A relatively short preview this time, as the depth in the field looks to point to some very clear front runners. However, as always there are likely to be a lot of dark horses I have missed - capable of sweeping up the pieces if things go awry for the stand out runners.
I've also added a legends section for the first time. I intend to focus on just one stand out person in the field of each event who qualifies for legend status. This time it goes to someone we haven't seen in a while....
Craig Holgate: It would be unfair on the competition to write everyone else off but with respect to the rest of the field this looks set to be a one man time trial against the course. Craig is still the incumbent TP100 record holder, with a 15:11 in his first ever 100 miler back in 2012. Since then he's gone on to represent Team GB on the trail and at 100km numourous times, clocking an incredible set of performances at that distance, bringing his PB down to 6:53 at the World Champs last year. Craig's list of accolades is simply too long to recount here. But this is not the same runner we saw in 2012. Back then he was still something of a rookie at the ultra game. He now has a great number of ultra distance races under his belt including things like 5 straight Thames Trot victories & 2 NDW50 wins including the course record. Craig is a part of our Ultra Team and has been an inspiration to all of us as he churns out an absolutely incredible level of volume, whilst handling a big commute from Ely to London every day and being a great family man to his wife Abbie and two girls at home. If the course is in good condition I fully expect him to better our all time 100 mile record, Mark Perkins' 14:03 at the SDW100, and truth be told he is capable of running close to or under 13 hours on this course. Which would put him in the GB All Time list at the distance and even higher on trail. Fingers crossed we get to witness something truly special on race day.
Craig on his way to breaking his own Record at the 2015 NDW50
Terrence Zengerink: Terrence has 8 consecutive Comrades finishes to his name, and a handful of 100 milers too. With a PB of 19:36 for 5th at the TP100 in 2013 in atrocious conditions, he should go many hours faster than that this time. Many may remember him too as the man that won the 2013 Piece of String with an epic 130 mile finish never knowing when or where that finish would come. He is one tough cookie.
Ian Thomas: One thing is for sure, Ian will be up the front early on! He has a penchant for going hard early and has had some pretty epic blow ups over the years. However last year he started to dial things in and stormed his way to a 2nd place 24:09 finish at the 130 mile Leeds Liverpool Canal Race, and then a 31:33 at Spartathlon. If he can hold himself back early on we should see a time well under 20 hours on the clock for his finish.
Jeremy Isaac: Jez's experience is deep, and he has learned some hard lessons at this distance, but has recorded some superb finishes over 100 miles, particularly his 3rd place at the NDW100 in 2014 with an 18:01. He also finished 3rd there last year. It would be great to see him run significantly quicker than that here.
David Pryce: 2nd at the 2014 TP100 in 16:56 and closing hard on a fading Ed Catmur, David has proven pace over this distance that's only surpassed by Craig. If he's in shape, it'll be about picking up the pieces behind and he looks most likely for a podium place either way.
Sam Amend: Much like the men's race, there is one lady with a completely different level of speed to anyone else in the field. However, unlike Craig, Sam doesn't have the depth in ultra running as yet - this will be only her 4th ultra I believe, and her first 100. Her road running background is astounding, with a list of wins as long as your arm. PBs include 2:42 at the marathon (She has run around that time many times over) and a 77 Half, her step up to ultra's came in 2011 with a 3rd overall and 1st lady at the Druids. She then seems to have taken a hiatus before in 2015 she ran a 50, and earlier in 2016 broke the Course Record at Country to Capital despite having spent some time off course. If she can pace it right and find the endurance in the back half, we could see something really special.
Wendy Shaw: Wendy is a double Centurion Grand Slammer, and has finished all previous editions of the TP100 with 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places. No doubts here as she has recently found an even greater level of speed, she will finally want to take home the crown at one of our events. This I make it will be her 13th finish at a Centurion 100, with only one drop, at mile 99 of the NDW100.
Rob Treadwell: I haven't seen Rob's name for a long time but was delighted to see it pop up. Back in 2010/ 2011 he took home wins at the Ridgeway Challenge and Cotswold 100. It looks like after a break of 3-4 years he made his way back in to ultras in 2015 and to be honest if he is in his old shape, I should be listing him in the above category and not the legends field!