A little late, but better than never. At least I’ve got the excuse of trying to recover from my own 100 miler as the reason for not quite getting round to a recap of events this weekend just gone.
We’ll begin with the race I was in (for purely selfish reasons), and that’s the Great North Walk Ultras. With a new 50km and 50miler events on the race card, nearly 300 people left the Teralba Sports Ground at 6am. Some with the sights of the Conegwai valley in mind, others like myself, focused on the beach at Patonga.
With these new races, it was inevitable that the opening pace would be harder than usual. With the likes of Tim Locke in the men’s 100km gunning for a new course record, along with double Six Foot champ, Vlad Shatrov in the 50km, there was always a danger that many in the longer races would get dragged out with them.
Early on, that certainly seemed to be the case, but the unusually cool conditions meant racing was going to be good. In the end however, the overall times were consistent with previous years, so while the lack of heat does make a difference, some of the near freezing conditions elsewhere on the course, certainly made it challenging from a different perspective.
In the ladies 100 miler, Nicole Burke ran a superbly timed race to finish in 26hrs 17mins, besting her time from last year by nearly three hours. We said in the preview she was one to watch and that she would likely take off a good few hours from last year, and by heck did she deliver. In second place was a brilliant run from Natacha Tan in 27hrs 47mins and third was local favourite and perennial GNW competitor, Kirrily Dear, finishing in 29hrs 38mins.
In the men’s miler, it was the time of Joe Ward. Many times a podium placer and with one of the fastest ever second place times (the year Brendan Davies almost flew around the course!). He finished in 23hrs 6mins after some epic battling with Wayne Calvert, who took it out hard. Second place went to another local boy in Mark Hope, who ran a time of 24hrs 46mins, with Sydney man, Simon Lauer just 40 seconds or so behind him in third in 24hrs 47mins.
In the 100km race, Tim Locke made it know he was shooting for Clarke McClymont’s 100km record, but was always just those few minutes off the pace, eventually finishing in a hugely credible time of 10hrs 5mins. In the ladies 100km, there was really only ever one outcome and that was Julie Quinn, knocking off the distance in 13hrs 12mins. Second place for the ladies was Julie Brock, finishing in 15hrs 52mins and Alicia Ralph third in 16hrs 12mins.
Rounding out the men’s podium was Jason Stafford in a time of 10hrs 59mins, with Geoffrey Isbister third in 11hrs 53mins.
In the 50km, Vlad Shatrov smashed in it in a time of 4hrs 28mins, while Ingrid Cleland won the ladies race in 5hrs 41mins. Sarah Knights was second for the ladies in a time of 6hrs 26mins, while Hayley Blease was third in 6hrs 45mins. In the men’s, Adam Clarke was second in 4hrs 58mins, while Andrew Lennon was third in 5hrs 6mins.
Finally in the 50miler, Katy Anderson continued her fine form with a win in the ladies race in 11hrs 27mins, while Josh Hockley won the mens in 8hrs 49mins.
Rounding out the ladies podium was Kerry Hope for second in 12hrs 15mins and Kelly Healey third in 13hrs 12mins. On the men’s podiumBenn Coubrough in 9hrs 24mins and Peter Sweeny in third in 9hrs 40mins.
Up in Queenland, Australia’s oldest 100 miler took place on the same day at GNW. In the ladies miler, Suzanne Chatterton won in a time of 25hrs 20mins, while Rob Mason won the men’s race in 20hrs 22mins.
In the 100km event, Marita Eisler won the ladies in a time of 13hrs 36mins while Noelis Rheault won the men’s race in 12hrs 23mins.
In the 50kms event, Connie Stevenson won in 4hrs 53mins, while in the mens race, Daniel Williams was just a minute in front to win in 4hrs 52mins.
The best of the rest
Special mention also to any Aussies / Kiwis abroad right now, racing in some epic adventure. I know we had representatives at the Tahoe 200, Tor des Geants and probably a few others as well. And while I know the names of some, I don’t know them all, so it wouldn’t be fair to call out the few I do know. However, feel free to give your friends a shout in the comments section on our Facebook page.