely going to grab the win. Last year he finished fifth at Blackall and back in 2014 he smashed out a 17hr Glasshouse 100 miler, taking the win.
Giving Cam a run for his money will be the likes of Ben Dennien, who has a string of good results in the local Queensland ultra scene. This includes a second place at the Glasshouse 100 miler back in 2016, as well as another second at the Caboolture 12hr race, also in the same year. Ben’s already clocked one miler this year, the inaugural Tarawera 100 mile race, where he finished in 17th.
A couple of potential dark horses for this race include Jimmy Morrison, very little in terms of form for a few years and only over the 50km distance, but gaining first place in both races. Also watch out for Greg Ponych. At just shy of 52 years young, he took the win at the Caboolture 50km, as well as second at the South Australian 100km track championships. Finally, Oliver Armstrong in what is only his second ultra is a man to watch according to my spies, having won a 12hr race in his first ultra.
In the ladies race, Mallani Maloney looks good for the win here. She finished fourth at the recent Margaret River ultra, as well as fourth at the Lumberjack ultra this year too. In the men’s race we’re going to plump for Andrew Churchman for the win. This follows a top 20 place at the UTA 50 this year as well as winning the Wild Horse Criterium last year too.
In the ladies 50km our pick for the win is Alana Vought who secured seventh at the Surf Coast Century last year. While Christopher Knowles looks strong for a win in the mens race having secured third at the Brisbane track ultra in 2017, as well as fifth in the Coburg 24hr track ultra 2015.
Best of luck to all those racing this new event this coming weekend.