In less than a week, early Thursday morning, I will be flying over to Sydney, meeting up with 3 lads from Auckland to bum a ride to the Blue Mountains and then meeting up with my “team” (I should say THE TEAM) for TNf100km trail race. From Thursday- Sunday I am going to be hanging out with trail ultra running rock stars- Anna Frost, Ryan Sandes, Devon Crosby-Helms, Kilian Jornet, Jen Segger, Julia Bottger, François D’Haene, Adam Chase and many others! And then there will be me, I am sure feeling a little over whelmed in such an environment, surrounded with some truly world class athletes.
This of course is not a chance meeting of such class, this is the Salomon International running team who have gather in Australia, no doubt with plans of blitzing another TNF event like they did in San Fran late last year when Anna and Miguel won TNF50 mile championship race.
Now you are no doubt asking (like I do at times!) “what the hell is Grant doing rolling with this crowd?!”. I guess hard work and a lot of luck come into my inclusion to the Salomon team for this event. I have been sponsored by Salomon NZ for about 1 year now and have used their shoes/packs for about 2years (about as long as I have been “seriously” running again since my teens), as well as being sponsored by Julbo sun glasses, which Salomon NZ also import, for about 3 years. So I have had a relationship with the brand for a while. Then about 1 week before the Tarawera Ultra in March I had a big chat to Anna Frost who has been organizing the Salomon Teams trip to TNF100. I asked if there was room for one more on the team and if they would like to have a Salomon runner form NZ join them- this is pre TuM, so Anna and I agreed to wait and see how my 1st 100k when before I entered another one. I was really happy with the TuM result, so the Monday after that I was on the phone to Anna, and she and the powers that bee agreed to have me along! I guess that was the hard work, the lucky part was they had room, partly as other team members had pulled out.
So it is pretty exciting to say the least! As well as the studs on the Salomon team, there are gonna be a heap of other top runners on the start line- Andrew Lee the 2x winner and record holder and Frenchman Sebastian Chaigneau, who was 2nd to Kilian at the UTMB the year Kilain set the record.
I am not real sure what to expect from the race or my self. It is hard, as I really no very little about t eh course or my competition. Yes, they are fast, real fast, but how much faster than I is the question. It will be hard as I sat down after the Kepler and more or less made a race plan for the summer, TNF100 was not in that plan. It was in the back of my mind sine maybe Feb, but I wasn’t giving it a lot of time until I had talked with Anna and then after TuM. The body bounced back OK after TuM, it was work that real took its toil on my legs. My hip is 100% now, so thats great after having that hold me back from November to April. It has been replaced with some knee pain, but it is total manageable and will not be a issue. I have done very very little in the last few weeks after Easter and are feeling good post Routeburn.
Next week I might even do a little prediction post, a real one again of I do, I think this crowd can handle it 😉 Also hope to get a few updates while I am over in Aust, either via this blog, or Face Book, we will see.
And I don’t think it is to early to say thanks to Salomon for having me along, and to Simon, Mel and Hamish- that ride to the start is gonna be vital! Thanks guys.