Australia’s Ultra Marathon Week!  


What a weekend of ultra marathons! There was so much going on all weekend in terms of ultras.  It kicked off on Friday morning in Baccus Marsh, Victoria with the 35 hardcore ultra marathoners taking on  fearsome monster that is Down Under 135.  24 hours later and Ultra Trail Australia kicked off its two ultra distance events, the 100km and the 50km with thousands of runners descending onto Katoomba and through the beautiful Blue Mountains.  Over the other side of the country a sentimental favourite ultra had been revived in the form of the Kep Ultra 2.0.  The southern coast of the mainland had the Great Ocean Road Marathon, including the 60km ultra distance option and finally in the iconic Glasshouse Mountains of Queensland there was the running of the Glasshouse 50.  

So with all these ultras of various varieties we knew there would be some great distances and elevation covered for the week.  In total, 54 people from the Hillbilly Endurance Run Crew Strava club ran an ultra distance run this week and to even crack the top 100 in distance you needed to run more than 60km for the week! This is the highest weekly distance cut-off for out top 100 we have ever had.  

At the very top of that list was Margie Hadley.  Margie went big again this week.  Not just big for us normies but big for Margie with a weekly distance total of 214.9km.  I’m never not amazed at the consistently high milage Margie runs.  Margie’s 214.9km included 2,891m of elevation and her average weekly pace was 5:21/km.  Amazing. 

In second place was another gun ultra runner from WA, Michael Hooker.  Michael’s big week finished with a total of 179.8km.  Michael is the current Australian male Ultra Runner of the Year and with this kind of volume we know he’s lining up for a big crack at something else soon.  

Third place on 155.4km was Gold Coast based running coach and leader of the Trail Chix, Jodie Cumner.  

We expected elevation this week to be dominated by those entered into Down Under 135 and it was just a matter of who would be able to survive the longest in the toughest ultra in Australia, made even tougher by the freezing conditions throughout the weekend in country Victoria.  At the top of the leaderboard on 5,821m was the V-Man, Vince Villarosa.  Vince has been building nicely towards DU135 and toed the start line on Friday morning with 34 others.  Vince’s entire 5,821m for the week was during the race and was climbed over a distance of 89.8km.  

In second, just behind Vince was another DU135 entrant, Jeremy Spencer with 5,681m of elevation and third place was John Veugelers with 5,556m.  

Now these three gentlemen entered into a race that you really don’t know whether you will finish or not and that’s before the weather is considered.  If you weren’t following DU135 over the weekend, it went something like this.  35 runners entered after only meeting the tough qualifying requirements, so we know they are all hardcore very good big ultra runners.  Down Under has over 10,000m of elevation and the course changes slightly every year (which means it gets harder).  Over the previous 3 years of running the event it has only been completed a total of 19 times.  There are a handful of multiple finishers and a few of them lined up for the 2021 version as well as some of the previous 1-time finishers.  Even with their experience of having done the event at least once before, none of them finished this year. Of the 35 that entered DU135 only 2 made it to the end.  That is less than a 6% finisher rate.  The fastest the race have ever been completed is 44 hours and 28 minutes.  The two finishers this year were much closer to the 54 hour cut-off time, with both taking well over 50 hours.  So this shows that what many consider to be Australia’s toughest ultra was made so much harder with the conditions the runners experienced.  A tremendous effort by Vince, Jeremy and John to put the effort in that they did over the weekend. 

What an awesome week of running, and congratulations to everyone that had a run or a race regardless of the outcome.  Full top 5 leaderboard can be found on our website https://hillbillyendurance.com.au/pages/hillbilly-endurance-run-crew

Ok we are doing the Epic Run of the Week different this week.  It is simply impossible to pick just one run.  What I will say is that everyone is going to win this week so make sure you read to the end.  

There is no single epic run because there was so many, so I want to recap the efforts of those take took part in the awesome events this past weekend. 

Above we mentioned Down Under 135 and the tremendous efforts of Vince Villarosa, Jeremy Spencer and John Veugelers. Derek Prentice also returned to DU135 as one of the few ultra marathon runners that have actually completed the whole race. These four gents may not have gone home with the coveted finishers plate but their efforts in that terrain in those conditions is remarkable. 

Over in WA, the Kep Ultra 2.0 was run.  The original Kep Ultra was a staple on the Western Australian Ultra scene until logistics and road crossings made it too difficult to run the event.  There was a fair bit of disappointment when it had to end back in 2015.  Thankfully this year it was revived with a modified course including a 100km and a 75km.  Tony Smith took the honours in the 100km while Raquel Rae, Sean Hitchcock and Emma Luscombe all completed the 75km race.  

