I have been described as being “wound up like kid in a lollie store” for the upcoming Tarawera Ultra Marathon (TuM), and that really is not to far off the mark. We are now just days away from the TuM and things are really heating up for the front of the pack in the mens 100km event (there are 60, 80 and rely events as well) so it seems like a good time for a little prediction post on the mens field of the TuM. There is all kinds of talk about this race, which has been great to see. Big name runners have been flowing in and more to the point I think there are some lesser knows that will shake things up also, all with a eye on the newly carved Suter Memorial Trophy. There is a little talk around 4 runners in particular and if you can be asked there is a very colorful blow by blow account of how the race might play out on Sportz Hub.
Now, just like in my Kepler Predication post take the following with a grain of salt, try not to get hurt feeling if your name is not listed here and try not to fold under the pressure if it is…….
This is such a tough call on who I think could win this between Sam and Vajin. Could go either way
1-Sam Wreford- 2:19 marathon and 5.03 Kepler- Sam run his Kepler a few years ago over which time he has speed up a lot. From what I have seen, or have not seen in results, he will be coming in with fresh legs and ready to go. Word on the street is Sam is looking for a 2:14 marathon in the hope of making it to London 2012. His upper hand may come in the form of his pacer.
2- Vajin Armstrong- 5:03 Kepler and 2010 winner, 2011 Mototapu Marathon winner- Vajin will be hard to beat come Saturday, with possibly his only weakness being a little tired still after racing (and winning) the Mototapu Marathon this past Saturday. It sounded like a easy win and he does some monster miles, so recovery may not be an issue. If it is, we will find out some were around Tarawera Falls on Saturday afternoon.
3- Hiroki Ishikawa- 5:15 Kepler and winner of US “Grand Slam” of ultras- No doubt Hiroki will have other things on his mind with what is going on in his home land of Japan right now , but come race day I am sure he’ll be very focussed. He has a huge advantage over Sam and Vajin in that he has raced 100km before and this experience will show I am sure. Hiroki recently run a 19hr 100mile at Rocky Raccoon, which is not overly fast for that course, but he would have made him strong.
Others that will be in the mix-
Paul Stables- 7:40ish at 2009 Molesworth. Paul run a very smart and patient race at Molesworth in ’09, if he has put in the work and does the same come Saturday he might up set the “big 4”
Kristian Day- young guy that run just under 7hrs at Kaweka this year. If he is smart and patient in his race plan, look out!
Jo Petersen- 2nd last year at Tarawera, will have undoubtedly improved, but enough to get in the top 3 for a second year?
Darren Blackwell- the forums say he could go close to 9hrs
Chris Noble- some Aussie guy that keeps being talked up?? I know nothing re race results………
My Self- 5:30 Kepler, 3:45 50k at Naseby- I feel like I’v done the work and am really looking forward to spending a day out on some new trails and meeting some new people. Mostly been injury free unlike my Kepler build up.
Possible starter– Blair McWhirter- 1st at 2011 Buller Marathon and 3rd at Avalanche Peak a week later- It will just add to the field even more!
I am not at all up to date with the womans 100k or the 80/60km fields, so sorry, not grand predictions on those. It will be a great race I am sure.
Would love to hear your top 5!