The coming weeks will see a plethora of racing in Australia and we kick off with what I regard as the ‘classic Aussie bush race’ the Great North Walk Ultras. Renamed to account for a couple of new races added to the list, namely a 50km and 50 miler, there are also the traditional 100km and 100 mile distance to consider as well.
The September start for this race also means we no longer see the oven like conditions when the race was held in November – man alive was it a ‘toughie’ back then. Conditions on Saturday look absolute perfect for some fast racing, so without further ado, let’s crack into the main contenders across each of the four events. today we’re going to focus on the 100 miler contenders and bring you the rest of the race previews tomorrow.
The Big Dance – 100 miler
Oh boy is this a complete bastard of a run. I was describing this to someone the other day and the GNW 100 miler is a funny one. There are good stretches of ‘easier’ running in this one, but every few kilometres, the course throws you off into some hard ass, technical bush running, which when you’re well into the 100kms or so, you think “my God, will this never end”. I jest, it’s a stunner of a course, but I feel that because you’re so much in the dense bush, there’s a real sense of being enclosed. So who’s the pick of the names for the big title?
Here’s the pick of the ladies:
Melissa Robertson is the female course record holder for the 100km distance at GNW. She knocked off a couple of hardcore milers last year too in the form of Hume and Hovell, as well as the Feral Pig miler over in WA, both of which she won. She likely starts as clear favourite to win the ladies title.
Nicole Burke returns here after her third place in last year’s race. Expect her to be shaving a few hours off her 29hr finish and another place on the podium.
Rochelle Tregear also looks like she will challenge for the podium having finished third in the GNW 100km last year.
Simone Hayes warmed up for this one with a win at the inaugural Elephant trail race 100km event.
Liz Douglas recently came fifth at the inaugural Brisbane Valley Rail Trail 100 miler. She also has a good record at the Surf Coast 50km where she’s finished in or around the top ten a couple of times.
In the mens’s race:
Joe Ward probably knows this track better than anyone in the race. I believe he’s run the entire 250kms of the GNW three times, which includes a reverse traverse too. He’s posted some pretty nifty times over the years and finished the miler four times with three podiums and a PB of 21:57.
Wayne Calvert has been training up a storm over the last ten weeks with a very consistent block of training. He finished third here in the 100km event last year. Expect good things from Wayne in what will be his first miler.
Gavin Markey is a former winner of this race back in 2013, expect him to be there or thereabouts.
Levi Martin is another who knows the depths of this course like no one else. Back in 2011 he smashed a 22:44 in the miler to finish in third place.
Simon Lauer ran 24:50 in the miler last year and this year has strung together some solid results already, including a second place at the Narrabeen Allnighter.
John Cannell from Tassie looks a good bet for a top five finish based on results from this year where he’s gone fourth at the Gone Nuts 100km and fifth at Cradle Mountain.
Craig Robinson finished second at the Elephant Trail Race 100km, as well as putting in a good 13hr finish at the GNW 100km last year.
100km, 50 mile and 50km preview coming tomorrow!