This weekend sees one of the most scenic races on the running calendar taking place, the Great Ocean Walk 100km. Having run this one a few times, I can attest to how wonderful a race it is. I would encourage you to get on down there if you haven’t already. Andy Hewat set this one up around 10 years ago I believe and if you know Andy, he is literally part of the backbone of Aussie ultra running. Not just with his race directing, but his own running exploits too.
Without further ado, here’s a run down of the ladies and mens contenders for this weekend. In the ladies Great Ocean Walk 100km:
Lucy Bartholomew: The global-trotting Lucy returns to Australia after a whirlwind summer in the Northern Hemisphere. She managed to get third place in some random race called Western States (apparently it’s quite big). She’s pretty much won everything else she’s raced this year. However, I have a feeling that with her Dad’s name on the starter’s list, Lucy is running this one with him. A wonderful thing to share a race with family.
Jo Brischetto: Great Ocean appears to be a favourite of Jo’s, who has raced here a few times now, winning in 2015 and getting third place in 2013. If on form, Jo is a sure-fire contender for the podium.
Kathy Macmillan: Another huge year for Kathy, you wonder sometimes how she does it and if there’s any gas left in the tank?!?! The highlight of course this year was the excellent 16th place at Western States. Post that run she grabbed the win at the Surf Coast Wonderfalls Trail Run, along with fourth place at Australia’s toughest ultra, The Hounslow Classic.
Bec Howe: Fifth at the Berry Long run this year, as well as third place in this race last year, along with a sixth place at the Surf Coast Century 50km in 2017 too.
Lucy Carter: Races sporadically, but produces the goods when she does. Third at the Mount Buller Skyrun this year, fourth at Bogong to Hotham in 2016 and fourth in this race in 2015.
Sarah Ludowici: Could surprise a few here given her very solid record, which includes second place at the Blackall 50km last year, as well as second at the Gold Coast 50km in 2016 too. Managed a top 20 at UTA this year as well.
In the men’s Great Ocean Walk 100km, there’s a fair few on the contender list, so here’s a brief run down of who’s likely to podium.
Sam Maffett: The other race director on the Surf Coast, Sam is a pretty solid runner in his own right. Perhaps the highlight so far being a top 20 place at UTA in 2015. The year before in 2014, Sam grabbed second place in this race.
Malcolm Gamble: A man for the track, but equally at home on the trail too. Malcolm’s had four wins this year, which includes both that mix of trail and track. He won the You Yangs 100 miler, along with the Coburg 12hr, the Canberra 12hr and the New Year’s Eve Rock around the clock 6hr race too. Podium potential for sure given recent form.
Simon Neale: Grabbed at recent podium at the Berry Long run a few months back. He also finished first male at the Surf Coast Century 50km last year too. Always a solid performer and a top five candidate for sure.
Damian Smith: The man from NSW who loves to race this one. He’s one of the select few to have completed the 100 miler here (when there was one – and it was actually 190km). One of the nicest guys on the circuit, and always a consistent performer at the Great Ocean Walk. The highlight this year was probably a seventh place finish at the stupidly tough Mount Rinjani 100km in Lombok. He finished in 32hrs and some change. Yes, 32hrs for 100km… certainly a contender for one of the toughest ultras in the world.
Dan Beard: Mr. Ultra Victoria. Dan has run this race every single year since 2010, never finishing lower than sixth, including the odd podium. My guess is that record will continue for 2018 too. Won the Wilson’s Prom 100km in May this year, along with a third place at the Razorback 64km this year too.
Ben Clark: Has secured a couple of podiums already this year, including the You Yangs 100km and the Mount Buller 50km Skyrun. A very solid performer who’s always there or thereabouts for a top five placing.
Nick Montgomery: Ran a very impressive GSER 50 miler last year to take the win. While this year was second at Duncan’s Run 50km, along with another win at the Maroondah Dam 50km. If he gets it together for this one, he could be in with a shout for the win.
Tim Kacprzak: Appears to be a big fan of the You Yangs 100 miler. He came second there last year and won it the year before. A bit of a dark horse for this one.
Watch out for Blake Hose and Dave Byrne in the pairs 100km. So much gas between them, the trail is likely to light up.
Best of luck to everyone running this weekend may your mandatory gear stay dry and your smiles merry.
(Feature Image Credit – Simon McSweeney Images)