Following our article earlier in the week, today we feature a preview of the runners for the Mirrim Wurnit Back Paddock Ultra. This will be the first preview of its kind here in Australia, differing quite significantly from any other form of preview we’ve written in that for once, athletic ability plays second fiddle to mental toughness. Sure, you’ve got to be fit to run these races, and one would argue that for Mirrim Wurnit, fitness plays a bigger role due to the toughness of the course. But how do you choose potential winners based on something that’s unknown right now?
Mental toughness can vary quite considerably in a person from race to race. My trusty DUV website doesn’t really have much of a role to play in telling me who the form runners are. So, while all 32 runners could likely do with a mention, I’ll do my best to highlight the top contenders for the title. And, with this being just one race, both female and male runners are all mentioned as part of the same race.
One thing I will say, I don’t think this race will stretch (or need to) much beyond 30 hours. (Now there’s a challenge for those competing!)
Mirrim Wurnit featured racers
The standout woman for me is Melissa Robertson. Hailing from the Central Coast, she’s making the trip down to fly the flag for NSW. And, I single her out for her proven ability over tough trail races and her dogged determination to get shit done. Multiple finisher of some tough 100 mile races such as GNW and Hume and Hovell, Melissa also completed the inaugural Delirious WEST 200 miler this year. She’s the type of woman who’ll look anyone in the eye and say ‘Let’s go again for another lap’.
Probably race favourite for me is Kev Muller. There’s not much this guy hasn’t done. There’s the small matter of nearly 100 ultras run, as well as a massive PB of 251kms in Coburg 24hr race earlier this year too. He’s my strong favourite to win this one.
And, then there’s the likes of George Mihalakellis. By his own admission, he’ll likely admit he’s not the fastest guy at all in the field. But speed becomes a background factor in the Backyard Ultra concept. George is as mentally tough as they get. Like Melissa, he’ll keep hammering away like a blunt knife. He warmed up for this event like Melissa with a finish at the Delirious WESt 200 miler, where he was on his feet for 95 hours. This guy knows stubborn and he does it well.
South Australian, David Turnbull brings some strong athletic credentials to the event. A consistent performer at the SA 100km champs, he’s also finished third at Coast2Kosci too.
Victorian, Karen Mickle is also worth keeping an eye on. Last year she won the Tan 100m and Coburg 6hr races.
Stewart Mason has exactly the type of running CV you look for in an event such as this. Completing hard as nails events. His tally include the Moab 240miler, the GSER 100 miler, The Alps2Ocean Ultra in NZ and also the Coastal challenge Expedition run. Gnarly events that take the mind to far gone places.
David Giles is another one of those people with the big event experience. His includes finishing the Delirious WEST, Coast2Kosci, the Bigfoot 200 over in the US. And, winning the Down Under 135 last year too.
Shane Holstein, from over WA way. Another Delirious West finisher, along with a men’s podium at the WTF 100 miler too.
Matthew Piper from NSW is a two-time Down Under 135 finisher, as well as the GSER 100 miler. Probably two of the toughest races in Australia to complete.
Those are just a selection of some of the names who could feature in the latter stages of this event. Like I said, there’s a real mixed bag of what you would regard as the ‘fast’ guys and girls. Mixed with those who simply know how to ‘nut it out’. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out. And, who grabs a golden ticket to Laz’s Big Dog Backyard Ultra over in the US.
Have fun down there at Mirrim Wurnit, I hear the weather’s going to be awesome 🙂