Leanne Collingwood took on and completed the 60km ultra marathon as part of the Great Ocean Road Marathon event in Victoria.  

Ben Bergan ran the 50 mile option at the Glasshouse 50 and Sandi Faddy completed the 50km race at the same event.  

And then there was Ultra Trail Australia…  Two ultra distance events, the 100km and the 50km.  Now we had a heap of people from this group enter and I’m going to recap the results, I think I’ve found everyone that completed either the 100km or 50km but if I’ve somehow missed you I’m sincerely sorry. 

The 100km, the main event, the biggest, most popular, most contested and most famous 100km race in Australia. What a turnout and some absolutely awesome results.  

Mikey Dimuantes stood on the podium in 3rd place with an incredible run in a time of 10 hours and 9 minutes.  Absolutely phenomenal running. 

Nicholas Bamford finished in 10th place in 10 hours and 48 minutes.  

Both these gentlemen are genuine elite ultra trial runners and it is fantastic to see them achieve such accomplishments in such a big race. 

Shane Johnstone finished just outside the top 10 in 12th position proving he not only sets FKTs but can also hang with the best on the big stage. 

Sheree Barnes had an incredible run to finish in 16th place and got great reward for all that hard training she’s put in. 

Noelis Rheault was well inside the top 50, placing 37th 

These five amazing runners all achieved fantastic results over the weekend and should be super proud.  

Howard McCann, Anthony Gordon and Becc Eagles all finished in the top 100.   For perspective, 1127 runners completed the 100km event.  This doesn’t include those that didn’t quite make it to the end.  So top 100 puts these legends into the top 10%! 

Everyone that stepped up to the start line should be proud of the effort and training it took just to get there.  I know a lot of you entered with personal goals and milestones you wanted to achieve.  For some it was getting the silver buckle for finishing in under 14 hours. All of these champions managed to accomplish that feat. 

Rhys Drummond, Phil F, Sam Mishler and Neil MacNeil.  

Finishers between 14 and 20 hours are awarded a bronze buckle, and the following runners should be very proud to have achieved that on Saturday:

Anthony Crick, Andrew Hauck, Laurence Billing and Stephane Moulin.  And only just outside that 20 hour mark was Isaac Scaysbrook with a really gutsy 100km race. 

Congratulations to all the 100km finishers at UTA.  To those that didn’t quite make it to the end we know you gave it a red hot crack and sometimes the smart decision is to not completely destroy your body andI know some of you had to make that tough call and you’ll most certainly be grateful for that decision as you recover well. 

The other ultra at UTA is of course the 50km, with a heap of you having a crack at that too.  The standout performance as far as racing goes was by Reesha Lewis.  If you follow the Queensland ultra scene at all you will know that Reesha has won pretty much everything she has entered recently and UTA50 was a great chance to test herself against the rest of the country.  Following along on the live tracking you could see the extremely smart race that Reesha put together as she ran through the field in the back end to finish in 4th.  Congratulations Reesha on an amazing race and result. 

There’s a big list of 50km finishers and for some you were chasing a time and others it was the challenge of running your first ever ultra marathon.  Well done to all of the following runners that finished the 50km:

Scott Henry, Alex Paton, Fiona Haddy, Dani OB, Daniel Turhanlar, Simonne Clark, Lois McCulloch, Liz Russell, Chris Hill, Jason Hosking, Rachelle Woolford, Mark Bettington, Ian Stuck, James Blanton and Benny Gronchowski. 

So that’s a wrap on all the amazing ultra running that happened over the weekend.  Thanks for letting me indulge in watching online and doing this little write up.  

Now I did say that there was no Epic Run of the Week, but everyone would be a winner and if you’ve bothered to read this far the I thank you.  

Everyone in the Hillbilly Endurance Run Crew Strava Club and/or Hillbilly Endurance Run Crew Facebook Group with get a 20% off code for use at hillbillyendurance.com.au  

This isn’t just for those mentioned above, it’s for everyone.  All you need to do is use the following code at checkout:

ULTRAHERC20

The code will be valid until the next leaderboard comes out, which will be Monday 24th of May 2021.  

Well done again to everyone and those that raced big races over the weekend enjoy your recovery and make sure you take the time to get your body right before punishing it again! 

 

 

  


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